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Dr Spouse

WAYWO (What Are You Working On)

Keep us updated with what you are trying to write at the moment.

This week I'm trying to send in the final revisions to a paper that I think was "accepted subject to revisions" which makes me a bit slapdash - but I did a lot on it yesterday and nearly finished it today, which makes me think "why was I putting it off so long".

After that I'm going to try and finish the revisions to a Revise & Resubmit that I have been working on for a while.

Next week I've promised myself I'll start the lit review for a paper that my PhD student needs have out before he can submit his paper (though he's not as far along as he said he would be so I don't feel so guilty!).

I am trying to write up my disseration for a M.ed. I like doing it, it's nice to think it's 'just' a student dissertation and not a peer reviewed paper, and i find it interesting. But I'm just not very good at keeping my attention focused. (which is why it's great to have a whole new bulletin board to play on! Hey, facebook is so Last Week).

What I should be writing is a heavy going paper started by my RA whose contract has now finished and I have to rework for publication. I haven't looked at it for a few months and can't find the head space to tackle it.

Dr Spouse

I finished my edits on the acc-subj-rev paper. Hooray! It was one of those "don't know why I was putting it off" jobs, to be honest.

I know I have some graphs to do for the R'n'R paper but I am not sure what else there is, except the abstract. So I don't know if I'll finish it this week, but I should at least be able to make an updated list of what there is to do, and make a start on the graphs.

Unfortunately last time I tried to work on the graphs I thought I could use this really nice graphics package we have but it wouldn't do them the right way round, if you see what I mean, so I had to revert to SPSS which I would never normally use for graphs.

I've just realised I also have an end-of-grant report for a small grant I got from Nuffield but our server (where I shared the data with the RA) has gone off to be repaired (we are assured nothing has been lost, and it's all backed up anyway) so I can't work on that at the moment. Shame.

I was told at my development review thingy that the next thing i should do is write a book.
I suspect this might be quite a subject specific question... but any tips?!
Dr Spouse

Gosh, a book! I imagine that's quite common in non-science type subjects, it sounds like a very large undertaking though.

I've now finished both paper revisions that I need to do and am actually starting a draft of the new paper I should be writing. I have no idea why but strangely I feel guilty at spending time on it, I expect because I feel as if admin (read: messy office) and teaching (read: PhD and MSc students clamouring for me to read things) are more urgent.

I know. It seems to me it's a heck of a lot of words but ultimately, still one output on your CV or RAE.

Anyway, I've thought of something that would be interesting to do and doesn't just involve me putting forwards 'everything frog thinks about X'... which is good, because the 'everything frog thinks about X' mode of book writing is problematic on oh so many fronts, pragmatic and theoretical.

Dr Spouse

Don't faint...

but I have actually done a very very rough draft of both the Introduction and the Methods for my new article. I then discovered I needed to go back over the data even to finish writing the Methods so that's next.

I know your field includes some "visuals", could you not pad your book out with them?? Twisted Evil

I've been writing a 10page conference paper using Rowena murray's approach (i.e. first abstract, then level 1 outline, then level 2, then level 3, i.e. drilling down to the 100-word level) I've also assigned word counts to sections. Must say that I'm finding this easier to do than expected. A lot of prep work, but at least now I know what else I need to do.

It also makes writing that much easier because I can now dive straight into another section when I'm stuck and can scan for a 100-word bit I know how to write.

another day, another chunk of the M.Ed dissertation. I'm not doing badly, now got 17,000 of the 20,000 (though as usual I'm sure I'll overshoot and have to cut it down). I'd like to finish it by the end of next week. This is slightly optimistic since next week is very full of admissions stuff... but it's quick writing and I need to make sure it doesn't pootle on indefinitely.

Dr Spouse

Well done, Frog.

I am really amazed with myself, I have almost finished the journal article which was just a blank page last month! I want to check a few things in the library and redo a few of the stats, and then that should be it. I think I will send it to a few colleagues for opinions before submitting it, and as per Rowena Murray's book I may sound out the editors before sending it anywhere - I am not really up for writing an article with a specific journal in mind, yet, but it seems to be worth sending something before submitting just in case they wouldn't even look at it.

I have a few more ideas for what to write next and can't decide whether to try and finally edit something that probably needs more data, which I may get at some stage in the next year, but I really want to see the back of, or whether to start something else.

There would be a followup paper to the one I'm just finishing which would be in conjunction with my PhD student. I have a feeling he thinks he's written the article but his ideas are a bit different to mine...

yay... I am onto the final proof read of my M.Ed. should be submitting tomorrow. (It's quite funny to be on the student side of things again).

Ohh, is that part of an "Academic Practice" course?
Dr Spouse

I'm really glad I only had to do the teaching certificate "lite" when I started lecturing, I seem to have hit just the right point in time.

