Monday, August 19, 2013

A Small, Not Particularly Sad Thing, That Nevertheless Has a Minor, Slightly Sad Aspect

I was recently made slightly sad about something. Before I say what it was, I want to emphasize that I'm not complaining. On balance, it's a reasonably decent situation. Better than average. Overall, I have no ground for complaint.

I submitted a paper to a journal this summer, and heard back almost immediately. Often, a near-immediate response is a sign that the paper was summarily rejected by the editor and was not sent out for review. A "desk rejection," as they say. In this case, however, it is clear that this did not happen. It is clear that this submission was sent out for review, for a couple of reasons. First, the rejection letter says something like, "based on the advice received" or whatever. Second, there were comments. Comments! After it had been under review for just a few days. And the comments have been helpful. Helpful comments in under a week. I don't know anyone--and I include myself here--who has sent helpful comments within a week of receiving the paper.

And again, I want to stress that I am not complaining. As rejections go, this is the best-case scenario. It was lightning-fast, and it was accompanied by commentary that will help me make the paper better. No complaints.

But the minor aspect that made me slightly sad was, one of the things I'm looking for when I send a paper to a journal is a bit of a break from it. I know when I send something out--especially if I'm aiming a little high, as I was here--that I'm going to be thinking about this paper again in a few months. But I like having that respite. I kind of need it, so that I can move on to other things and get work done on other projects. (I realize that this is not a big deal, but since when does something need to be a big deal in order for me to remark upon it?)

On the other hand, one sort of nice thing about this situation is that I haven't had to spend any time re-familiarizing myself with the issues the paper concerns or the arguments the paper makes. So I would say that the revisions are going somewhat more quickly than they otherwise would have. Which is a plus.

So, in closing, thanks a million to the anonymous reviewer for an undisclosed journal.

--Mr. Zero