The joys of trying to publish a scientific paper…

So, you’ve got some decent results at last and want to let the world know? Then you want to publish a paper.

You write it, submit it to the journal, they send it to 2 or more referees who being conscientious professionals, read it and report back promptly. Corrections are made and the process is repeated until the paper is either accepted or rejected.

Or, you get this:

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Automated status enquiry

Reference number: 1xxxxx Surname: tL

This service enables authors to track the current status and progress of their article. If you have any questions, please contact the Editorial Office at the usual address,

However please note that the Office is not able to give details of referees’ recommendations until a final decision has been taken.

Non-lithographic method to form ordered arrays of silicon pillars and macropores

3 Nov 2004————Referee reminded
26 Oct 2004———–Referee reminded
21 Oct 2004———–Referee report received
7 Oct 2004————-Referee did not report
7 Oct 2004————-Article sent to referee
5 Oct 2004————-Article sent to referee
5 Oct 2004————-Article sent to referee
8 Sep 2004————New submission received and acknowledged.

Where the referees don’t even reply to the journal, and you are left wondering what is going on two months after you submitted.

In December we got a list of corrections to make, nothing major. These were accepted and we finally got confirmation that we would be published earlier this month.

You cannot have too many papers before your PhD viva.

Get some idea of the stuff I do here:
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Some photos.

I work in a surface science lab. My work involves blowing up and etching lots of silicon; the results can look quite good. Some of my favourite images are now here:


I really must get around to tidying up the CSS for this site and ditching the default scheme for something else. I seem to lack inspiration, arsedness and tea at the moment, at least one of those is easy to fix.

Great way to start the new year…

I got up this morning a tad worse for wear from NY celebrations, had a cuppa and decided I’d best get to the shops to get some breakfast, etc. before they closed.

Promising myself a bath when I get back, I venture out. I’ve greasy, ratty hair, I’ve not shaved for a few days and I’m in crumpled clothes from yesterday. The trip to the shop is uneventful, on the way back the carrier bag breaks and I’m left to carry the contents by hand.

I’m dawdling along paying no attention to the world when a cars pulls up and the passenger beckons me over. They are lost, do I know where soandso road is? I pause to think for a sec then start to give directions (basically: go back that way *points* turn left onto main road, take your first right). Now after I’ve explained this several ways, they pull out a map and ask me to show them on that.

I point to where they are, and point to where they want to be – you can almost see the road they want from where they are, it isn’t at all hidden.

Them: ‘Ere sorry we don’t know how to read a map, can you show us again?
Me: Umm, sure. Here you are *points* that’s the main road up there *points to map and road* that’s where you want to be *points to map*
Them: ok, so we are ‘ere *points to wrong page of map* we wanna go there *points fuckknows where* Oh I fourt we was close, that looks miles…
Me: no, look forget the map, turn the car around, go to the end of this road, turn left, then take the next right. that’s the road you want. It’ll take you 60 sec to get there.
Them: ok, so …*repeats what I just said*
Me: Ok. That’s right. Bye.

I start to walk off and they wind up the window, I hear them talking in the car.

” I don’t fink ‘e had a clue. Bloody tramps”

I flash what passes for a smile back at them and they set off, I watch as they reach the end of the road and turn right

What a great start to the year; being called a tramp by someone that doesn’t know their left from their right…
The bath, cuppa and bacon roll made up for it when I got back home though.