After three long years one of my early papers Social identity gratifications of social network sites and impact on collective action participation has been accepted by a journal (Asian Journal of Social Psychology). It was one of the first term papers I did in the first year first semester of my PhD studies and I always thought that it was a ‘good’ paper in the sense that it made some important theoretical contributions and addressed an important topic on social change. Here are some notable experiences in getting this article to publication:
- It had been rejected by five journals previously: Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, Mass Communication & Society, Asian Journal of Communication, and Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking.
- There are multiple versions of the paper due to the need to meet the journal requirements: a 3,000 word version, a 6,000 word version, 8,000 version, and the current accepted 4,000 word version. In fact, the current version looks almost nothing like the very first version!
- In total 12 reviewers looked at my manuscript during its journey. This was one of the most illuminating parts as it really gave a broad overview and insights of the review process. Some reviewer’s comments were critical but helpful, providing theoretical guidance and citations that really pushed the paper in the right direction. Overall, I would honestly say that around 70% of what the reviewers said were constructive. Some reviews gave me the impression that the reviewers did not read the paper! (e.g. the paper had no theory). There were also instances where I really did not understand reviewer’s comments and what they wanted me to do.
Overall, I have lost count the number of hours I have spent on this paper and each successive rejection made it harder to motivate myself to push it towards publication, especially because the quality of some of the reviews were far from desirable. However, I really believed that the manuscript had something important to say. So it is great that my perseverance eventually paid off. So, while the journal review process is not by any means perfect, the current improved manuscript would not have been possible without it.