The Journey of a Scientific Paper

Recently I tweeted about my latest manuscript being accepted in The Holocene ( It is a manuscript I am very happy and proud about. I’ve put a lot of effort and care into it. But let me tell you a bit more about its journey.

According to my file archive, I started working on this manuscript on November 2013. Yep, almost six years ago. I submitted it for the first time (to another review than The Holocene) on May 29th, 2015, after we alleviate several concerns my co-authors and I had. We received an answer from the editor on September 21st. Manuscript was rejected. Frankly, I do not agree with one the main reason that got the manuscript rejected. But we knew already that we’d submit this paper again (there is no way we leave our data unpublished), and as a matter of honesty we took time to address the reviewers’ comments. Some of them required to go back at the samples, and to perform more radiocarbon dates, which takes time.

Meanwhile, I got involved in other projects and it was only on March 2018, and after we received all the results we were waiting for, and after we carefully checked all the data, that I worked on this manuscript again. I remember this period exactly. I spent an entire month following the same spartan rhythm: analysing sample in the morning, and working at the manuscript in the afternoon. I cut down many parts and rewrote almost anything else, to keep only what would contribute to a clean, clear and simple story. What my office mates and I call a crystal paper.

My co-authors quickly added their own corrections to the manuscript, and April and May were lost on foolish attempts to submit it in out-of-scope reviews. Finally, on June 25th, 2018, we submitted it to The Holocene, a good journal when it would fit. On February 20th, 2019, we received the decision of the editor. Our manuscript would be accepted for publication after minor revision. This was a great news but it could not have happened at a worse time. My friend and I were about to move to another town, which turned out to be a solid two-months process. In addition, my co-authors and I all got involved in other projects which added to the difficulty to find time to revise our manuscript.

But we did it, and by August 8th (last month), I submitted our revision, which was accepted two weeks later.

At the end of day, it was indeed a very long journey for a paper, but it was worth it! I am very excited and I look forward to receiving the proof of the paper now. And you, reader, remember this message:

Keep calm and don’t give up on your manuscripts.

Posted by Benjamin

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