Those Little Details…

I’m working on a draft of a paper that will report more findings from the dataset that was collected with Ted Cranford in 1999. We took acoustic data on biosonar trials while also collecting pressure data from the bony nares (and sometimes video data via endoscopes). We’ve already got drafts of papers that report on our methods (and differences in “pressurization events” between those that include whistles and those that don’t), click properties and the effect of intranarial pressure (that mostly there isn’t an effect), and bioenergetics of “pressurization events”. There are frustrations with both the drafts that have been done and those that I’m working on.

Because the work was done with the US Navy Marine Mammal Program, drafts have to be cleared through there before being submitted to journals. This adds significantly to the time needed to get the work out. Not that I’ve exactly been a speed demon here, but it’s just another source of delay. One paper that has gotten to a journal has gotten editorial comments to the effect that there is a good paper of about a tenth the size struggling to get out. I don’t know how I’m going to cover the information that I think should be presented together in the twelve pages that I’m being urged to squeeze into.

The new paper I’m currently working on concerns properties of click trains, which are a series of individual clicks. Relevant properties of click trains that have been reported on before include the count of clicks, the click interval (average period between clicks), the difference between the maximum amplitude of a click and the average amplitude in the click train, and “waterfall” plots of spectra of clicks. We also have data on click classifications for which I should work out some manner of presentation. This is proceeding, but slowly. I’m pretty much transferring the results from the statistical package into the manuscript by hand, which takes a while.

I’m sure that many other people publishing work in science have similar frustrations about the time and effort it takes. It’s a bit daunting, actually, when I skim a journal looking for the things that I find interesting, and mostly ignore the rest. Most of those overlooked articles took just as much sweat and effort to put together and pushed through the peer-review process. So for those of you whose articles I do pass over, and who are likely to pass over mine one fine day when they finally hit print, please take this as a note of appreciation for doing your part, even if it is sight unseen to me.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.