Behind The Scenes : My Effort to Publish a Paper in Q1 Journal

I am by no means showing my ability. Nor I will not join the wagon of polemic in Scopus business model. I just want to tell the story from my side, how difficult for me (as a regular person) to publish. And I want to cheer you up, my colleague let just focus on writing a good paper rather than we criticized the so-called neo-imperialism in the academic world.

Above I mention me as a regular person. I am not a genius or smart. It is just coincidently I have to finish my PhD using publication (paper-based dissertation not the manuscript one). Do I choose this? Nope, my supervisor “command” me. You, yes all of you PhD students, are highly aware that basically, you have to say yes to your supervisor.

My first experience of writing the real academic paper to be published is my systematic review paper. It took me 6 months just to complete my search of keywords. And spent another 6 months to screening and analyzed the papers. Seems short? wait … I studied every day, with no weekend. There is no holiday in my dictionary. At that time, I spent 14-18 hours every day to study and working with my research. When it was in the 9th month, if I am not mistaken, I started to write part of the paper while doing the research.

Writing in English is another barrier for me as I am not a native English speaker or even good in English. In my language, Indonesian, we don’t have any tenses (past present future), we don’t have single or plural, and one of the major difficulties is we don’t use the.
Can you imagine how hard for me to write in English? I have to focus on two things, the content and the language. If you see this writing is “quite” good, this because I started to use Grammarly to write this blog. But FYI, I kind of speak in English at home with my children since they were growing up in the US.

I remember that my first paper has so many versions. I have a habit that always put a version number behind the title so that I know where I am now. Every significant findings or section or after discussion with my supervisor I will put a new version. There was 40-ish version, while in some version there is a subversion (ie 18.1, 18.2).

After my supervisor felt that the draft is good enough, then we sent to co-author. And I repeated the process of review-comment from co-author. After all the co-author satisfied, then I sent that paper to a professional proofreader.

Is that the last version is the version that published? Hahaha …. I laugh so hard … Nope …not at all.
That was the draft that I feel ready to submit to the journal. I have to match the journal requirement.

* note that during that period, I have to replace my glasses. It thickened.

And during my PhD program, every year I have to replace my glasses. Since it was become blurry to watch and read in the monitor.

Was that fun? Noooo …. I am afraid my glasses will be as thick as a bottle.

Back to my first attempt at publishing. My supervisor just submits to the best journal in my field only. Submitting process in high impact journal is not as easy one-two-three. There are so so many requirements for the journal. And this took me at least one week, I believe. Stressful process.

Once I submitted, it kind of big relief. But then I have to finish my research so that I can submit it to the next journal. In this my very first attempt, it has to wait more than 3 months just to receive email reply from the journal. Succeed ??? Nope, of course, no. They rejected it. Gladly they gave good comments that I can improve my paper.

Back to versioning again, several version goes by. And repeat the process with co-authors. And when I felt it ready to submit, I submit to another journal. Oh yea, the first attempt is Q1 journal.  And again, my supervisor wants me to submit to another Q1 journal in mya field. Oh my goodness …. can you imagine that? Another lengthy process of submitting. Waiting for review …and rejections.

In the end, I have to submit to the third another Q1 journal. This time I am lucky. I went through 3 times review back and forth process. Well every time I submit, it takes 3 months to wait. And Kind of 1 month to full fill the reviewers’ request.

All in all, the first process until it was accepted took 1.5 years. Full of tears and drama 🙂 , between student and supervisor. Hahaha ….

Well …actually that is not the end, there is still another production process that we have to follow, language check by the journal (proofreader by them), and then the lay-outing process too.

That hard work was paid off. I have my first Q1 paper. Looong process of writing.
Basically, the research has to be very strong. The writing has to be clear and concise. There are no unnecessary sentences. There is no ambiguity word/sentence that makes the reader confuse or they will have a different perspective. Every words and sentence were selected carefully. Check and recheck to the theory is very common. Even I still remember that I doubt my self with one of my sentences. I have to find a clear definition and source to back up my argument, this took me one month. One short sentences took one month. I have to have a source of citation/references for every single argument that I made.

… mmm … dear my friend or colleague let’s write. Don’t be afraid. Do not blame the Scopus business model. I found my self that if your writing is good, it will be accepted in the scopus journal, even the high impact journal.
Do good in your research.
Do good in your effort in writing.
Publish is just a matter of time

If you have not done those two “do good”, then do not complain of the scopus. Blame your self, I guess.
Once again, I am by no means say that this is easy. But by working hard, I believe you can do it too. Once, a wise man said to me. The one that matters to a person is whether you want to read or not.
Iqra’.

happy writing …