Publication ready?

Jun 10 2011 Published by under [Education&Careers]

A recent post of Drugmonkey's on the role of review in the scientific discussion got me thinking. Specifically, his statement:

After all, we wouldn't have submitted the dang thing in the first place if we didn't think it was ready for publication as-is, right?

I started wondering to myself whether or not I would spend more time on a manuscript if I thought it was going directly to print or if the review stage is an unconscious safety net. We know we're going to have another crack at it post-review, right?

8 responses so far

  • JaneB says:

    No, but then, if I waited until I thought it was publication-ready - that is, perfect - I'd never submit anything.

    I submit papers which have reached the point of severely diminishing returns - where an extra hour's work is producing changes but not actual improvements, or where I have done the best I can in the time available to this paper. That's also what I assume is in front of me when I referee.

    I have to say, if I thought everything I submitted was perfect - ready for publishing - reading referee's comments would be a lot more painful than it is! If I think it's good-but-not-perfect, I'm much more open to feedback.

  • Dr. O says:

    Not in hindsight, once the thing is out the door. But when I first submit, I don't always see the flaws. My mentor usually does, but that's 30 years experience talking. Maybe that means my manuscript preparation will change over time. Or maybe I'll just submit things that aren't ready and let the reviewers tell me what to finish. Actually, I'm pretty sure this sounds like the best way to go. But I'm not even a n00b yet.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    I feel that you submit your best publishable draft and hope that the reviewers identify ways to make it better. I think if you are too quick with your submission (ie material that needs to be further developed), you are just begging the reviewers to come up with ridiculous amounts of follow-up experiments or just reject it all together.

  • BLG says:

    Maybe I've been deluding myself, but I always think my submitted drafts are publishable. But I'm also prepared to accept that the reviewers will definitely want me to change something . . . I feel like I've had a few papers initially rejected (then revised and accepted) for reasons that were really only important to those reviewers (which neither I nor my co-authors could have predicted). Because of these experiences, I never want to take the chance of leaving something in that I would see as a warning sign if I were reviewing the paper.

  • saban_lab says:

    Publishable? Yes; perfect? No; better than most of crap out there? Certainly

  • a says:

    my former non-us-government-lab boss would regularly submit that was near (90%-ish) publication ready (especially so in the week before reporting on $$ was due).

    He figured there were lots of places to send stuff so getting rejected from somewhere wasn't a big deal and the reviewers comments would be more helpful in reviewing the paper than his co-authors would be (we'd have done at least one, more likely 2-3+, round by that point).

    He has over 300 pubs...

  • NatC says:

    Yes, we submit what we believe are publication-ready papers - and when we have submitted before that, the revisions/rewrites (/vague feeling of embarrassment at just how right reviewers were to reject the damn thing) were a lot rougher.

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