From Start to Finish: What Goes Into a Study -- Day 360: Rejections, manuscript drafting

This series of posts is documenting the journey of my first first-author project, from the infancy of the research through publishing. I am highlighting the major checkpoints of the project — when things move forward or backward — rather than a daily update because that would seriously be boring. Just about all the content discussed will be directly related to the project I’m working on.

If you haven’t read the previous posts, check these out!
Day 1
Day 2 – 7
Day 27
Day 82
Day 145
Day 193
Day 197
Day 203
Day 216
Day 224
Day 233
Day 235
Day 299

Check out the next day… 436!

Day 360: Internal grant rejection

I've documented my NSF GRFP submission (and subsequent rejection) here before and it won't be too long before I resubmit, but rather than discuss similar topics I would recommend you read some of the stuff I've covered about the NSF GRFP submission experience on this site.

This internal grant through the graduate school was not too different from the NSF GRFP submission process, and in ways it was to work to our advantage. The structure was two pages explaining how the research initiative would expand faculty research areas and interests. I work closely with another PI on campus here, Ron Gillam, who is the director of the fNIRS lab on campus. Our grant was to combine parts of my NSF GRFP proposal with parts of his NIH R21 proposal I helped on. We figured we had a lot going on for us on this grant on top of the proposed research since it includes fancy new neuroimaging equipment, a newly tenured PI (my advisor, Kerry Jordan), an endowed chair (Ron Gillam), interdepartmental research, and interdisciplinary research.

One thing I found out about this internal grant (I'm not sure if it's the same for others on this campus, or if this is generalized for internal mechanisms across all campuses): there is no feedback. Our rejection was basically a consolation form letter saying we were highly competitive and should apply next cycle. The turnaround on this particular grant was <1 month, so that does factor into why there is no feedback. I personally have never been on a review section so I don't really know how fast feedback is typed up, but I could imagine the two or three sentences of feedback I got from my three NSF GRFP reviewers didn't take long to write up. After reading my proposal... maybe minutes?

So far, my grants based off of the preliminary data of this study have been 0-for-2.

Manuscript drafting

The RAs who have made it past data collection and analysis are determined to finish out this project with me -- which I am way stoked on. During this summer, we have begun working on the manuscript. I don't have targeted journals (or targeted formats) for this manuscript yet, so I'm trying to write and edit as succinctly as possible just in case we go towards a brief report format. Also, with two undergraduate RAs helping with writing and editing, I think it would be best to throw everything we got at the wall first, then cut/trim from there.

Our tentative schedule is:
Write up methods
Write up introduction
Write up stats (assuming data is completed and analyzed within the next two months)
Write up discussion

My planned submission time for this manuscript is definitely this fall -- preferably submitted by October or November. I would love to have something published by the year's end, but I think that might be cutting it a bit close. Especially with null behavioral findings. I don't think I'll be asked to increase my participant size since we're recording twenty pairs (40 participants), but I suppose there's a lot of things I've heard reviewers ask for.

I think I'll start targeting journals probably after data analysis. Data needs to walk before it can jump into a journal. So hopefully in August/September.

That's it for now. I don't see myself posting in 5 days, so happy birthday to this study! It's been one hell of a year. Can't wait to publish you.

Until next time, y'all.

Check out the next day... Day 436!

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