Considering that papers are in review for such a long time, I wonder if an editor of some glossy journal has ever sent this email:
"Dear Author, we regret to inform you that we cannot send your fifth revised version to one of the original reviewers. Actually, reviewer #3 is now dead. Instead we have recruited a juvenile who is guaranteed to give us many more years of faithful service (free as always, of course). Though a tad reckless, and a little bit of an imbecile, he happens to be an international authority on the detailed analysis of the mouse scrotum - the focus of your current research.
. Sincerely, xxxx".
Not citing the nice paper that does not match your hypothesis?.....good luck with that...(applies to most mortals)
If there is a good study out there that does not match your favorite hypothesis, not citing it may not be the best course of action. Besides recruiting ill-will, the bigger risk is that as time goes by, your own study might be ignored by them and other players in the field as well. And if there was a kernel of truth in their study, then your findings might be permanently sidelined by history, with you being earmarked as someone who just did not see the big picture. Applies to most mortals with one exception.
If you are a Nobel-prize winner...then just go right ahead and do whatever the heck you want. You've already won.
So here's a simple rule for judging whether or not to send your paper to the hallowed "high impact journal". Ask if you have really shown not only WHAT happens, but HOW it happens. The latter is often hard and takes many years. Be honest now!
Yes there are a few articles that escape this rule - often pointed out by colleagues - but they are likely exceptions. The reasons for this are numerous (sexy or newsworthy story, "clout" of the PI and even frank favoritism by editors), but dwelling on this is unproductive. Spend time trying to answer the "HOW" instead...
It seems to me that though people who publish good papers often have a lot of funding, the converse is not always true....
Now this is a first...not sure if this a result of infinite revisions, or if we are actually getting better at this gig...
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In ancient times scientists used to talk about good ideas. Now we talk about "Fundable" ideas....
life was an unending Gordon Conference...discussing Science all day and an open bar every night....
Something to think about..
Whether its designing an experiment, cleaning the house, or playing academic politics (yes, its sometimes necessary because others do it), my basic approach is always the same:
Step 1: Divide the big problem into many small problems.
Step 2: Choose the first small problem and solve that first.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for all the small problems. And perhaps the hardest step,
Step 4: Don't stop until all the small problems are solved.
Strangely, I learned this lesson from doing chores. If you are like me and indulge in occasional marathon house-cleaning sessions, glancing at the entire living room at once will drive you nuts (books, papers, clothes, toys scattered everywhere.....). Start by dusting the TV. Think Small.
Emerging from a few months of grant writing, I realize that fall and winter has passed, and today is supposed to be the first day of spring (I think). Not that there are many clues of changing seasons in La Jolla. While the rest of the country turned into an ice block this winter, here it’s been +/- 70 degrees throughout, with people complaining bitterly when it gets 65 (of cold, by the way). Anyway, talking to some colleagues the other day, I realized that my approach to grant writing is somewhat different; and this made me wonder if I am doing things right.