You are waiting for your decision of your article to come in. You see yourself checking your article status on manuscript online, two days a week, then three days, then every day. Finally, it says "Evaluating Reviews", just days until you will receive the answer from the editor. What will it be? Accept? Revise (again for the third time)? Or a reject? You read again your 100 page letter where you explained your changes to each of the three reviewers, you find several spelling mistakes, you also think the more often you read your argumentation the weaker it becomes. There is no way, I wrote this simple naive response answering this difficult question of reviewer 1.
After reading your letter again, now you are certain that you will not receive an accept. No way! So, you are starting to prepare yourself for the expected outcome: a reject. You imagine yourself talking to your supervisor, explaining him what went wrong, that it was bad luck, maybe some more drastic changes were needed that the data couldn't provide. Maybe it would have been necessary to gather more data that you havn't been able to do timewise.
For Non-academic readers, one review process with several revisions of an article can take between 1 and 3 years. Having to do this multiple times with one article can be something very painful. The content you have produced years ago is becoming old and a burden instead of something that one can be proud of. The article is developing its own life.
And then, one day, as if you hadn't expected it anymore, the email of the action editor pops up in your outlook, your heartbeat goes up, you rally through the formalities to grasp these very very important words. You check for "reject". No reject there. You check for "revise". No revise there. Then you slow down and start reading it. It says: "Congratulations. We accept your fine research..." You twinkle with your eyes, jump from your chair, run out of the office, run back to your desk, read the mail again, "...accept your fine...", run again out of your office and to your next colleague, tell him that you got your final paper accepted. He asks you: Are you sure? Did you read it correctly? You go back to your desk, read the mail again and again and become aware that it is no illusion nor trick that your mind is playing you. You call your supervisor. He says: well done. You talk to your wife and family and they are happy with you. Finally you calm down and start to think again. Didn't I exaggerate? It's not the best journal, just a good journal. Hopefully nobody saw me jumping up and down from my desk. Better I don't tell everyone, because I don't want to sound egoistic. On top, think about all the trial and error before. My professor probably already expected me to publish this one. It's just the minimum I could do. And think of all the unpublished papers i produced along the way. What a waste...
Stop right here!
Now, this is something that lies at the bottom of my heart. Working in a low-paced environment such as academics with long feedback cycles, success comes only now and then and takes a lot of time. In case you have success, it should be acknowledged as something tremendously unique. Of course, you had 'bad luck' or you made a bad decisions along the road to success and without it, things would have worked out quicker. Of course, if you only knew what you know now, you would have made certain things different.
Stop it, please!
This thinking is in every aspect wrong. There would have been no success without you taking this road. Failures on the way should be acknowledged as part of the success. It has been definitely no lucky punch that you have come so far. It has been hard work, many trial and errors and hard thinking that improved your research to become excellent. Learning from failures is a necessary part of the success story. It's part of the success and you should enjoy it! If you are working in academics or in the industry and you suffer long periods of waiting and uncertainty before getting there where you want. Hang in there! Success will come....
Now if success knocks at the door, please I beg you celebrate it! Go out, get drunk, invite your colleagues, get a baby sitter and take out your wife for dinner. Buy yourself something you really want. I mean something you really want. The moment you get the acceptance, stop working, go home and pass the rest of your day with your family or friends. Enjoy your success. Not everybody will understand why you are so happy or what's the big deal. But why should you care. Spread your good mood. Celebrate yourself! If you work hard, you should also be able to celebrate your success now and then. Celebrating success is possibly the only thing that I miss from business consulting when we celebrated every successful pitch, every project start and closure. Celebrating is important. It frees up your mind and gives you energy. If possible invite your co-authors and celebrate with them. It's a great collective endeavour where everyone helped reaching the goal.
Maybe your trial and error has been painful, maybe you are not happy with some necessary changes to get the paper published, but you did it, the paper is out, you saved your spot. Go and celebrate it! So, I am curious. How do you celebrate your acceptance? Use the hashtag #publishandparty to share your party plan.