Thursday, February 21, 2013

the siege: something pyrrhic, but not quite a victory.

as of now, the siege is over for good reasons,
but not particularly good ones.

i'm calling a retreat, you see .. but not a surrender.

two journals got back to me very recently, almost back to back [1]. one paper was accepted, another is conditional (i.e. pending a long list of edits to the manuscript).

as for the accepted one, i looked at the submitted version today, for the first time in months. i didn't like what i saw. this is probably a very stupid thing to do .. in the professional sense, anyway; it tempts both fate and the referee's ire ..

.. but i'm thinking of rewriting and re-submitting it, and in particular to the same journal and the same referee.
yes, i know that i will never have a perfectly-written manuscript. i am perfectly aware that perfection doesn't exist. on the other hand, i am not striving for that, but improvement.

this manuscript can be improved substantially. it's all too clear to me. as it reads now, i think it'll only cause that much more misery to potential readers ..

.. so i think it's worth doing.
i don't know, though. this might be the ramblings of someone who just doesn't know how to react to good news (like a journal acceptance) anymore [2].

i'll give it a week, under the following conditions:
  1. i'll keep my printout, to read with care;
  2. i will not read the manuscript on consecutive days;
  3. i am not writing any comments on it until next wednesday;
  4. i am not editing any of the $\LaTeX$ until next friday.
if you're familiar with $\LaTeX$, then i suppose you can imagine why i'm imposing these conditions.
if you're good at $\LaTeX$ markup, then it's rather easy to make a lot of changes in a short amount of time.

moreover, if you're just as neurotic as i am, then it's far, far too easy to sit there, staring at the screen, debating on whether you want to keep what you just "fixed" .. and then becoming very dismayed as to how much time has passed, while you just sat there, doing "nothing" ..!
besides, it would probably do me some good to end the siege for a while and set aside that particular construction.

i'm starting to lose sleep. i'm pretty sure i'm not as sharp as i'd like to be. the construction is complicated .. at least by my standards [3] .. and to make sure it's correct, i need to be sharp enough to be suspicious.

sometimes i feel like i'll never finish anything .. \-:

[1] i strongly suspect that the referee was the same for both submissions .. which is fine by me. (s)he did a thorough job, even if i didn't like some of the comments.

[2] there doesn't seem to be an easy word to describe this: 'over-react' isn't right and 'under-react' sounds artificial (and wouldn't be right either). how about "misreact" ..?

on a related note, all of this could probably have been avoided .. had i only been more careful and diligent in reading the "final" draft, and seeing what looked bad, fixed it *before* the journal submission.

[3] you know, lately i've been getting feedback that my write-ups are rather technical.

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