Hypotheses are over-rated. Don’t let them ruin your writing.

It starts, like all great stories do, with Lavender. When I was a PhD student, one of my projects was to study time-series of bacteria-bacteriophage infection networks in the soil. We had a little plot of soil, about 10 cm by 50 cm, in one of the remote university “green” spaces (Montpellier in the summer is the brownish kind of green). On day 1, we got our five soil samples, and started isolating them in the lab. Then after a week, we thought it was time for another sample. Took a fork and some falcon tubes (we were good at improv science), headed down the stairs. No more soil plot. It had been replaced by the loveliest arrangement of rocks, fresh soil, and lavender plants I had ever seen. No more plot, no more sampling, no more project, no more paper.

Continue reading Hypotheses are over-rated. Don’t let them ruin your writing.

Responding to reviewers, part 2

In the last part, I discussed ways to respond to the associate editor, and now it is time to discuss how to actually write the replies to the reviewers. This is a frustrating exercise, but one that can be made constructive if you try to find, in each response, a way to make your article better. Let’s dig in!

Continue reading Responding to reviewers, part 2

Responding to reviewers, part 1

One of the thing that made publishing easier for me was to learn how to reply to reviewer comments adequately. This can easily be overlooked, and yet understanding how it works and how to react makes a significant difference. A good response can make you skip a round of review, or can convince the editor to not reject the paper in the reviewers have strong criticisms. Everything that follows is what worked for me, and it might not work for you, and you may want to approach the problem differently. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Continue reading Responding to reviewers, part 1