Screwing my courage to the sticking post

i-f875c0b07d9b3cb6229668554781b35a-alice.jpgI got a paper review back yesterday. More revisions. *Sigh.* The history of this paper is: this is part of one chapter of my dissertation. I revised it into a paper last fall. I submitted it the first time in February, and got my first reviews in April. I revised it and resubmitted in June. This review is closer, but while 2 of the 3 reviews think that it’s pretty much ready to go, 1 reviewer (who is otherwise very complimentary and I cannot otherwise dismiss as one of those nutjob reviewers) wants me to do more data collection. Crap. Unfortunately for me, the associate editor agrees, and has asked for me to either do more data collection or more analysis of data I haven’t yet reported. Doublecrap.

So I am left with a concern about diminishing returns. This last reviewer thinks it would be of interest now to the STS community, and I could submit it directly to the new journal Engineering Studies, for example. But I’ve invested a lot of time to try to send it to the Journal of Engineering Education. So do I try to revise this? how much effort and time would this take? or do I give up on the last 6 months and send it somewhere else? Starting the review process over?

I’m trying to talk myself into opening up the paper again, reminding myself of what it says, and seeing how I can revise it. Maybe I can strengthen the argument for the associate editor, make a better “so what” without new data. But I gotta open the damn document first… but the longer I procrastinate the longer the decision stays hypothetical. And then I don’t have to confront the fact that this may have been a waste of time. Or that I did the research wrong the first time around.

Gah! Okay. I’m going to open it now. Really. And do some of that “writing before ready” stuff Boice is talking about. Maybe that will help. Here goes…

Updated at 4:51 pm: Okay, this paper totally doesn’t suck. In fact, it’s pretty good. I think. Now I have to find the courage to look at my raw data again, over a year since I last did… yikes. Hope I find something.


  1. #1 Mommyprof
    September 30, 2008

    If the data won’t be hard to collect, it would probably easier to finish out a paper you’ve got a bit of traction in, than to change it into something else. Maybe you could find out who has the longer lag between acceptance and publication and let that help you decide?

  2. #2 GirlPostdoc
    September 30, 2008

    I’ve always been told finish the things that are the closest to being done. I think it gives you a sense of productivity. Perhaps when you finally get this out, you might feel a sense of closure. I know that I can’t wait until I finally close the door on the manuscripts from my PhD. Good Luck!!

  3. #3 Danimal
    October 1, 2008

    If two reviewers agree the paper is publishable and one wants more data, make your case to the editor why no more data is needed. It is generally not necessary to address every reviewers comments, especially if you think they are full of BS.

  4. #4 Marie
    October 2, 2008

    Submit it to ES if it’s actually ready for that venue. You’ll have lots of other stuff for JEE.

  5. #5 JKS
    October 3, 2008

    If you believe the statistics about journal publishing in Paul Silvia’s book, you are already past the first hurdle with JEE by getting an accepted-with-changes. The editor knows the paper and you have reviewers who already know the paper (so if you do add things they only have to quickly review it). I agree with Danimal, consult with the editor, and then if you still need to make changes, do it. It’s always tempting to start a new project but I think there’s a big chance that starting a new submission process may take much more time than you are estimating. Good luck!

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