As I covered in another post, writing your paper begins when you start working on a topic. At some point, you’ll want to submit it. When approaching the last steps towards that point, it is effective to apply the following timeline.
- The first thing to do is to set a deadline together with your supervisor, even if there isn’t a hard deadline for the submission of your paper. This will set a goal and helps you organise everything else.
- Between two and three weeks before the deadline, you should let someone else read your document. Since you have a high respect for your colleagues, you will first make sure there aren’t any typos or grammar issues.
- As you started writing your paper for a while, you have already got plenty of feedback on various aspects of your paper (see here when you should receive feedback) but to get a proper review everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) should be included in your manuscript and delivered to your supervisor for a comprehensive review 2 weeks before the deadline. I insist on that for two reasons: (1) Getting part of the information gives a weird feeling to your supervisor and he/she might only begin reading once you have delivered the final version; (2) You really want your supervisor to play the reviewer with the complete paper as you might not have another chance of review once you have the final version of your manuscript. It would be better to negotiate a delay to give the manuscript to your supervisor than sending a version half done.
- When you give it to your supervisor, you should ask (or suggest) a deadline to receive the review. Since you’ve set the submission deadline with your supervisor (see point 1), he/she should know that 2 weeks before it, there will be some work to do and should be available. A good order of magnitude is one week, which gives you some time left to correct things according to the comments. Moreover, you should ask her/him to indicate whether a comment is optional or not (supervisors will tend to think everything is not optional 😉 ).
- You have now received the comments. As you are using LaTeX (see details here), you’ll receive your comments in a PDF (gently ask for it in 4.). Always use Adobe Reader to make sure you see all comments (some PDF readers will not show corrections).
- There will be many things you can easily change (remaining typos or sentence rewriting). Then there will be bigger things. For those, you have two categories: (1) you know how to fix the problem but it requires the change of a paragraph or a figure; (2) you are not very sure of how to address the problem. For both of the categories, I advice you to collect all these comments in a text file (similar to rebuttal), and briefly explain what you did to address this together with where you changed it in your manuscript. This should be done even if you are not very sure of what to do. In case of hesitation, request a quick meeting with your supervisor to only address this point.
- Submit your “rebuttal” to your supervisor 2-3 days before submission together with the final version of the manuscript. If possible, highlight the change you did in the manuscript. Thanks to the small text file with where you made change, your supervisor can quickly check that his/her ideas have been correctly implemented.
- Submit and go celebrate.
Once your paper is published, the long lasting wait begins but you should actually monitor this (see here).