While not a “helpful tip” in the traditional sense, I thought it would be fun to reflect a little on the multi-year long process, and hopefully show people that they’re not alone in the rejection, revision, resubmission, response, rejection, etc. publication struggle!
Here’s a (very) brief timeline of this paper from start to finish.
2015 – Preliminary experiments and coding designs are iterated on.
Jan 2016 – The 2015 work pays off, and we now begin our first wet lab experiments with the large pools of DNA presented in this work
June 2016 – Final wet lab experiments are conducted
Drafting and iterating on our paper
Dec 2016 – Drafting of the paper starts in earnest
March 2, 2017 – Draft of paper submitted to Journal A
March 7, 2017 – Draft posted to Biorxiv
March 17, 2017 – Draft submitted to Journal B (presumably we’d been rejected from Journal A somewhere in there, but I couldn’t find the email)
May 12, 2017- Heard back from reviewers, Journal B decides not to pursue publication
May 20, 2017 – Reformatting the paper for Nature Biotech starts in earnest
July 13, 2017 – Submitted reformatted paper addressing some of the prior reviewers’ concerns
The meat of the peer-review process
Aug 15, 2017 – Reviewers respond with lots of suggestions
Oct 18, 2017 – After some more analysis, wet lab experiments, and rewrites, we resubmit to Nature Biotech
Nov 14, 2017 – Reviewers respond and we’re given the chance to comment
Nov 24, 2017 – We’re unofficially accepted to Nature Biotech!
Dec 13, 2017 – We’re given a final list of things the reviewers would like us to address
Jan 6, 2017 – We address concerns and resubmit
Jan 11, 2017 – We are officially accepted for publication at Nature Biotech!
Jan 11-Feb 12 – We do lots of last minute editing, fixing small changes that Nature Biotech’s editors made.
Feb 19, 2017 – “Random access in large-scale DNA Storage” is finally available online.
Funny enough, many computer scientists see all this and think the process is excruciatingly slow, while life science researchers look at this and think it’s a relatively quick paper. The two fields work at extremely different paces most of the time.