Last night before I left my office (at 8 pm) I made the mistake of going on Commons to check if my summary statements were posted yet. Don’t make the same mistake- it’ll just ruin your whole evening.
I’m pretty tough, but the first 24 hours after reading the critiques I usually walk around feeling mighty pissed off. So read this post knowing that those 24 hours haven’t yet passed, and that tomorrow I’ll have a more detached impersonal view of the whole thing.
I’m not going to attempt to go through everything- I’ll just give you a couple of high points that I’m finding rather amusing (in the kind of way that makes you want to stomp all over those pages or bury them at the bottom of gym bag under your sweaty clothes). Since I’m a big one for lists- here are the highlights in that format:
1. Riding both sides of the fence in the same review. In the last review I got the ‘you haven’t shown us you will find anything, and furthermore there is nothing new left to find in this area ‘ review. This was maddening- but pretty easy to refute using my big ol’ pile of preliminary data. Or so it seemed when I was writing.
Apparently this worked out a little too well- because in this round I got the ‘you will get so many things you will have to prioritize’ in the discussion summary- Ok, that’s a new one (and actually, I did talk about that in aim 3)… but then I SIMULTANEOUSLY got the ‘you haven’t shown us you will find anything, and furthermore there is nothing new left to find in this area ‘ AGAIN. And this from the primary reviewer.
So- are you telling me that I took care of your concern well enough that now you have a new concern- fine. But then the primary reviewer is just stuck on the old concern???
2. Instead of rodents, we are disappointed that you didn’t propose to try this in kangaroos. Not really kangaroos but you get my drift- a ‘natural host’ -very exciting but very intractable, hugely expensive, and unrealistic model in which to do these kinds experiments. It’s a grand idea, and actually, I’ve written 3 grants on that grand idea and not one of them has been funded. I would LOVE (like give my eye teeth, love) to generate preliminary data in kangaroos because I really, really care about these experiments but I can not generate preliminary data in this species because these experiments are quite expensive. If I send you a grant without kangaroo preliminary data- you will triage me and tell me to get some preliminary data first. I’m just sayin…
Furthermore, rodents are also a natural host for my favorite organism (MFO), … but maybe that just slipped your mind temporarily while you were buried under a big pile of grants to review.
3. ‘It does not generate a great deal of excitement in this reviewer’. I’m sort of feeling like physioprof language is in order for these kinds of comments. I despise these words.
Why? Well, in the first 2 aims I gave you something that would blow your skirt up- its exciting, its novel, its a cutting edge approach… bla bla bla… and you said this yourself pretty much. But you also said that I wasn’t going to find anything… or that I was going to find to much… or whatever.. So while you like exciting- you are not REALLY ready to jump off the edge. Everything that is exciting has some measure of risk to it. You can’t get exciting without a little risk, at least not in my universe.
So, I then gave you an aim which was mindbogglingly, unbelievable, undeniably boring to write, but certain to work. CERTAIN to work, and essential for later things like testing in hugely expensive kangaroos. And you called it boring, as though that’s a hot news flash. You know what? I don’t much care if it is boring, and uses standard techniques- IF I ACTUALLY GET AN ANSWER AT THE END OF THE EXPERIMENTS. I thought that was the goal, but maybe I’m confused.
4. Condescending to insult my intelligence. I just develop a very bad attitude when people say stuff like ‘the PI does not have an appreciation for the perils of XYZ approach’. … honey, I’m going to pat you on the head now and I want you to go back to graduate school and figure out all those difficult perils…
Yes, I have a bad attitude about this. Yes, I’m frustrated and down. But you know what- this morning I did an hour of cardio and as I was leaving the gym two things happened. DrMrA called me to ask if we are going to attend his cousin’s memorial (died at the age of <50 unexpectedly… left wife and two kids),… and I noticed as I was leaving the gym that the special olympics swimming competition is being held there today and the participants were arriving. There are more important things in life than grants, reviews, and summary statements. Way.More.Important.