I’ve been going on about those 3 papers I submitted. One is now in press, – this one, strangely, was the last one to be submitted, and is now the first one to be in press. The second one that I submitted, was also reviewed VERY promptly, and is now in revision. We plan to send this one back the end of next week, when we finish with one experiment suggested by the reviewer that is turning out to be very interesting. But the subject of today’s post is the first paper we submitted… back on August 4.
I submitted that paper to a journal that advertises its quick turnaround time, so it was surprising to me that this past Monday I hadn’t yet received any word from the journal. When the paper hit one month after submission and still appeared as ‘under peer review’ status on the electronic submission system back in September, I sent an excruciatingly polite 3 sentence (or thereabouts) email to the editor- inquiring as to when the reviews might be expected. Shortly I was told, and thanking the editor up and down- I let this rest… temporarily.
This past Tuesday (Oct. 1, …), now nearly two months after submission… I am antsy. You see, my student- who is first author on this paper- is required to have a first author paper accepted in a peer reviewed journal in order to be eligible to sit for the board exam in her specialty (she is a veterinarian)…. and the registration comes around in December. I’m thinking we have enough time- but if the journal drags its feet any longer- we won’t. Plus, I think two months under review is excessive, regardless of the circumstances.
So, I sent a second excruciatingly polite inquiry to the editor… and I noted that this paper was now under editorial review… and when might a decision be expected…not meaning to rush you, bla bla bla. We had a very civilized email correspondence- the essence of which was that four reviewers had been contacted and had reviewed the paper, three reviews (all positive) were in, and the fourth was woefully, painfully, extremely overdue. The editor allowed me to see the first 3 reviews, and decided if the forth review wasn’t available today (Friday, October 3), that an editorial decision would be made without consideration of the forth review. Now- after seeing the reviews of the first 3 reviewers- I was really thinking to myself- lady- WHAT are you waiting for??? Two more days I didn’t want to wait- but I prepared the point-by-point rebuttal and sat on my hands to wait for a decision. True to her word, she let me know this morning that the paper is accepted, and because I have already written the rebuttal and changed the text- we can turn that on around pronto and have two papers in press.
What’s my point? My point is that earlier this year I waited 65 days for a review… this is totally and utterly unacceptable barring natural disaster, major illness, or other very serious and rare circumstances. I was not assertive enough about this with the editor… in a nice way, … in fact, I wasn’t assertive about this at all. I am feeling my way towards what are acceptable and non-acceptable ways to approach editorial staff- and to learning my way to the limits there. I feel like I have made a couple of steps in the right direction this week.
Now, I just need to finish the grant for Monday, a second one for a mid-October deadline, and a third for an early November deadline. Then, I’m planning a long rest in an insane asylum and carpal tunnel surgery (not really!).