In the first instance I submitted abstracts for full length papers, which would have required a presentation of 30 minutes for each, followed by a round of questions from the conference delegates. However, the paper based on my PhD thesis was only provisionally accpeted subject to alterations. On top of this, I had to submit an entirely new 1000 word abstract for the paper based on my Masters thesis due to ‘substantial concerns’ raised by a member of the review panel with regards to the methods used.
This was fine – there are obviously quality control measures in place, which reflects well on the standard of the conference. And so, back to the drawing board I went.
With assistance from my supervisor Hazel I spent some time altering the abstracts to meet the new requirements laid out by the reviewers (actually, in both instances I had a happy reviewer and a concerned reviewer – so the specific concerns of those concerned reviewers).
So, having sent away the updated abstracts, I was soon greeted with another reply asking me to resubmit again – this time with short paper entries. Whilst they could see the merits of my work, and the relevance of each paper to the conference themes, they felt as though the studies were at an early stage and so didn’t justify full paper submissions.In reality, these comments were entirely justified, and a fair representation of my situation. My work IS at an early stage. But I have to say, at this point I was wondering if I was now on a long road to an outright rejection.
Nevertheless, I took the new comments on board and re-jigged my abstratcs to meet the requirements of short paper entires (between 3-500 words), and sent them a way in good faith. Mercifully, the short papers were accepted, and I will be presenting at the conference. For those of you who are interested, below are copies of the final short abstracts, which unfortunately aren’t quite as flowing and erudite as the original long ones (cutting down on word length and keeping a coherent and comprehensive narrative is surprisingly difficult):
So overall, it was an interesting process and learning experience. I’ve experienced my first rejection (of sorts) as a PhD researcher, and I’m sure there will be many more to come (apparently it is quite common). Fortunately for me, I am a Scot and therefore naturally quite pessimistic and cynical. Trust me, once you have spent years following the Scottish national football team, disappointment is like water off a ducks back.