Readers, I have been negligent in my blogging this summer. The truth is that I’ve been struggling with a case of PhD angst and ennui. The long list of tasks I hoped to accomplish, papers I hoped to read, and ideas I hoped to generate far outstrips the list of these things I’ve actually achieved, and it’s left me feeling a little bit adrift. But more on this in a future post; today I’m here to report some good news!
of my manuscript, that is.
It’s taken about a year of post-Master’s-defense work on this paper to get it to become a publishable manuscript. Following its initial rejection, I used guidance from helpful comments of peer reviewers and lab members to cut out some of the “thesis bloat.” Because part of the purpose of a thesis is to demonstrate the depth and breadth of what you learned as a graduate student, preparing a thesis for journal publication involves removing a lot of introductory and explanatory material – streamlining it for an audience with a shared background knowledge. I also added data and material that helped to bolster some of my arguments and findings.
Preparing a thesis for journal publication means choosing from the many ideas the one that is most compelling, and letting it determine the shape of your story. That doesn’t mean that the other cool ideas all have to go, but the ones that stay get de-emphasized and woven into the central story. I spent a lot of time removing ideas and phrases I was proud of, with the cold detachment of a seasoned hitman.
Before acceptance, I got a first decision letter from Ecosystems that included some really positive feedback about my question and how I addressed it, as well as asking for major revisions which involved clarifying some of my explanations and correcting some errors that made it through my proofreading. After satisfying the concerns of reviewers, I had another round of editorial corrections before I got a letter saying my manuscript was nearly acceptable, it just needed one small change to the numbering of the figures (now changed and re-submitted).
I’m happy to soon share with the world a story of how dissolved organic carbon affects how Florida rivers process nitrogen! Stay tuned for this story, as well as episode 5 of “How a Master’s Thesis Becomes a Peer-reviewed Article”: the Publication Process.