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I have had panic attacks recently because I have to submit a paper from my research. Although I am passionate and I find it enjoyable, the head of the group has ridiculed me for having risky research.

Although I have successful results, the problem is that not much work has been done in that area. I also feel day after day that my work may be poor; there is a lot of explanation and unpacking for the results to be interpreted for the reviewers.

I am afraid that the reviewers will say it is poor work. My work is in an interdisciplinary field, and I feel very stupid for selecting not easy and straight forward problems. I feel that writing it up and analyzing it has been very challenging.

Has anyone been in this situation (fear of rejection)? Has anyone worked on something risky in an area that does not have much literature?

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    There isn't a question here. We can't give mental health counseling.
    – Buffy
    Oct 22, 2021 at 19:56
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    Don't worry and go ahead with submitting the manuscript to journal. Address the reviewers' comments. I have also worked on a topic with almost no literature support. Oct 22, 2021 at 19:57
  • 'I feel so much afraid if the reviewers said it is a crap' Adam Ant said it best: 'ridicule is nothing to be scared of' as long as you remember 'don't you ever lower yourself, forgetting all your standards' (and of course, 'respect yourself and all of those around you'). Oct 22, 2021 at 20:20
  • Isn't this a duplicate of your earlier question? academia.stackexchange.com/q/176150/75368
    – Buffy
    Oct 22, 2021 at 20:40
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    Does this answer your question? How do you deal with doubt and fear of submission of your work for review?
    – GoodDeeds
    Oct 22, 2021 at 22:49

1 Answer 1

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Before I did my PhD, I had the impression that getting a paper rejected was something to be ashamed of, like getting a failing grade on an exam. I think this is a common misunderstanding. Rejections are nothing to be afraid of, or ashamed of. If you're going to write papers, you're going to get some rejections. If you never get a paper rejected, you're probably not aiming high enough!

A rejection doesn't necessarily mean your research is bad. Usually it means something far less ominous, such as:

  • you didn't explain your research well enough for the reviewer to understand its importance
  • your paper doesn't fit the scope of the journal/conference
  • you tried to publish in a very competitive journal/conference

If your papers are regularly rejected, that might indicate a problem. Otherwise, it's just part of the process.

If your research is sort of "between the cracks" of two disciplines, you may not be sure where to publish. One option is to send an extended abstract (basically a one-page summary of the paper) to the editor of a journal, explaining that you're not sure if your research fits their scope and if not, could they offer any suggestions they have on where it might be more appropriate to submit it.

Note: I'm only addressing the surface question. Medication, counseling, or some combination thereof might be the best way to control the panic attacks.

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