Last Friday, I submitted the revisions to my paper. I have made it through the initial submission and blind peer review process. Three reviewers, no less. I count myself fortunate that the reviewers were detailed and encouraging in their feedback. The encouraging was good and a pleasant introduction to the whole thing, but it’s actually the detailed interaction with my work that has made more of an enduring impact. What it showed was they took my writing, my thoughts and ideas, seriously. It wasn’t dismissed as simplistic or ‘undergraduate.’ It wasn’t written off as unready for publication. The recommendation was for major revisions, but the comments offered a lot by way of analysis, references and pointers towards making those revisions.
It would have been easy to be intimidated by the sheer volume of the task. However as I delved into it, it became easier and clearer. The sheer volume of the comments might have been overwhelming if it weren’t for the practiced eyes of my supervisors helping me see how to break it down. While each had distinct emphases and there were some contradictions between them, there were some consistent points that meant in the end it was relatively easy to see a path through. It was nice that I was able to respond effectively to the feedback and it was still my paper after completing the revisions.
It feels like I’m pulling up a chair to join the scholarly conversation.
The merits and disadvantages to PhD researchers of publishing during candidature is a discussion for elsewhere. At just-over-half-way,* this is relatively early for getting a paper out. I have more planned and this is not because I feel a pressure to publish for the sake of my hoped-for academic career. It’ll look good for that, but I’m doing it because I think it’s important join the conversation, to get ideas and findings ‘out there’ and whether we like it or not, publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals remains one of primary accepted means of achieving that.
This morning I started wondering if this is changing me from ‘apprentice’ to ‘journeyman’. Even though I am not counting any publication chicks before they are hatched in accepted for publication form, I feel like I have some grounds for taking a seat at the table.
* Technically, it’s nearly Year Three (eek!), but I’m not thinking about that right now. It was about half way when I submitted the initial version of this paper.