Revise & Resubmit

September 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

“Revise and resubmit.” I recently received an email with these sweet words, and after gasping, “What!?!” I ran to my advisor’s office and exclaimed, “I got a revise and resubmit!”

Let me back up and explain the amazing world of academia in terms of the field of communication. Publications are the currency in “Research 1” universities (or schools where there is a major emphasis on research, and the professors teach two classes each semester with the understanding that they will be researching as well). How is this research guaranteed and how do we know the professors aren’t just spending more time at the pool and the golf course? It’s known as “publish or perish” in academia. If people want to keep their jobs as professors, earn tenure, and get promoted, it is expected and required that they will be publishing.

While some schools don’t expect research, and instead focus on teaching, and therefore don’t require research and publications, getting published is ultimately very good for any future job prospects.

So what does publishing entail?

  • Journals in the field publish research articles by scholars that are innovative, helping further research and/or are bringing new ideas to the field. The articles often range from 15-20 pages in length.
  • There are different “levels” of journals in the field of communication, with the “big hitters,” like Quarterly Journal of Speech, carrying much prestige and weight, followed by the regional journals, and then “the rest.”
  • A scholar can only submit an article to one journal at a time.
  • The journals then send the articles out to reviewers in a “double blind” process. This means that the reviewers don’t know who wrote the article, and the author doesn’t know who reviewed it. Reviewers are almost always professors in the field with their PhDs. The reviewing process can take up to six months.
  • After reviewing the article, the reviewers tell the editor if they would or would not recommend the article for publication in the specific journal.
  • The editor then tells the author that their manuscript was or was not recommended for publication. VERY RARELY is one told that the manuscript was accepted outright and nothing else is needed. Most of the time, the best one can hope for is a “revise and resubmit,” or “R&R.” If one gets an R&R, one can make the changes suggested by the reviewers and get “another chance” at publication. However, an “R&R” is not a guarantee of publication. After resubmitting, an author could be told one of three things:
    1. The revisions are great, but on second thought, the journal isn’t interested anymore in the manuscript.
    2. More revisions are necessary and then they will reconsider after an additional submission.
    3. Congrats! We’re going to publish your article!

So, as you can see from this long drawn out process, while a “revise and resubmit” doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed getting published, it does mean I am as close as I’ve ever been!

Hopefully, there’s more to come!

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