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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

'Bout F^%in Time

The paper that I wrote about some work that my coworkers and I did while at my former employer finally got accepted. To say that it's been a slow process is putting it mildly.

Normal research paper timeline
xx-yy: do research
xx-yy+1-3 months: write paper
1-2 months:Send it in to journal and wait for the reviews to come back. Edit if needed.

Here is the timeline for this paper. Never again will I sit on something so long.

2003-2004:Research was done
2006: Boss made noises about publishing. I agreed to be the coordinator and corresponding author. I then switched groups (long, ugly story) and in a totally jusified slacker move, put it on the backburner.
Early 2009: New boss made noises about publishing several papers on different projects, including the one I was supposed to write up. I worked on it periodically, usually when I was procrastinating or when I was home recovering from knee surgery. Note to self: Vicodin and writing technical papers do not mix. This is in stark contrast to alcohol, which was an old biddy's friend when I wrote my thesis. I then put it on hold as things went south with T. Post-breakup, pre-layoff, I started it up again for real. It was my escape from the stress. A strange one, to be sure, but I needed something to keep myself busy. I got a reasonable draft (or so I thought) to my coworkers in late 2009.
2010: I then delayed submitting it while I was unemployed, since I wanted to have an actual work address. Over the summer and fall I converted it into Mac format, redid a lot of the figures, and then totally put it on hold while I was working on the paper from hell and then on the research proposals.
March-April 2011: Ever so often, on a Saturday afternoon, I'd whip it out and polish it up. My standards have gone up a lot as part of my current boss' detail-oriented approach to writing. It was also a good distraction when I was brooding about cowdude. I submitted it in mid-April. About a month later, I got the reviews back. Two of the reviewers liked it, and one hated it and wrote a very snarky review. The editor recommended that I shorten the manuscript, which I did. (Yes, a lot of the stuff that I had added in recently did get removed.) I sent it back in and it was accepted, only about 7 years after it was done. It's a big relief to have it out of my hair, especially since I may have to deal with the paper from hell, part 2, soon.
So the real question is why did I bust my ass on this when there was no real reason for me to do so? I think that main reason was that, deep down, I'm really proud of this work and am still sort of competitive. I'd hate to have anyone else publish it and get credit for it, or have it never be published. To be honest, though, I doubt it would've gotten out the door if I hadn't made it my mission and distraction in the dark days of late 2009. Having done that, I couldn't drop it once the first draft was written. So anyway, something good did come out of a crappy time in my life.

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