1. The researcher

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You'll submit it again, if you're lucky, the editor will deem that you've done enough work to address the concern of the reviewers and you'll say, okay I recognize you've done the job. You're not writing another paper on the side, but definitely make the editor's life easy, by showing that you care about what your viewers have to say, and that you've taken it seriously and you've made changes to your text accordingly. The editor sees tons of papers from all kinds of different fields and they can't keep up with everything that's going on.

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So in all the papers I’ve written as first author, I’ve also been nominated the corresponding author. That means all the communication with the journal editor and handling review emails, submitting, and then dealing with publication fees, publication formatting, that goes through you. If you’re the corresponding author, that’s how it works, and then people who wish to ask questions, get in touch with you, get data after the paper is published that goes through you. And that’s, I mean, in my experience that’s what all students who are first authors on their paper have been doing it if they’re automatically assigned the corresponding author. But then in terms of how you interact now with your co-authors when you’re first author, so what that means is basically you’re expected to assemble the full draft. It’s your responsibility to make sure you get all the pieces from everyone. If there are people assigned to writing a certain section or this or that. It’s kind of implicit that in practice you’ll have the last word on putting things together, and then it’s your job to integrate and kind of moderate everyone in the full draft. Of course, if you’re a student if it’s your first paper, your tenth paper, there’s going to be some of these differences there. I would say you’re the go to person if you’re the first author, you have the last call, but its your job to deal with and integrate everyone’s opinions, or ideas in a way that you think is best. And so, the way I typically interact with my co-authors is, I assemble a full draft, I send it around, we go through a round of comments, I make the edits, I create a new version based on everyone’s edits. I send it around again and we go through this until we, I try to make sure then that all my co-authors are good with the version. I tell them, I want to submit this. Is this cool with you? Do you have any more to add? And usually it goes pretty smoothly. So typically, well the way it’s worked for me is I would draft the paper, I would assemble a full draft of the paper, and then send it to my advisor and co-authors, sometimes you have co-authors who are not your advisor. But definitely assemble a full draft on your own, probably a bad first draft. The first draft is always bad. But at some point, you have to assemble something, send it, and wait for edits and comments. And there’s typically a number of iterations between, you know, you have something that’s submittable, in journal form of course there’s a lot of iteration both in the text and in the figures. It’s definitely something that can take awhile, but as for assembling the research, presenting the research, and publishing the research, in a lot of ways it all comes together. You can present something at conferences as you’re assembling the paper, and usually that’s fine, that’s what you do. The figures you assemble for the journal publication, you’ll use them in conferences. So when you get familiar with the field, so I’m in the scientific field in geophysics, geodynamics, there’s always the same kind of journals that come back in the discussions. They’re the journals that you know people read. You become familiar if you’re going to tackle a certain topic. This, or that journal they like it, they like to push this or that topic, and that’s something you know from reading, the journals. There’s also the sexy journals, that if you want your research to have a really wide audience, and to really appeal to those, you have to make a case that your research will, interest people beyond your own field, I think that’s the key. But in practice, when you submit your research, say you have something that’s going to be very technical, you have something that’s, it’s not the most amazing piece of science, but it’s something that needs to be done. And it’s kind of technical, but it’s useful. There are journals that handle that more than other journals which are more focused on a cool interdisciplinary new result as opposed to something extremely technical. So that’s something that people become familiar as they progress in the field I would say. In a lot of ways also it happens when you get rejected from journals because that does happen a lot, you can. One way we’ve done things when we had a pretty interesting result is you should hi first. You try to send your research in a short format to a wide audience, wide readership, sexy kind of journal. And then you get rejected, and you go to a little more specialized, and you get rejected again, and then eventually you hope that your paper makes it in a journal that people read. Never submit to more than one journal at a time. All the journals I’m familiar with, they really don’t like that. They actually probably make you sign something saying that you haven’t submitted this research anywhere else or blah, blah blah. So yeah, never submit the same thing to two journals at once. Because they’ll get sent to the same reviewers most likely, or to people who know each other. So don’t try to get around that. And so typically you submit a version you deem acceptable. You’ll get reviews back. Most often, you’ll have to address the reviews then make, at least minor revisions, most often it’s going to be pretty major revisions that could take a few months at a time. You’ll submit it again, if you’re lucky, the editor will deem that you’ve done enough work to address the concern of the reviewers and you’ll say, okay I recognize you’ve done the job. I don’t need to send it back to review again. It’s good to go. And one way to actually do that that’s really important, is to really take good care of your cover letter. So when you submit a paper, or when you resubmit a paper that has gone through revisions, it’s very important to have a document attached to it that explains what you’ve been doing and how you’ve handled the concerns and suggestions of the reviewers. So what I typically do is I have an, and I’m not the only one who does that, a lot of us do this, in my field we have a document where we take the reviews and we break them down point by point. I typically use a different color for the review and my response, and then I put a response typically starting by, we thank the reviewer for pointing this out blah, blah, blah, you know, which is true. A lot of times they make really good suggestions that can really improve your paper. So point out that you appreciate the work that they’ve put in your review. And say, okay so I agree with the reviewer that blah, blah, blah. And we’ve done this in the revised version of the manuscript. You’ll see the changes at line 530 to 540. That’s something I do very precisely. So the editor can see there’s been a change in the text here to address this specific comment by the reviewer. Sometimes you’ll just also disagree with the reviewer, and you can explain why. If the reviewer tells you I don’t like this way of doing things, I would suggest you do it this other way, well, you can also argue and say well, we believe this is best because blah, blah, blah. You can cite other papers. You know, keep it short. You’re not writing another paper on the side, but definitely make the editor’s life easy, by showing that you care about what your viewers have to say, and that you’ve taken it seriously and you’ve made changes to your text accordingly. Or to your figures. And so that takes the form of a cover letter. Both when you resubmit a paper, but also when you initially submit a paper, the cover letter is useful to briefly tell the editor what you’ve been doing, why it’s relevant. The editor sees tons of papers from all kinds of different fields and they can’t keep up with everything that’s going on. So it’s also your job to explain why this is relevant, why this is timely. Don’t oversell your paper, but just put it in a context. In a context in a way that’s understandable to people that are not specialists in your field.

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