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Posts Tagged ‘impact factor’

My first paper

January 30, 2012 2 comments

Back in June, I had submitted my first paper for publication. It was a literature review which forms the basis of my thesis, and seeing as I was still in the beginning of my PhD and had time to perfect it etc, I decided to aim high, and submitted to the top journal in my area. I knew that it would be hard to achieve, especially since reviews are commonly written by experienced academics, rather than a lowly PhD student, and many other students in my group had found it quite difficult to get theirs published. But Oh well, to the enthusiasm of a new student. We submitted and from day to day I waited for a reject email to come back.

Alas months passed by and no response was received from the journal. Then the day I went home for Christmas (i.e. 6 months after first submission), my supervisor emailed me saying she received a communication saying I got a major revision for the paper. I was quite disheartened, but after seeing the comments I got and talking to my sister, said that if they did not reject it outright they must think I have something right. So over Christmas, I spent time working on the changes requested, discussed them when I went back to Dublin 3 weeks later and submitted just before the deadline of 4 weeks.

Then just a few minutes ago I received an email from my supervisor, saying that the paper has now been accepted, and we now need to await the schedule for publication etc. I cannot believe how happy this has made me feel and I am glad that I aimed high. So this is my advice to anyone who is in the beginning of their PhD, from the first day start writing up something. From the first week I started, when my supervisor told me to ‘read papers about the area’, I starting putting together a document. It mainly consisted of copy and paste parts or summaries of the different articles, pasted in an incoherent manner under a couple of broad topics. I also started my referencing from the start, using RefWorks, as it is what is available on campus here. Once I had read a number of papers, I organised the copy and paste parts into more coherent sections and rewrote them into paragraphs. But since I already had a number of pages of quotes it was quite easy to achieve. Suddenly, I had a literature review of the different areas I was investigating. I collated the different sections and beefed up some areas and made the document flow.

A couple of drafts later, and it was ready for submission. My advice at this point, especially if you are still towards the start of your PhD, is to aim high. It is better to aim high, get rejected and submit to a slightly lower journal. And you keep getting comments that way which improves your manuscript and writing. Getting the major revisions just before Christmas is quite disheartening, but it is so worth it now.

Good luck with your writing 🙂

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Some progress is made

Finally, we managed to get the HPLC up and running again (basically I managed to convince the technician to change the tubing to a different type), so I had my first run yesterday, which kept going till this morning. The results are still not totally there, but the R squared values are all higher than 0.9, and those that are low are due to known reasons. So that is a good thing. I should be getting back on the equipment next week for at least 2 days, so that is something to look forward to, and hopefully I can get some good results and progress to the next stage.

Today I also received the last of the comments from my supervisors about my literature review (received from 3 out of 5, which is the most I can expect at the moment: one is out on long-term sick leave and the other said he will see the next draft, which is better after all, because I would not have to join all comments together). That is on the agenda for next week too. Overall the comments were quite manageable. They should not involve too much work, and hopefully I can get through them in a week or so, since most involve removing certain sections, or particular quick to do word changes etc.

However, the supervisors suggested that I look at publishing my literature review, which is what is worrying me the most. They have asked me to suggest journals in which to publish my literature review, and I have no idea where to start looking. I have never published papers before in any journal, so I am at a bit of a loss. They talked about impact factors for the journals, and they said it should not be too low, but I do not want to aim too high. I also know that it is difficult to get literature reviews published, unless it is invited (which this certainly is not). We’ll see how things go.