I published my first paper during my Ph.D., but the work came from my Honours research. I had already written the research in a thesis format, but was firmly occupied with my Ph.D., so hadn’t yet written the work in a research paper format. Once written as a paper, I submitted to an international ecology journal. Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, including difficulties in finding an appropriate second peer reviewer in the field, it took the journal three months to return with a reject decision on the paper. This was slightly discouraging, as it painted academia and the publication industry in a negative and frustrating light. However, using the comments from this review, I re-wrote parts of the paper to improve them before submitting to another international journal. This journal also rejected the paper within one month, this time without sending it out for peer review. I then submitted to another international journal; the paper was peer reviewed and rejected within five weeks, but I received many useful comments and criticisms. By this stage, I was more satisfied with the timeliness and rigour of the peer review process than at the time of my first submission attempt. The peer reviews instilled confidence my work was of a worthy standard, just not suitable for that particular journal. I also received advice and internal reviews of the paper from current and previous colleagues at various stages of this process. As a result, I grew more confident in the standard of the paper with each new revision. My colleagues and mentors also advised me to build a healthy resilience to journal paper rejection and treat feedback as constructively as possible, as paper rejection is commonplace in academia. Finally, after incorporating many of the comments from various, combined peer reviews, I submitted the paper to an ecology journal called Austral Ecology. It was first rejected with the opportunity to re-submit following major revision. After responding to the helpful peer review comments, I re-submitted to the same journal. After 2–3 rounds of responding to reviewer comments and re-submissions, the paper was finally accepted for publication. From new submission to accepted paper, the process took approximately 5.5 months.
Paper: Malishev, M. & Sanson G. D. (2015) Leaf mechanics and herbivory defence: how tough tissue along the leaf body deters growing insect herbivores. Austral Ecology, 40(3): 300–308. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aec.12214/full
Practical example for Social Sciences
I published my first paper, based on a study I conducted as part of my Ph.D. The collaborative writing process, together with two of my supervisors took a total of around four months, during which time I was also compiling two other publications and writing my Ph.D. thesis. Following initial submission there was a six-month period during which the manuscript was sent for review. Within this time period I submitted, defended, and was granted my Ph.D. I finally received the reviews back, which requested major revisions, including a change to the data analysis methods which I ultimately believe strengthened the final conclusions of the paper. These revisions took around two months to complete and resubmit. Following the second round of reviews, I was required to make a few further minor revisions before the paper was eventually accepted. In total, from the initial submission to acceptance the process took more than 12 months: a timeframe that is considered long for my field and was certainly longer than my subsequent experiences.
Paper: Colman, H., Remington, R., & Kritikos, A. (2017). Grasping remaps the distribution of visuospatial attention and enhances competing action activation. Q J Exp Psychol A, 70(9): 1892-1908.