Academic rejections can be a nasty blow in your PhD or academic career. But, these rejections should not be considered as roadblocks rather should be considered as the push that helps you to move ahead in your academic or research career if you try to look it from the “half glass full” perspective and focus on the positives only! Saying it is very easy, but doing it for real is not that easy!
Connecting to my rejection experiences in the first year PhD, I made 3 conference submissions out of which 2 were rejected. Going a bit deep into the chronology, these 2 rejections were back to back with a mere gap of 2-3 months from each other. So, finally that forced me write this blog and create a vlog for many people who experience the same but never bring their emotions and thoughts in the open. This doesn’t help the scientific community of academicians and researchers who are toiling hard to make multiple submissions but somehow most are embarrassed to discuss about it. So, please watch my Vlog enclosed below to know more about how to tackle these positively. Here, I will list down some points in brief:
- All these rejections should be considered as a stepping stone for future conference or journal submissions. Once you produce some scientific works, then they can be reshaped and modified according to the requirements of the future submissions. Think positive and treat this conference rejection as a roadbump which can help you to maneuver your work in future journal submissions or other conferences where you have better chance to talk back and forth with the reviewers. On the downside, you need to spend more time and do multiple rounds of review before your article gets published.
- Life is always filled with changes. Change is the constant driving force that propels the advancement of our day to day activities. After every high moment, you will always experience a low one. For instance, anything that goes up always comes down or anything that speeds up had to slow down and cannot always enjoy the eternal comfort of being in an unchanged state at least in the version of Earth that we live in! To emphasize it further, there was a popular example by Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar, “There is a tide in the affairs of men” which literally translates - After every high tide there is a low tide and when someone is enjoying the luxury of being in the high tide euphoria then they should take maximum advantage of that opportunity because the low tide moment will be hovering in the near proximity. To sum up, change is what makes you feel the euphoria, otherwise same unchanged state would make the life bland and boring.
- Sometimes you need to accept the hard fact that your explanation style needs to be more simple and precise so that an average third person who acts as a reviewer for that article is able to understand the context and content of your article. If you find a common point of confusion among multiple reviewers then instead of questioning the reviewer, start questioning your writing style and other common problems that you have in your article. This post-hoc introspection can be beneficial to even refine your article further although it may seem a daunting task to re-read your work again and again with the same set of the eyes. To bootstrap this process, a fresh pair of eyes can be unseemingly effective.
- How to not react to absurd and ridiculous reviews and just move on with the next submission? Sometimes you end up in a situation where you feel that the reviewer has dealt with you unfairly. For example, he did not read your discussion section thoroughly and started to question your results and asked to discuss about it later. This can happen to anyone! But, mostly in conferences where you do not have a rebuttal system then your hands are tied in such situations. So, you have to accept these ridiculous remarks of the reviewer and hope that the quality of the review is improved in future where someone atleast takes the pain to read the full paper without making any pre-conceived conclusions! To add to it, if you are in certain position and power then you can may be let the committee know about this so that in future they ensure that such type of reviews do not repeat.
PS Please leave your THOUGHTS and COMMENTS below
The Vlog on Week 13 discussing about academic rejections: