Saturday, May 10, 2008

(Conditionally) accepted

I am (conditionally) very proud and excited!

My journal paper based on my dissertation has been conditionally accepted, so I probably shouldn't name the journal until all systems are definitely go--as the saying goes, there's many a slip, and anything could happen in the meantime.

But it looks good. I actually suspected this might happen; Mr. thalarctos and I were running errands by bus Thursday, and with plenty of time to talk about things while in transit, this pending paper submission was one of the things that came up. My position, which he basically agreed with, was that, while they technically *could* turn it down, I really didn't think they would, given that the rewrites they requested the first time around were so extensive that I basically did to the first draft what an Ichneumon wasp does to a caterpillar*. I couldn't imagine that, after I did all that work, they'd flat out reject it--but they could object to the part where I didn't incorporate their suggestions, and send it back for more work on that basis--and the next day, that's exactly what they did. (Hey, I must be psychic! </confirmation-bias>)

They want it shortened 20%-30%--that's not surprising; as has been observed more than once, the secret of my and Dorothy's writing partnership is that I over-write, and she under-writes, so we cancel out each other's worst excesses. In my first quarter of my grad program, we were assigned a 5-page paper; I delivered 25 pages on the topic. So yeah, they're right, and I'm a repeat offender on this score--no biggie, I'll fix that. As the first reviewer observes:

To be honest, this is probably more than what a fairly motivated researcher cares to read. A possible consequence is that this paper will not be cited much, which is detrimental to both the authors and the journal.

Oh, I *want* this paper cited, often and extensively, and to that end, I'll find 30% to jettison (heh--reminds me of the Hokulea story, which I'll tell later).

There is another change in response to the reviewers that I'll make, but I'm not giving up on it, just taking another tack:

The summary of the contribution seems a bit grandiose to this reviewer. (CAIS [Comparative Anatomy Information System] has "a wide array of important implications")

I'll change it in the article, but I'll keep it here: yes, I believe whole-heartedly that CAIS has a wide array of important implications. The thing is, it's easy to talk big, and there's no qualitative difference between my saying that here, and mouthing off in a bar about it. It's not science until I actually do it. My upcoming job, therefore, is to substantively deliver on this statement--stay tuned!

* no, I *didn't* literally lay my eggs inside, and paralyze it, so that my larvae could eat it alive.

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