Publishing undergraduate thesis - NEED URGENT ADVICE!!

11-Mar-19, 02:16
Avatar for meadyorca
posted about 1 year ago
Hello all

I am stuck in a tricky situation with my first journal article at the moment and would massively appreciate anyone's advice!

So here's the situation... I am an early career researcher in the field of biogeography (recently graduated from my MSc and looking for PhDs), currently trying to get my undergraduate dissertation research published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing/Remote Sensing Letters. I submitted it around christmas time. it got past the initial stages and through peer review and was 'recommended for publication' but with significant amendments. The problem I have now is that the main issue the first reviewer has is that I did not include a particular technical element in my data analysis (specifically I did not do an accuracy assessment of my image analysis). The reason I didn't do this was very simply that I was already working well beyond what was expected at undergraduate but an accuracy assessment wasn't something I was aware I should have done (i.e. it certainly wasn't required for my dissertation and no-one advised me that I should do it in case of future publication).

As far as I know there is no way of me going back to my results and running accuracy assessments now (partly because I don't even have access to the software I used now). Further, for various reasons very much out of my control, neither of my supervisors are available to help/advise me, so I am having to turn to other lecturers/non-specialists but not having any luck.

I only have 4 more weeks to respond with an amended article (although I may be able to extend this), and I am so determined to get this article published as I am very proud of the research and really need some publications for the PhD funding I want,but I am not sure how I can get past this final hurdle... If anyone has any suggestions of how I could respond to the reviewers comments, or has hit similar hurdles in relation to undergrad publications etc I would be hugely grateful. I assume that I shouldn't tell them that it was undergraduate research?

Thank you in advance!
11-Mar-19, 10:50
edited about 3 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 1 year ago
Hello. First congratulations for getting something worth published in peer reviewed journal in Bachelor's work. It is really something.
The situation you described is not easy and you know it. I think you can only reposnd saying that this analysis was outside the scope of work. If the reviewer think it is mandatory to accept the paper, there is nothing you can do to convince him.
The second alternative is to submit to another journal which less strict criteria. Then the chance is higher. I had a paper gone back and forth for two years until accepted in another journal. In your PhD application cover letter and CV, you should mention your paper and state it is under review. Not all PhD applicants (and even graduates) have publications.
11-Mar-19, 15:28
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for Dr_Crabby
posted about 1 year ago
I agree with eng77 but I would also suggest adding it into recommendations for future research, that way you have acknowledged the limitation of it within the paper.
12-Mar-19, 09:52
edited about 21 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Withdraw and reapply somewhere else. The reviewer wants additional material that you can't give, so convincing him otherwise is not worth the time and effort. You could submit the corrections and the reviewer could still reject you on that. I would politely email the editor withdrawing saying that the reviewer was asking for excessive additional data that you don't have and don't think is relevant.

Side note- your supervisors aren't interested/willing to help? Is there names on the paper? Fastest way to get an academic to help is to offer putting their name on a citable paper.
12-Mar-19, 13:06
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for meadyorca
posted about 1 year ago
Thank you all very much for the responses.

Yes one of my supervisors is co-author but very difficult to keep in touch with as he is now retired. However, he actually got back to me in the last couple of days and is going to look through the reviewer comments, so I will hold off on withdrawing anything in case he thinks of something! I couldn't ask my primary supervisor to co-author as he was actually let go by the university... really adding to the difficulty of the situation as he was the most involved of my two supervisors.

Thanks again all


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