This week we resubmitted the revised version of what I will call "My Very First Paper" (MVFP). The review reports were pretty positive and although the editors always find a way to phrase their decision so that it lacks anything that could be perceived as enthusiasm, I think it's safe to say that with the minor changes we made, MVFP should find a home (one where the door is always open) any time soon.
As a PhD and postdoc I have always been in charge of my own paper writing. Even as a PhD student my PI would let me oversee the submission process - including cover letter and rebuttal stuff, so I have been through all of this many times before. MVFP won't even be my first senior authorship paper. Still it feels special.
Because this is the very first story/study that came out of my own lab from absolute scratch. Where the idea was completely my own and where the hard work of my PhD student ultimately brought it to the point where we decided that this would be a story rather than a dead end street. Where we muddled through the analyses of data that seemed to be going in all directions (welcome to biology) until somewhere along the writing of the draft manuscript and the re-re-re-reanalysis (and re-re-re-replotting) of the data it all fell into place and the message actually turned out to be solid.
The message is not going to be earth-shattering. The paper is not going to be life-changing. In some big shot labs this would maybe remain on the shelf. But it will be helpful for people in my field though (in terms of our findings), as well as for a larger audience (in terms of our experimental approach). And so I feel proud. Because MVFP is the most solid evidence of my own maturity as a scientist. I know collaborations are important, but I also knew that I could bring stuff to the finish line in such a collaborative setting, with lots of back and forth discussions and brainstorming with others. This time I was the most senior scientist on board and completely responsible for everything from start to finish. And so, for that reason I am excited that we brought this little seedling to life, let it blossom and saw it to a safe harbour (at least, that is what the review reports and the editors comments appear to suggest).