Minor Revisions

It was close to midnight when I stumbled into my hotel room in downtown Palermo. The day had been packed with scientific lectures followed by dinner and drinks with colleagues and newfound friends and I was happy to finally find a quiet moment to open my computer and re-read the email I had just scrolled through on my phone during a coffee break during the day. Deciphering the text on my broken iPhone screen had shot sparkles of excitement through me even stronger than the ones induced by the concentrated Italian coffee I balanced in my other hand, but I put the phone away as I wanted to read the email through in peace in order to fully enjoy the significance of the following lines:

Reviewers have now commented on your paper. As you can see, reviewers have a favorable opinion of your work and minor corrections are suggested.

Minor revisions, this is sweet music to the ears of an early stage researcher. Sometimes, the revisions part seems to be as difficult as the work leading up to the submitted manuscript, or close to impossible if additional experiments are required and you have already left the lab due to a finished contract or a research stay abroad like in my case. Since I am prone to catastrophic thinking I had already spent a few sleepless nights trying to figure out what experiments reviewers potentially would require me to repeat and how I would arrange travels down to Girona from Antwerp. Luckily I didn’t have to (at least for this paper). Instead I got very positive and constructive feedback and I think the comments from the reviewers have helped me to improve the paper.

As a researcher, and maybe especially as a PhD student you are working a lot on your own and after having stared at the same manuscript for hours it’s easy to be blind to your own mistakes. Therefore I really value having feedback on my work as it helps me to spot weaknesses or information gaps and I have been enjoying the past two weeks where I have been searching for additional references clarified arguments and re-arranged some messy tables. Next week we send the manuscript back to the journal and hopefully soon my first publication within the TreatRec project will be published.