Annoyed… Very Annoyed.

Late last week I had two papers (the ones I submitted earlier in the week) accepted for publication. This was awesome news, and because I had a lag in publishing while I was a postdoc- every little paper helps right now. As you all know, I’ve been writing and submitting feverishly.

Anyway, I wrote the SRA for the study section that will be reviewing my grant at the end of this month a brief email to ask whether he/she might be able to pass this information along to the reviewers to whom my grant was assigned. I did this same thing about 3 days before the review of my A1 (a different grant, same study section, same SRA) in the fall- and was told this was no problem, the information would be passed along. I know that the reviewers aren’t obligated to look at the new information- they aren’t even obligated to look at the update (as I understand it).

Well, this time it apparently IS a problem. The SRA reports that he/she can not update the reviewers that I have two additional papers accepted for publication, unless this is in the official update that I am allowed to submit 1 month prior to the meeting of the study section. If I had known about this at the time I submitted the update, obviously I would have put it in the update.

The SRA says this is a ‘new and relatively recent’ change in policy. I am having a hard time believing this is true, and wonder how I was supposed to know about this? I know rules are rules- and if this really is a rule then I’ll shut up and go away. But I can’t help but to feel like this isn’t the case.


16 thoughts on “Annoyed… Very Annoyed.

  1. I got caught by this rule, too. I tried arguing a bit with the SRO, with no luck, and was told that it really was a rule, a new one, that apparently hasn’t been very well promulgated, since I got caught in the last cycle, and you’re getting it this time (I’m guessing the other grant was from -2 cycle, since mine was -1.

    It’s too bad they couldn’t have sent everyone an email or put some kind of deadline announcement at eRA commons.

    I think they got frustrated with the repeated updates (I know I did when I was reviewing and kept getting another figure in email until the very last minute). But, I don’t see why it has to be one month. Seems like 2 weeks would be enough for manuscripts, at least.

  2. It won’t make any difference anyway. I don’t think anyone reads the updates, and even if they did, it wouldn’t change their mind enough to matter: if they’re going to bat for you, they still will, if not, you’re still out of luck.

  3. I haven’t heard of this new rule before. And what whimple said. After numerous summary statements that made it clear that supplemental materials were not being looked at, I stopped wasting my time submitting them. And as a reviewer, I don’t bother looking at them.

  4. I am reasonably sure I got an email stating this before my study section in October (email in Aug? sept?), that if I had anything to update do it by such-and-such a date. Could it have gotten spam filtered?

  5. DM- I have no idea how I missed that one….I’m sorry… so sorry… just judging by the date I was up to my neck in my A1 for the July 5 deadline… thus not following the blogs I read as closely as usual… And with that said- the SRA didn’t enforce this ‘best practice guideline’ on that grant. But… rules are rules… sigh. I’m going to stop writing updates though- cause it sounds like they are kind of useless anyway.

    Whimple and CPP- You are probably right.

    Bugdoc- Thanks.. It was a quick turn around. I was sure the editor was going to send that second one out for re-review- turns out he didn’t.

    Neurolover- I think the only thing I would ever ask to be passed along after that 30 day deadline is accepted papers. I’ve never tried squeezing new data in there or anything else…

  6. “I’ve never tried squeezing new data in there or anything else…”

    When I last reviewed, I got an endless stream of very annoying figure updates showing preliminary data (especially annoying because I got them for every single grant, not just the ones I was reviewing). But, annoying in any case.

    “And as a reviewer, I don’t bother looking at them.”

    Do you think this will change if you get one update at 1 month before the review date? Or, not?

    I think I would be more likely to look if I get one update, with some form of standard formatting. I think I would pay attention the existence of new manuscripts for judging “productivity” (though I probably wouldn’t read them for content).

  7. neurolover- I’ve never sent anything but the single update 30 days prior, and then a single email listing accepted papers to address productivity. I’ve never attached a manuscript or overwhelmed anyone with preliminary data… I follow the rules… I really do!

  8. I am unlikely to look at updates unless I have a grant I plan to go to bat for. In which case I look for any ammunition I can find to help it out.

    The other case is if I plan to make a big (negative) deal over either pubs or prelim data…in which case it seems only fair to see what they sent in.

  9. I never plan on anyone looking at my updates. However, I do send them in if they address a criticism I think is likely to come up during review, as in drdrA’s case. Although I don’t necessarily look at updates provided to me as a reviewer, on the last grant I reviewed, I was the only 1 out of 3 reviewers who actually read the provided update and it substantively addressed several criticisms that the other 2 reviewers brought up in discussion. I was glad that I had read the supplement so that those issues didn’t come up in the final summary statement.

  10. As Neurowoman said, you should have received an email from your SRO* a coupla months back inre supplementary material submission and meeting date etc (I received one Dec 22nd).

    * “SRA” is so last year. You would have known that too if you had read the email 😉 😮

  11. DSKS- Oh I pay no attention to titles what-so-ever… SRA, SRO… we all know WHO we are talking about here. And I did get the email, and I did read the email, and for the last time, I did send my update 30 days in advance.

  12. So BugDoc, in your scenario did your recitation of the supplied material appear to change the score stance of the other two reviewers? That would be the critical issue. SS comments that appear to overlook supplemental material are annoying* but what is critical is the score.

    *you know, in the hair tearing physioprophism spouting kinda way

  13. The other reviewers’ scores did improve over the course of the discussion. Obviously I can’t really comment on how much the supplemental data contributed to that, but both reviewers had specifically mentioned issues in their preliminary written comments (not just in the discussion) that were addressed in the supplement.

  14. “DSKS- Oh I pay no attention to titles what-so-ever… SRA, SRO… we all know WHO we are talking about here.”

    I was just being facetious because, being very green to all this, I have only just recently gotten a handle on many of the WHOs and WHATs everyone has been talking about in the world beyond my bench.

    Congrats with the papers.

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