I've had two rejections (boo) and one and a half revise-and-resubmit recently so although I have a couple of new articles in the pipeline (where they are actually words on the page, not ideas in my head), I need to get at least one of those back somewhere this month. I've set myself the target of revising the one article and making a decision on where to send the second.

The half is partly a half because I'm not main author (I had supervisory input to someone else's PhD student and we are all authors) but also a half because essentially it was rejected despite fairly good reviewers' comments, and my colleague is thinking of appealing.  He's braver than me!

You can appeal? It would be never in my mind to do that either! Very Happy
Dr Spouse

My co-author is confident we can, and I have heard of others doing it in my field quite often. He says you need to strike while the iron is hot so he's doing it today I think - we just got the review back last week.

Good luck! Smile And I don't mean that in a sarcastic way. It would never cross my mind to do this  Cool
Dr Spouse

Well it looks like we may have had some luck - the other editor didn't totally blow us back - I actually saw the original editor at a conference and didn't tell him "you're, er, misguided" and was actually quite nice. It helped that a good friend was supervised by him for her PhD and she teases him rotten anyway! Small world, as usual!

I'm now finishing up what must be the quickest paper ever - I had a pretty good talk and poster out of this data (different venues) but the poster was at the conference I've just been to and I was overwhelmed by the response (got rid of 25 handouts in the first 10 mins) so I thought I'd better get on and write it up quickly before someone else nicked my idea. I spent an afternoon at the conference writing an outline and started writing it up properly 2 weeks ago - and am nearly finished!

Only one problem now - getting in contact with the student who collected half of the data, but whose email address is bouncing  Confused

I've got to start another paper and am prevaricating greatly.

been the usual 'very busy' state teaching and admin-wise (moan... this is my 'light' teaching half semester and this week has 4 half days of contact time! But at least no open days). But also I've already written one research summary brochure, one refereed paper, one end-of-award report (5000 words), one 'professional' magazine article (2800 words) on the research project... I'm a bit written out on it!

I have got an origional angle on it, I think, for this paper, but it's still difficult to keep myself fresh and interested. I've re-borrowed the Rowena Murrey book from the library and hopefully that will give me a few tips.

My target is various half days of protected time over the next three weeks, 400 words per half day, with an aim of 4,000 words done by the second May bank hol.
Dr Spouse

That sounds like a good target - I've been finding recently I can write for the first time quite fluently but when I'm rewriting it's like pulling teeth (I wrote "pulling hens' teeth first - which would be hard for a different reason!). I can sit and stare at the same page, with side trips to tidy the kitchen, read my favourite internet fora, and make cups of tea, for hours.

I sent the finished draft of the ultra-quick article to three colleagues who are either nice, or have an interest, or both, for comments. Two asked if it was OK to read it by next week which made me laugh, given my normal speed of writing. One however owes me something else as well so I'm not sure whether to give up on him entirely, make him feel guilty, or what.

Do other people rely a lot on comments from colleagues before submitting? Do you find they bear any relationship to editors'/reviewers' comments or are they just usually nice?

To confess. I have hardly written anything.

BUT! I have made really good progress on the paper.

    I plucked up the courage to use a upcoming presentation to another department to flesh out new structure, findings and discussion which shapes the new paper (rather than going over the old stuff again). This took all my research time for a week but it was good stuff.
    After the presentation I then went over the ppt, making comments within the ppt, dragging around the slides to re-order, split sections, re-title.
    I then gave another presentation, this time to a small research group, using the copy of the presentation with all the comments etc still on there.

So, I can say this. It really helps to develop a paper to give a full presentation on it (each presentation was best part of an hour).
make lots of notes immediately after the presentation, directly 'onto' the presentation.
Do two presentations in a row!

oh... and then write it up. I'm getting to that bit, honest!

    Dr Spouse

    Well, I'm not really doing very well on the paper either! It's in that really-very-nearly-finished state but I realised I have to rescore one bit of data as I had to put in another little bit of analysis but for some reason that data file is blank! I thought about asking a friendly student to do it but I already said that 3 different people analysed the data so I think 4 would be a bit much...

    Got another paper back, rejected, boo hiss, but it's not on May's to do list so I am going to ignore it till the end of next week.

    I have a paper to finish rewriting as well. It was rejected from a journal special issue in January after making me wait (I think) 10 months. Apparently it just "missed the cut".

    The editor did apologise for the delay, which was a nice touch, and I received some nice supportive comments from the referees. I didn't see it quite that way at the time, though, and it was a couple of months until I looked at the comments again. Also I had a fair amount of teaching and I let things slide.

    Since then I have decided to generate some extra data to support my conclusions and add a few bits and pieces here and there. Coupled with marking exams and dealing with some student enquiries from students who aren't really as clued-up as they should be, rewriting seems to take forever. At least I know what journal I'll submit it to.

