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Waiting for co-authors

February 16, 2011, 7:13 am

At the moment, I do not have any articles in review, which pains me. I do have four that are pretty close to getting out there (or back out there, as the case may be for a few of them) – two are papers on which I am the first author, and two on which I am a co-author. All four of these have two co-authors in common – my postdoctoral adviser (PA), and a grad student (GS) in PA’s lab.

PA is notoriously busy and important, though well-meaning, and it always takes a long time for PA to get around to reading and commenting on drafts. I won’t lie, it pisses me off – but I try to remember that PA puts a lot of work into reading carefully and making helpful comments. Also PA has been around a long time and has hundreds of publications, and my research is somewhat outside of PA’s main research interest. So, I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.

GS takes even longer to get drafts back to me. GS has gotten entirely too self important for GS’s own good, I think. Though still a grad student, GS claims to be “too busy” and gets “too many emails to keep up with.” If GS is supposedly too busy and important now, what on earth is going to happen when GS is a faculty member?

Yes, GS does good work, and some of it may end up being pretty important in the field. But it never will if GS doesn’t hurry up and finish something for once in GS’s life. GS has no first-authored papers yet – and only because GS is so unbelievably slow to get things written and submitted.

It took GS and PA over two months to get comments back to me on the draft I wrote in November. I made major revisions (in just a few days, mind you) last week and sent it back, asking for final approval to submit. I wonder how long that will take?? I am trying to work up the energy to get back to revising the thrice-rejected Paper that Will Not Die, but part of my reluctance is related to the fact that GS and PA are co-authors. Why bother hurrying if they are going to take months and months to read it?

And of course, the other two papers on which I am co-author – yep, GS is first author. One of those is a revise and resubmit that has been sitting around for well over a year, while more established people in that particular subfield have published several papers. All of GS’s time has been devoted to trying to get the other paper reviewed by a couple of journals who have single-word-titles, both of which have rejected it without review (and have also rejected GS’s subsequent appeal to the decision). It’s been nearly six months of this. Can we move on, please?

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