Image: Proofreading marks, by volkspider via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0
Like many of us, I suspect, I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I love having written. And I enjoy certain kinds of writing and certain parts of the writing process (oddly, I really like shortening things; even more oddly, I just added this parenthetical that lengthens this paragraph). Other kinds of writing (Gantt charts, anyone?) I dislike; and there are a few parts of the writing process that I truly despise. Checking proofs? I’d rather remove my own gallbladder with a rusty spoon. Continue reading
Image: Deadline, by geralt CC 0 via pixabay.com.
Warning: I’m a bit grumpy today.
I’m back tilting at one of my favourite windmills today: requests for manuscript reviews with unreasonably short deadlines. I’ve explained elsewhere that one should expect the process of peer review to take a while. Journals would love to compress the process by reducing the time the manuscript spends on the reviewer’s desk – and so they ask for reviews to be returned in 2 weeks, or in 10 days, or less. As a reviewer, I don’t play this game any more: I simply refuse all requests with deadlines shorter than 3 weeks.
I’ve asked a few editors and journal offices why they give such short deadlines, and they give two kinds of answers: one outcome-based, and one process-based. Continue reading
(This is a lightly edited version of a post that originally ran in January 2015. But you probably didn’t see it then.)
Here’s a problem you might not have thought of: did you know you can submit and publish a paper with a coauthor who’s deceased, but not with one who’s in a coma and might recover?
A lot of people have never thought of this, and a lot don’t think it’s a problem worth worrying about. Please bear with me, though, because I think it’s a more important problem than most of us realize – but also one that’s easily avoided.
The unavailable-coauthor problem is actually more general than my coma example. Continue reading
Image: Three choices – out of thousands.
Warning: long post. Grab a snack.
Having lots of options is a wonderful thing – right up until you have to pick one. Have you ever been torn among the two dozen entrées on a restaurant menu? Blanched at the sight of 120 different sedans on a used-car lot? If you have, you might also wonder how on earth you’re going to choose a journal to grace with your latest manuscript. There are, quite literally, thousands of scientific journals out there – probably tens of thousands – and even within a single field there will be hundreds of options. (Scimago lists 352 journals in ecology, for example, but that list is far from comprehensive.)
What follows are some of things I think you might consider when you choose a journal. Continue reading
Warning: another grumpy one
I’m seeing it more and more: requests to review manuscripts with ludicrously short deadlines. Sometimes 10 days, sometimes 7, sometimes one week (5 business days). And I see editors on Twitter bragging about a paper they’ve shepherd through the entire review process in 5 days, or a week, or two weeks. I want all this to stop. Continue reading
Photo: Paul Erdős. (c) Topsy Kretts, CC BY 3.0
Warning: very nerdy.
Sometimes I get distracted and go down a rabbithole. Sometimes the result is fun.
I’ve been lucky, over my career, to have a large number of coauthors (some of whom are good friends; but many of whom I’ve never even met). Coauthorhip makes my work better, but it has other benefits too. A somewhat abstract one is that it makes me feel that I’m part of something larger than my own research program, or even my own discipline. I belong (as we all do) to a global and cross-disciplinary network of collaborating scientists. And to prove it, I have an Erdős number. Continue reading
Peer review is a dumpster fire, right? At least, that’s what I hear – and there’s a reason for that.
Last month, I got reviews back on my latest paper. Opening that particular email always makes me both excited and depressed, and this one ran true to form: a nicely complimentary opening from the editor and Reviewer 1 – followed by several pages of detailed critiques from Reviewer 2 – and Reviewer 3 – and, believe it or not, Reviewer 4. Continue reading