I don’t have any particular point, just wanted to write the sting away.
Today in my email I found:
1) The decision on a paper I submitted over the summer: Reject. I knew it was a bit of a long shot with this journal, but I am discouraged to have to start the whole process over again.
2) The decision on a paper I’d reviewed. (Sometimes editors of journals copy the reviewers so they know what happened, sometimes not.) I’d given it a critical but positive review (these hideous flaws are fixable), but it had been rejected. I felt sad for the authors. They must be discouraged.
I wish this news had come next week, when I’d be nice and distracted. On the other hand, rejection and Fucking Depressed don’t mix well, so perhaps I should be grateful. And I find myself raising my fists to the heavens and wailing What the hell does it take to get a paper published in my field anymore?*
It’s been almost 10 years since I became a professor. Sometimes I think that Kids Today Have it so Easy, but mostly I think the bar is higher than it was in my day. My more senior colleagues would probably agree: None of us would be hired today. Maybe it’s good thing if standards and expectations continue to rise, but maybe the pressure will lead to crappier research. I guess I can continue pushing for a few more years until I go up for promotion, then get a sofa for my office and spend the rest of my days lazing about and contemplating it all from a safe distance.
*A: In my case, stop submitting to the top journals in my field and aim a little lower… Never fear, I’ve got a couple more in the pipeline that may fare better… And stop doing only experimental work, because experiments take a thousand years and always have flaws that are much more apparent to reviewers than all the things that are solid and took enormous effort. Time for some theoretical and descriptive work!