Hilarious But True · Nature of Academia

The Five Stages of Getting an R&R

You’ve spent months. Maybe years. You’ve run every permutation of your model that could possibly exist.  You’ve gone back and forth with your co-author six thousand times over the best way to word this section on the definition of the word “liberal.”  How many cups of coffee did this take? How much wine?  There’s no way of knowing. You finally submit your article.  You watch, daily, at the Editorial Manager portal.  “With Editor.” “Under Review.” “Required Reviews Completed.” Dear God, here it comes. The Decision.  A rejection. An acceptance. An acceptance with minor revisions.

Oh.  It’s a Revise and Resubmit.

Stage I: Denial


This article was perfect. What do you mean R&R? This can’t even be right. I’m sure they just checked the wrong box when they submitted their recommendation. Let me re-read the letter. “Dear Author, We enjoyed your article but think it needs major adjustments before we can-” well, fuck.

Stage II: Anger


Did you not SEE the blood, sweat, and tears that stained the .pdf file?  “MAJOR” revisions? Who do you think you are, Mister or Madam Editor? And don’t think I don’t see you, Reviewer #3.  Did you even READ what we wrote? I’m insulted by your absurd suggestions. You’re just pissed we didn’t cite you. You know what? I’m not even going to revise this at all. This journal is clearly a joke.

Stage III: Bargaining


“Please, Editor, I will never throw conference shade again if you’ll just accept this article as it is.”  “I’ll make you a deal: what if I promise to volunteer as a discussant for every conference I ever go to again?” “How many articles have I reviewed for your journal? Don’t you owe me?”

Stage IV: Depression


I’m never going to be a serious scholar. I’m never going to get tenure. Everything I do is terrible, and Reviewer #3 is right: this isn’t even worth being published at all. I should just scrap everything I’m doing and go work for the federal government. And hate it. Like Ron Swanson.

Stage V: Acceptance


Now wait just one second. An R&R is great. I’m emailing my coauthor right now to tell her about it.  All we have to do is make a few changes, it’s no big deal. Reorganize, reword that definition of “liberal” (because that’s definitely what Reviewer #3 hated most), and add some footnotes. This is great news! I’m putting it on my CV.  Let’s get to work.



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