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Peer Review

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Now that I’m in grad school, writing blog posts that everyone can relate to has become a challenge. Currently, I’m going through the process of peer review for a scientific paper about my research and findings from the past year. Outside of science, one would typically propose an idea for a piece to an editor first. The editor accepts or denies the idea, the writer writes the piece, and the editing team goes through the finished piece for errors. In science things are backwards.

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You start by writing the piece. Sometimes you write an abstract and the editor of the journal will accept or deny the original idea, but it is not a guarantee they will like your finished piece. Writing the piece takes a while, but similar to writing other kinds of literature you get faster over time. My piece went through the eyes of my 4 co-authors before send-off. Two of them did heavy editing and the others gave their ‘OKs’. I submitted the paper in late June and received a detailed NINE PAGE review a month and ten days later. It was a faster turnaround than I expected. I was then instructed to respond to the comments made by the two anonymous peer reviewers and make all necessary edits within 35 days.

Thirty-five days sounded like a ton of time at first, but as the deadline draws nearer I’m rushing to get things done. I decided to re-run my data through software that fills in missing data. That means I need to re-print all of my plots on TOP of adding in new analyses that the reviewers requested.

books on shelf

 

It’s somewhat of an honor to get a detailed review back. It’s my first time submitting a scientific paper so I didn’t expect the reviews to be gleaming. Nevertheless, I’m glad that other scientists cared enough to read through the piece and give their honest advice on how to make it better. In the review there’s a section where the reviewers had to explain what the paper was about. The message of the study we performed was clearly communicated well in the paper, because their summary of the piece was spot-on!

There’s so much still to do before I can resubmit the paper. I need to research more studies that back my findings, and redo the plots and analyses like I explained. Going through my statistical tests and discussion again solidify my findings in my head and hopefully will help me to explain my results to an audience in the future!

Have you ever submitted an article to a magazine? Was it peer-reviewed or not? Comment below! Sincerely, A Scientist in Training 🙂

 

5 Comments

  1. Josh Gross | The Jaguar

    Wow, how exciting! Your first paper!

    I haven’t submitted any academic papers for peer review yet, even though my advisor keeps saying I should turn my master’s thesis into an actual paper. Unfortunately, once you’re out of academia, it’s hard to find the time for such things; survival tends to take precedence.

    As for your question about magazine articles, I’ve had two very divergent experiences. One editor made almost no changes, whereas the other worked with me for weeks to get the best piece possible. That took a while, but I’m truly grateful to him for helping me get used to more journalistic writing styles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess T.

      Okay, first – I’ve heard issues like that from people on twitter! One researcher left academia and then a science journal told her that they only accept studies from university professors. I’ve come across number of online journals now that are science-y but also geared towards a broad audience though, so I’m excited about those prospects. Second – i think editors should make it a goal to get ALL of their requests in the first time around just to streamline the publishing process. im likely to make all of the requested edits from the main review, but if i get a SECOND review on the corrected draft mentioning other things they didn’t like i’d probably get annoyed.

      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Josh Gross | The Jaguar

        Hi Jess, I also like the idea of science-y journals that are geared towards a public audience, because that’s what I’m all about. My advisor linked to such a journal, but again, my main problem is lack of time. I WILL write that study, but first I need to get my life in order.

        I actually appreciated the back-and-forth with the editor I worked with, since it helped us end up with the best possible finished product. He’d give me a list of suggested edits, I’d make them, he’d read the new piece, and then suggest additional edits until we both felt like we had a solid article. My end goal is always to produce the best material possible, and I don’t mind a little tedium if that’s what it takes.

        Liked by 1 person

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