Peering behind the curtains to see how scientific publishing works in practice at the highest level is ever fascinating for scientists, and I believe it to be illuminating for others as well.
So on a similar vein to Terry Rudolph’s excellent blog post describing his experiences with Nature that I mentioned on the blog last year, there’s a new post on Heather Piwowar’s blog describing her experience with writing a comment for Nature (behind a paywall, alas; see the link below for a draft version):
So I pulled together a first draft, which I’ve posted here. That’s when it got intense. I’ve never had anything so heavily edited. In addition to emailing drafts back and forth, we had two (or three? I forget) quick phone calls where the editor asked me clarification questions, then she’d send me another draft. It took five revisions till it was time for her to pass it to her boss and the subeditors.
I’m a bit surprised that even a comment piece was this heavily edited – but then again, even the comments at Nature are consistently excellent.
Heather’s blog post also contained a link to a wealth of “stories behind papers” at Jonathan Eisen’s blog. And if you didn’t read this one yet, do check out the story of my article that was published in ACS Nano, and the neat article writing time-lapse video I linked to earlier.