Now that we’ve resubmitted both the USS manuscript and the Sxy manuscript, we’re starting to fix up yet another manuscript, this one about the interactions between CRP and its recognition sites in H. influenzae and E. coli. This manuscript was reviewed by a high quality journal last spring and politely rejected. The reviewers thought that our research was fine, but the results were not considered important enough to meet this journal’s standards,
I hadn’t looked at the manuscript since we submitted it in May, and had forgotten much of what it said, so I was able to reread it now with an open mind. I found lots of places where we could have done a better job of explaining the significance of what we were reporting. I then went over the manuscript with the post-doc who had done the work and most of the writing (as part of his PhD research). He has designed several nice additional experiments, and we had to decide which of these were worth doing before submitting the manuscript to another journal. In going over these and my rewriting ideas we saw that the manuscript could become much more strongly focused. So now we’re quite enthusiastic about what we (well, I) originally saw as a rather inconclusive little paper.
It’s too bad we weren’t able to make these improvements before submitting it the first time – the reviewers might then have found it acceptable. But I’ve had the same experience several times before: A manuscript we think very important is rejected by a very competitive journal. We polish it and submit it to another competitive journal. It’s again rejected so we polish it some more, and add in the new data or analyses that have accumulated since the first submission. It’s now accepted by a less prestigious journal, but is so much better that we think it would have been acceptable to the first journal we tried. If only....
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