Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Submit

I've been working on a paper off and on for most of this year, and last week we finally managed to submit it. Now we wait — we wait for the editors to decide if it's appropriate for the journal; we wait for them to send it out to reviewers; we wait for the reviewers to submit their reviews, and we wait for the editors to decide whether the paper has a chance of being accepted.

This can take anything from a month (that would be fast) to six months, though a year is not unheard of. I'd expect it to be three or four months. If they decide it can be accepted, we have to revise the manuscript according to the reviewers comments, or explain clearly why we think a suggested change is unnecessary or harmful. The revisions can range from spelling errors, up to redoing the whole model from the ground up, running new sets of simulations or completely change the way we analyse our data. Our changes may be submitted back to the reviewer for further comment if the editor thinks it's needed.

If the editor or reviewers think the paper is not acceptable, or if we don't think the required revisions fit the paper we want to publish, then we give up on that journal. We'll decide on a different journal, rewrite the paper to fit that journal, and submit it again. All in all, six months to a year from first submission to publication would be quite normal. Three months is fast; expect a year and a half to two years if you have to resubmit the paper.
All well and good — except that our project ends next March. We lose access to the cluster computer we've been using for our simulations, and I no longer have a job. We might come to the point where we're asked to do a new set of simulations for the paper and we simply can't: we no longer have the computing power, and I might not even have a science-related job any more so I may have little or no time to work on the model or the paper.

It won't come to that, hopefully. Even if the project ends, we could probably ask for a little computing time to finish the project. And if I find a research-related job it's accepted practice to spend some time finishing up things from your previous projects. Time will tell, as always.


  1. Congratulations!!

  2. Let's wait with the congratulations until it's actually accepted somewhere… ^_^ But thanks!

  3. Peer pressure...the true fuel for out human engine...We hate it but need it. Ongratulations and hope it comes out right!

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  5. When your project is done this means you'll have to move out, I mean, leave Japan? :S

    I've known your blog for just a couple of days, but I thought to myself "Hey, that's a nice thing living in Japan as a researcher. I want to do that as well."

    It would still be awesome, but I'd expected I could live in Japan for several years as a researcher, I don't want to end up having to take up a salaryman-type of job!

    Cheers. :)

  6. "When your project is done this means you'll have to move out, I mean, leave Japan?"

    Short answer: No. I'm not moving anywhere.

    Longer answer: Staying in Japan — staying in any country — depends on you having a visa. I have a work visa as a professor, and if I have no job when that visa expires then it won't get renewed. But I'm also married, and I can always get a spouse visa instead. Practically, a spouse visa is actually more convenient, as I could work on anything, not just research and teaching, but a "Professor" visa sounds cooler :) One day I'll probably apply for a permanent visa; with that you can stay permanently, job or not. It's a hassle, though, and I don't really need it.

    As for work, I have no idea. It's a fact of the research career that most younger researchers will not be able to get a permanent position anywhere. Most of us simply will need to leave academia at some point; there's many more of us at each career stage than there are jobs to go around.

    And don't denigrate salaryman jobs. They pay well, are stable and dependable, and you work under less pressure than in the research track. The most important part of any job is what you actually do and who you work with, and there's plenty of interesting industry research, and plenty of fun people out there too.

    Don't fall for the trap of thinking academia is the only worthwile place to work.


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