One of my students just got reviews back for his first paper ever. I think the reviews are great, but he was devastated by them. To survive the review process, you've got to look at reviews through a certain type of lens or filter that allows you to ignore the useless comments from cranky reviewers and extract the essence. In this case, the essence is very positive. One reviewer, an associate editor, and the uber-editor used words like "superb", "will have a major impact", "of broad interest", and "very well-written". The cranky review is short and vague. We will do a serious revision, write a thorough and thoughtful cover letter, resubmit the manuscript, and I have every confidence that the paper will be published.
I think my student's disappointment comes in part from an unrealistic expectation that if you work extremely hard on an interesting paper and have excellent data, well-written text, beautiful figures, and all the rest, that the reviews will all be positive. That does happen occasionally, but when it doesn't.. it's not the end of the world (or your career). I hope his disappointment will be short-lived and supplanted by the thrill of his first paper's being accepted and published in the near future.
8 months ago