By Barbara Gastel, 22 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel, 21 May 2013
By Bernard Appiah, 13 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel, 13 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel, 12 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel | 17 July 2012
[This past weekend, when I was about to write an AuthorAID blog post, I received a guest post from AuthorAID community member Dr. Haseeb Md. Irfanullah. How convenient! Thank you, Haseeb. —Barbara]
In late 2006, I wrote a country paper and presented it at an international conference in Nepal. The topic was quite interesting: how armed conflicts affect conservation of biodiversity. Because no such report was available for my country, Bangladesh, I looked forward to publishing the paper in the conference proceedings. But unfortunately the conference organizers abandoned such publication the next year.
The next three years (2008–2010), I submitted the country paper to 7 international and local journals. Four returned the manuscript after rather quick internal review, mentioning either that it did not match the scope of the journal, that the topic was too narrow or country-specific, or that the submission was not an original research paper per se. Two journals rejected the paper in light of the reviewers’ comments. In the seventh case, I withdrew my manuscript 14 months after submission because the editor was not responding to my queries.
Early last year—still fascinated by the unexplored relationship between armed conflict and biodiversity in Bangladesh—I designed a completely new research project to answer some specific research questions. I aimed to find out how biologists respond to armed conflicts. I compared pre-conflict (1961–1974), conflict (1975–1997), and post-conflict (1998–2011) periods by interviewing selected biologists and surveying pertinent literature. In December 2011 and January 2012, I submitted my new research paper to 3 international journals—but all returned it without review.
At this point, I concluded that the main problem was communicating my research. The journals that I had approached were seeking “biological research”, whereas this research was on “biologists”. So I thought that someone with knowledge and experience in science communication who was not a subject specialist might help me to articulate my research better. Prof. Barbara Gastel gave me the exact advice and guidance I was looking for!
I submitted the revised manuscript to an international journal a few months back, and it was published online last month.
I have learned 5 simple things from my 6 years’ endeavor:
Let me take a little help from Shakespeare to finish off: "But love is blind and lovers cannot see/The pretty follies that themselves commit" (The Merchant of Venice). We all indeed love our research work and papers. But, can this love make us blind?