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The sleeper must awaken

We had some lovely weather last week. While Bunter lay on a blanket on the grass, I battled my irrational fear that an eagle was going to swoop down and carry her off* and simultaneously tried to get my muddy garden plots ready for plantin’ time. Hyacinths are growing. And I am feeling my brain stirring. Sluggishly, like sap in dormant trees.

My parental leave is over. I scrambled to finish up my list of Things to do While Home on Leave. I cleaned the fan in the bathroom, which was NASTY after five years of being ignored.** I cleaned pantry. (Exciting find: A giant jug of super rancid vegetable oil for the deep fryer we no longer own…) I cleaned the drawers in our little utility area. (Exciting find: Random bulbs for the outdoor lights that we haven’t turned on since we moved here. I think it’s best NOT to light your back yard up like an airport.) Etc. Etc.

And this week I returned to work. I’ve been clearing away the intellectual analogue to a bunch of dead branches and soggy leaves: A lot of papers that got sent back to me right before I had Bunter or in the interim, that have to be revised and resubmitted. I’m not enjoying it. Today I submitted to a journal that is single blind, which means the reviewers (the people deciding whether or not the paper should be published) know who YOU are, but you don’t know who THEY are. That’s already irritating, because it introduces all kinds of biases. (I know from reviewing papers that it’s much easier to be objective when you don’t know who wrote the damn thing. Double blind or not blind at all, okay, but single blind? Stupid.) In addition, the journal requires you to recommend reviewers, so it all becomes a case of asking your friends (because you tend to be friends with the people who are experts in your area) to read your shit and make important decisions about it, all while pretending you don’t know they’re doing it. Uggh, I just feel exposed and yucky. Like a fat, juicy baby lying on a blanket, available to any passing eagle.

However, getting these poor papers back out is necessary so I can focus planting some new stuff in my mental mud. I have some tender sprouts going. Which will probably be killed off by a late frost.

*If that fear is actually rational, don’t fucking tell me. I will not be googling eagle carry off baby in order to find out. We do have eagles, and I know they pull this shit with lambs…

**Why don’t I clean it more often? Jesus, stop judging me! It involves putting a stepladder in the bathub, which should not be risked regularly, and wiring has to be disconnected. Electricity is scary.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Single-blind AND you recommend your own referees? Wow, that’s about the worst combination they could come up with.

    Logic is usually double-blind, but one of the journals I’m an editor for doesn’t require anonymised submissions (but allows them); I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t, given all the data about implicit biases, etc. However, when I’m refereeing especially when I know or think I know who the authors are, I’ve started signing my name to my reports. If I’m not willing to put my name to what I have to say, should I really be saying it?

    March 18, 2016
    • I’m glad to hear you say that. To me it seems like THE WORST option, given what we know about biases (exactly as you say–I joked to a friend that they should also ask for our race, sex, height, and a photo) but I wondered if I was just being grumpy. I’m used to double blind, but I am also fine with the current movement in behavioral research towards totally open (unblind).

      March 18, 2016
  2. Already going back? I’m not ready! Oh wait, you’re the one who has to do it. I hate to admit how long it took me to clear some space in my own overgrown mommy monocrop for non-survival-related thoughts. I want to send you a cloche or two for those tender sprouts. May they (and you) thrive!

    March 19, 2016
  3. The frugal ecologist #

    Interesting. In my field (biology/ecology) all of the journals I publish in are single blind. I’ve always liked the idea of double blind since it encourages authors to minimize self-citation.

    March 20, 2016
    • Ha! We just cite ourselves as “author”. It’s ridiculous.

      March 22, 2016
  4. I see that returning to work is a mix bag. Nice to have time to yourself again, and dust off the ol’ professional identity. Also, it sound stupidly annoying that your professional self has to deal with bullshit like single bling reviews. What sort of cruel excuse of a man invented this anyway?
    I was tempted to judge you on cleaning your FUCKING BATHROOM FAN, until I realized that I can barely get my dishes done. And all temptation subsided.
    love you. xox

    March 21, 2016
  5. Hey! Glad to hear this lovely mix of optimism and pessimism re: that you have some sprouts budding in that fabulous mind of yours. I do hate single blind reviewing. I’ve been turning down so many reviewer requests lately that I feel perhaps a plague of karmic retribution will soon rain down upon me. But so be it. I gotta practice saying ‘no’ somewhere. And good for you for tackling those productive tasks. I don’t even want to THINK about the fan in our horrible rental bathroom. I do love the image of your sweet Bunter enjoying the fresh air as you garden. This is unrelated to your post, but I always enjoy that you do the things that YOU want to do and need to do, and integrate les enfants where and when possible. All to say: role model. Hope the back to work slog is going reasonably well.

    March 22, 2016

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