Oh, so that's what it's called!
Had a conversation with a new postdoc in my lab who is trying to publish some leftover papers from her PhD work.
I guess this is a pretty common predicament nowadays, to be a postdoc who has actually never been through the experience of scientific publishing.
There are several things that are really baffling about the "process".
This used to make sense in the days of yore printing, but it makes less and less sense as most of us get our journals online.
2. Anonymous reviews
They asked for WHAT??!! Often leads to the question of who is really your peer and what the hell they are doing writing reviews.
As in, when the response is actually favorable but it sounds like it's not. Or, as is more often the case these days, the response reads as if they really didn't understand what was written in the reviews.
4. Reject means resubmit
Even when a paper is soundly rejected, the tradition is fast becoming to resubmit anyway, and browbeat the editor into sending the paper back out.
5. How long this all takes
So let me get this straight, she said. It's going to take a month or two to get the reviews back? What am I supposed to do in the meantime? Take out my crystal ball and try to guess what they'll ask for?
6. How little time you have to address the reviews
Most journals give you 2 months to do any and all experiments, but you're supposed to know that you can negotiate for more (even though it's not at all clear that this is negotiable if you read the journal websites).
7. How political it all is
Whether it's better to have presented the work in public first very close to when it will be submitted; or not at all. Whose names are on the paper; whether the reviewers you suggest will be the ones the editor uses; whether people with a conflict of interest will recuse themselves (no, they won't!).
8. Who's really going to get the credit when it comes out
Your PI. Whether s/he had anything to do with any of it or not.
In related news, this week I learned there is a term for what has been going on that is ruining my field. Apparently Richard Feynman called it Cargo cult and I think the description on wikipedia is totally accurate. Since I saw this on a blog but now can't remember where, apologies and thanks to the person who wrote about it.