MRF: accepted on 1/09/2018

This one is a grueling process: it takes me four rounds of fight to get it through. I have written more for response letters than the paper itself. The three referees and the AE were determined to kill the paper. In all three rounds it was the DE alone who keeps the paper alive.

It makes you cynical: the quality of your work is only a necessary condition. To publish, you need a bit of luck.


Dear authors (blinded for anonymity):

I am pleased to accept your paper for publication in MS. Congratulations!

The AE and both reviewers recommend acceptance. I also read the current version and I am happy with the contribution and the 15 page limit.




Yesterday we got R&R on BAR paper, a good news. But BE is unlikely to work on it. To motivate him,  I must draw the line, committing not to work it. Otherwise, BE will never work on it. Hopefully, the fear of letting me down can motivate him. If not, I will cut BAR as a sunk cost.

Either way,  I won’t waste time on BAR any more.


Dear B,

This email is between you and me.

My gut feeling is that we hit the same guy as AE. The reports are written in the same style.

I believe DE liked the idea. Also, he has good impression of us, from our efforts in the last two rounds of the Markov chain paper.  But he cannot go against all the naysayers. So we must do more to prove our worth.

At this point, you and me have two papers at MS; they are promising but time consuming. The choice is clear: if you want it, you must put in effort, do what it takes, and go beyond what’s required.

I have time for only one such commitment. I will focus on the revision of the last paper (Markov chain). I will NOT spend time on this one: I believe in you and PA.

You have my word—I will deliver my revision in two months. And I expect the same commitment from your side.



2011-10-08 049


We got the verdict from MS: risky major revision.

In a profession where rejection is norm, this counts as a good news, at least we survive to fight another day.

This is the revision of a rejected paper. In the revision we have addressed every concern raised in the last round. Indeed, I wrote the longest response letter—longer than the revised paper itself—in my career. My attitude is clear: for every issue they raise, we know much better and deeper—they are woefully outgunned, in every dimension.

The revision would have been accepted if we were insiders of the clique. Indeed, we swing referee 1 from ‘major revision’ to ‘minor revision’, and referee 2 from ‘rejection’ to ‘major revision’. They change because they don’t know our identity, so they must judge the paper based on the merit itself.
But the AE (associate editor) knew we are outsiders and determined to kill the paper. If it were up to him, we would have been eliminated in the first round. Fortunately, the DE (department editor), his superior, is a smart and fair guy. Twice, he gives us a fighting change.

Here is the situation: R1 minor revision, R2 major revision, AE rejection, and DE major revision. So if we can persuade R2 to minor revision, AE will have to give in. After all, he does not want to be the bad ass to go against all his peers.

For this month, I will finish TYM and INV first. Then take the MRF revision seriously.

It must come out.


[CA, 7/27/2009]

Day 109, 10pts, 1.04:

jog: 0;
learn: Luenberger, 5.7, 5.8;
swim: 30r;
learn luenberger, Pelica, 10-12:30pm;
enroll healthcare online, follow up on 1.06;
clean up storage;
email SQW for the ads;
chat with T, interview in Michigan;
MRF: major revision from MS;

For Day 110,
submit JDW’s letter online, 20min;
home decoration: search furniture online, 2hs;

[happy moment]
The major revision of MRF at MS is a good news to celebrate Smile

2011-10-06 071 - Copy - Copy - Copy

[San Francisco, CA, 10/06/2011]