Drugmonkey has been writing tiny, Physioprof-esque posts lately (perhaps picking on the Pitties has worn him out), asking little questions about mentoring and publications and grants and shnizz. This particular post caught my attention. He asks…
For a given manuscript, how much patience do you have for getting it into the right journal?
Whether it be IF that you seek, or the cachet of a specific journal in your field, how many tries before you are willing to submit it to a sure-thing, aka, dump journal?
There were some Tweeps the other day that mentioned 7 tries. Now I don’t know if this included resubmits and ultimate rejections or 7 different journals. but dayyum, people. 7?
I wrote there that my inkling is two tries. Two tries max. First, Mama needs some damned publications these days, so I approach publication like trying to get sex at a bar. I might shoot high once and then just get the shit in. Thankfully, my “shoot highs” basically always work, so I need not settle for journal stank…
But, then I got to thinking more and more about the poor soul who sent out a paper seven times and had a desire to continue on with my hilarious analogy.
Seven damned tries!!! At that point, it can’t just be that Reviewer #3 is a cockweasel. After 6 rejections you have to start thinking that the problem might just be you. An ugly shirt. Smelly cologne. Dead puppies in the back of your truck. Shitty data. Certainly at some point in those submissions a reasonable author must stop and think, “Hmmm. Perhaps these reviewers have a point?” You get the dead puppies out of the back of the truck, change your cologne and do what you need to in order to get it in. And, chances are, the reviewers were right about the creepiness of the dead puppies and the stinkiness of the cologne and the shittiness of the data.
Also, submitting six times is not like approaching six different girls at six different bars. It’s like approaching the same girl at a different bar each time, over and over, and saying, “Wanna fuck?” “Wanna fuck?” “Wanna fuck?” “Wanna fuck?” “Wanna fuck?” “Wanna fuck?” “Wanna fuck?” (I think that was seven times). I mean, maybe after seven tries and a couple of cocktails the poor dude gets a pity fuck, but certainly no one’s coming out the other side feeling great about it. You mostly just end up looking pathetic.
Fields are pretty small and reviewer pools are small, so chances are you’re getting reviewed by at least one of the same people over and over. And, having been the person who gets a paper back at a different journal, after I have reviewed it at another journal, and finding that the authors did none of the shit I suggested, I can tell you that shit pisses me off.
So, really. Seven times? Seven times? If it takes seven times then you should just give up now and start drinking alone.