The Waiting Game
During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!
This week: This time, I think about the hard time between submitting a paper and receiving feedback about the acceptance.
Finally, after more than a year of reading, writing, improving and disscussing, I managed to submit a central and comprehensive paper of my research to a reputable journal last Thursday. Although this is a huge step forward towards finishing my Ph.D, it currently does not feel as if I have accomplished anything. Naturally, I am happy that the last stressful weeks of polishing the paper’s contents are over thus allowing me to fully focus on other important tasks again. But, despite having finished this important step, I am still in some kind of limbo as I now face the long period of uncertainty.
The reason for this uncertainty is the way how scientific writing and publishing works. For the purpose of ensuring a high and good scientific quality, articles are not automatically published after being submitted. Instead, they are read and checked by at least two independent reviewers who ultimately provide the journal’s editor with a recommendation if the paper should be accepted or rejected. In other words, despite having put a lot of effort into writing my paper, I only know that I have accomplished something when my paper gets accepted.
Although I fully agree with this approach of ensuring a high scientific quality and normally do not think too much about it after submitting a paper, it really annoys me this time as I do have such a deep personal connection with this paper and its contents. It basically describes the essence of my work and when this work is not regarded as a significant scientific contribution then it will probably feel like a huge setback. In addition, as mentioned above, after this long period of writing this paper, I just want to finish this chapter and continue on with further projects supporting my Ph.D thesis.
Lastly, due to this long waiting time between the moment of submitting the paper and receiving a reply from the journal, getting a positive answer might not feel as amazing as it would in the case of an immediate feedback. The good feeling of finally having finished the paper might already have vanished at the time when I get an answer thus reducing the rewarding feeling of having accomplished something, again.
In the end, I can only wait and hope that what I have done is deemed worthy by the reviewers. (So please, keep your fingers crossed!)