Friday, March 30, 2012

paper writing worries

During the last year I was working on a paper about stuff still from my PhD thesis. It's a large bunch of data and I found it difficult to really get my head around it and to make a readable story out of it.  The Post-Doc, who's on the author list, is of the kind who needs a pretty well written draft already before he feels motivated enough to give decent comments. And as he's still in my PhD-university far away, communication (means: motivating and pushing) over several time zones wasn't easy. So I asked two other colleagues, who work on related projects, if they were interested in getting on board. They both liked the topic and gave really helpful comments, sent me realted papers and even made some additional measurements. By now the paper had been grown enough to attract the interest of the Post-Doc, so we were four motivated authors by now. Then we decided, that so really pimp the publication we should include one more experiment, so we could show in our own graphs, what we had so far just based on literature. As neither of us was capable of doing these experiments we asked Specialist Colleague, if she could help us out with that. She said, that she'll be really busy for the next 2-3 month but after that she could spare some time. So we continued writing on our paper, re-formatting the graphs, improving the style,... while we were waiting for Specialist Colleague to have spare time. 
Last week - which is 5 month after she agreed to do the experiments - she announced that she's nearly done and she'll send the graphs within the next days.
And all out of a sudden I started worrying about, that her experiments might not show what we were expecting. What would we do with the nearly finished paper? Would we really sit down again and re-think the concept or would the motivation not be enough to do another round of email discussions? The first round had already taken so long and was sometimes so tedious, that I wasn't even sure, if I had the motivation right away to start it all over again. I really wanted to have it off my table.
Today her email with all the graphs came - and they look fantastic, supporting our concept very well! Very long breathing out! Very big smile on my face!
Now there will be 1-3 graph-shifting emails and then the babe is ready to go.
Hope the journal will love you! 

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