Tuesday, September 9, 2008


There is significant background, so please bear with me.

A friend (in a different lab) and I decided to try something (just for fun) once when I was in grad school - using my materials and his equipment. And it worked. My PhD advisor didn't believe/understand the results as he didn't understand the equipment, so he wouldn't let me publish. My friend's advisor thought it was awesome (and that my advisor was an idiot), but he let it go.

Fast forward two years.

Everyone has come to the realization that my advisor is an idiot (the other advisor was in a different department, so it took him some time, unlike my friend who was bombarded with daily stories). So, we decide to submit without my advisor. We choose Nature Materials - long shot, but if we haven't been scooped at this point, probably not going to happen.

Not surprisingly, we don't get in. Not really heart broken...

We choose another, more realistic journal - the reviews come back "this is great work, but it would really be more appropriate for X journal, but that is the Editor's decision". The Editor chooses to bounce it. That I was slightly more peeved about - especially as that submission was 3 months.

Now, third submission at highly specialized journal: 90days after submission, we get response (3 reviewers): 2 are extremely positive - say things like: " this work deserves to be published in an international journal like X". Third reviewer is an idiot. Really. He/she completely missed the point of the paper, compares it to irrelevant papers which focused on completely different topics, etc. The Editor rejects the paper. Um, what?

So, I email the journal directly (they didn't even give me a link to argue) with my "respectfully disagree" letter. That was a week ago - I still haven't heard anything.

Today, an article came out that is very, very similar. Not similar enough to keep ours from getting published (ie not the same). But it is similar enough to prove that we did submit to the right journal, our work is relevant to this community, etc. And it is also similar enough to make me think that one of the authors could have been one of the reviewers, either at this journal or the previous one. That would really make me peeved (and perhaps another word).

Anyway, sorry for the bitter post, but I'm just really frustrated... I know it won't be the last time, but did it have to be the first time (that I was submitting as the last author)?

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