    At the same time, I am thinking of cutting down a journal paper (which was rejected from another journal) into a conference paper. The referees' comments there weren't quite as nice, and the editors' handling was less than professional IMHO. The referees were quite right nonetheless, and at least it gives me something to work with.

    I am also technically writing 3 or 4 other articles, but none of them are yet near the submission stage.

    Only a couple of years out of PhD, I am not as experienced as most of you, and so I like reading others' opinions, comments, etc. This is a good forum.

    I love the CHE fora too, especially LarryC who is great, but the discussion there applies more to the US system. It is less immediately useful for me in some of the discussions, but the teaching advice is gold. It has also enabled me to learn the language of US academe, which is very different and, at the same time, very interesting. I am beginning to ramble, and so will stop here!  Smile
    Dr Spouse

    Okay, you may faint now

    I finished the paper based on my conference poster - submitted it yesterday!

    I even found my former student - is your friend - although her email address is bouncing (she says as she's on maternity leave she hasn't been able to forward it but I think I may have the wrong one anyway). And of course it's not possible to have an author who doesn't have an email address in this day and age  Rolling Eyes

    Don't know what I'll do with my co-author on another paper who is in fact deceased...
    Dr Spouse

    Aargh - that was quick - just got a rejection as it's not general enough for the journal I submitted to!  Sigh.

    I have a 2nd and 3rd option but they aren't as good...
    Dr Spouse

    Well the 2nd option seems at least happy to send it for review - once again, that'll teach me always to test the waters first...

    how long do you wait for turn around of peer review? I submitted one paper early Jan. Do you give editors a prod, or just wait it out and assume they will get back to you as and when?


    I'm not sure what field you're in, but I think it depends very much on the field. In Math (the field I'm in), for example, I have had editors spend 9-10 months on an article, before rejecting it.

    On the more popular journals, I have heard of delays of a couple of years being quite common, particularly for more theoretical articles. In one journal article I was reading the other day, in a reasonably good journal, they had printed submission dates and acceptance dates for the article that were 8 years apart!

    I think the CHE forum has a few threads about this specific question, also, and the advice seems to be mixed, dependent on field.

    To follow up my previous question.

    there was an online tracking option on this journal, so once I logged in and checked there I found that the reviewers comments were back, but I still hadn't had the feedback. So I sent a short polite email asking them if it was coming soon.

    I got a holding reply, and a couple of weeks later (yesterday) my full response.

    Of course, ingnorance is bliss! It just about fell on the side of 'major revisions' rather than reject. Which is, I guess, good, in that hopefully I'll end up with a paper in a reasonably prestigous journal. But it's that punch in the guts when you get reviews as long as your arm with lots of negative feedback. It was generally constructive criticism, but it's very difficult to read it without feeling that really they think you are completely stupid. And, there's the sinking feeling that it's at least two weeks work to do all the extra reading and re-writing, and editing. And that time has to come from somewhere.

    I'm feeling a little bit better about it today, but it'll still be a few weeks before I can tackle it dispassionately.
    Dr Spouse

    Oh, I hate that. It's like getting a bad appraisal at work or even like being dumped - except they give you far more detail and it's far more negative, partly because they are supposed to give detail but partly because they don't do it in person.

    I'm mostly working on my PhD thesis (phew say my supervisors).  But I am trying to at least draft something for publication from each chapter - while I'm writing about something anyway for the thesis and it's fresh and I'm enthusiastic about it it seemed like a good idea at the time - and of course any publications will be helpful for applying for jobs once the evil thesis is finally over (plus, I'm well aware that once I'm working the time for the luxury of writing will be much reduced).

    I have one article that has gone to external review, this is a paper for the proceedings of a recent conference.  I'm not sure how typical this is as it's the first time I've done it, but after the CFP they send successful papers at that stage to external review (the point it's at at the moment) - success at this point based on how much like a finished article it already is, and how well it fits with the overall theme of the book.  So I'm encouraged at not getting immediately rejected anyway Smile.  I find out in May the result of the external review and whether the article has been accepted for the book.  It will probably be published by the university's in-house publishers (the university is in Scandinavia, where apparently they're very hot on publishing conference proceedings so pretty much every university has in-house publishing), but they've said they'll tout it round other more prestigious publishers first.  So here's hoping ...

    Now I'm expanding a short section of my recently drafted chapter into a conference paper, which is already too long so I shall expand it into a journal article at the same time.  I'm lucky in Area Studies that there are lots of different disciplines where my research is of relevance, so I can potentially submit to lots of different journals in all sorts of fields.  I'm less lucky in that because I could potentially have articles in so many different journals, if I don't end up in Area Studies (very very likely) only a small number of these will be of interest to any potential employer with their eye on RAE/REF-able publications.

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