By Faruk Abu Chacra

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Sample text

I’m usually defensive at first about comments— but then come back to them and see that the writer probably had a point! (female) I like sometimes to keep my work to myself, especially if I fear the criticism of someone who might exert an authority over my text. In collaboration with a partner I love the exchange of ideas, the struggle for joint meaning, etc. I do like sharing with a careful reader who spots gaps in my text’s argument. (female) I always ask for feedback and I always react positively.

Vent your anger, persevere and find another journal. As Smaby et al. (1999) put it: If an editor has just rejected your manuscript because it was deemed inappropriate for that particular journal you may feel defeated, humiliated and angry and vow never to write again. Give yourself a few days for ‘cooling-off’ and then assess your attitude and feelings about having your manuscript rejected. Smaby et al. suggest that the writer then designs a plan and sets up a programme for the next step. They suggest that you leave the typescript for a few days, then look carefully at the editor’s letter and the referees’ comments again (slowly and coolly).

Learning how to write like that is difficult. That’s a learning process that never ends. We don’t actually spend enough time talking about those things. The ‘academic virtues’: Is this well argued? Is it evidence-based? Is it clear? Is it cogent? All those things are the outcome of study, thought, perseverance, reflection, attention to detail…all that sort of stuff. We need to be more up front about that. I don’t think we’re sufficiently self-critical of each other’s writing. You do get a lot of ‘back-biting’ and bitchiness… but there’s not much honesty and openness going on.

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