Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't drunk dial the program chair

Part of being able to weather the storms of science is to recognize that generally the peer-review process is a meritocracy, but -
- The world is an unfair place
- Bad things happen to good people and vice-versa
Photo by jaycoxfilm

Sometimes you will have reviewers who miss the point. Sometimes people in positions of power over some aspect of your career (PCs, editors, funding bodies) will make large-scale decisions for their organization which leave you holding the short end of the stick. Sometimes people won't hire you.

In the end, it's entirely up to you to decide how to move forward. Lick your wounds before trying again, vent to friends, go for a jog. Whatever your coping strategy, though, sending an angry, reactionary, uninvited email to the committee is unlikely to help your case, and in general just reflects poorly on you.

That isn't to say one shouldn't make a fuss when warranted. For clear cut cases of racism, sexism, cronyism,  etc., such a response may be perfectly appropriate. But in general, if it's just a rejected paper, in the long run it's probably best to just move on and try again somewhere else.

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