As the end of the year approaches, I’m working once again on a paper which has gone through multiple rounds of rejections. It has been more than two years since I came up with the initial idea and the paper still has to survive the peer-review process. Despite the frustration, 2019 has been a good year for my academic career.
My paper in Philosophical Studies has been accepted this year. 2019 was also the year in which I finished my MPhil in advanced computer science at Cambridge. It was the year in which I started my job as research associate at the Department of Computer Science and Technology/ALTA. At least two papers I drafted in the last six month are currently under review. Two more papers are in preparation.
These are CV-ready indicators of success and should be handled with the appropriate scepticism. The really interesting improvements are to be found in the content of my work, not the number of papers in preparation. While I would have preferred an acceptance, revising the same paper repeatedly over a two-year period provides an excellent opportunity to track this progress. I can’t fault those who rejected the first version. The paper lacked well-developed examples, clear description of the key mechanism, and a suitable structure. It now has all of those.
Every time I come back to this paper, I am surprised that I can improve it once more. Even if I have hardly worked in the area since the paper’s last submission, I manage to get more out of the idea. The reviewers help, but the changes always go beyond their comments. My ambition for 2020 is to finally learn enough to secure the paper’s publication. I’m ready for a new yard stick of progress.