Waiting for co-authors

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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4 Comments on “Waiting for co-authors”

  1. arbitrista says:

    Sounds like it’s time to do some ass-kicking.

  2. Melalvai says:

    This sort of thing drives me wild. I used to take it very personally. My logic went, this person gets stuff done for important people in a timely manner, and his failure to respond to me is a message that he thinks I’m as important as chopped liver.

    I got two manuscripts out of my graduate work. I wrote one 2 yrs before I graduated, and the other one right before I graduated. Both manuscripts were finally published SEVEN years after I had written them. The 2nd one isn’t even in print yet.

    So I had plenty of time to come to terms with this. What happened is, I lost a lot of respect for my advisor, the good side of that is, if I don’t respect him I don’t care whether or not he thinks I’m important.

    I’ve also come to accept the possibility that in his world view this all makes sense, that he is basically a good person, and if I wanted to I could make the effort to come to understand where he’s coming from. If I had been able to develop that spirit of curiosity a decade ago, that would have saved me a lot of angst. At this point, it’s not important to me, but it did leave the lesson that I can develop that curiosity about other people if I find myself reacting to them similarly.

    I wish you luck, not in getting the manuscripts out, but in finding a happy journey toward publication, whether you reach the goal of publication or not.

  3. ecogeofemme says:

    I totally could have written this post. If you find a solution, let me know. :/

  4. kosta says:

    i have been waiting for 2 papers since one and a half years…every six months or so i get a review; circulate and wait for another 6 months. even if i remind every week, seems to make no difference. thinking of leaving and submitting on my own. it is disrespectful because some advisors dont seem to understand phds and postdocs need those publications.


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