Time-Wasting Tips for the Overworked Grad Students: Reprobatio Certa

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Got a long incubation time to kill? Waiting for your cells to spin? Bored in-between classes? In class? This week’s time waster will have you laughing — instead of crying — at manuscript rejection letters.

For all my scientist friends out there, how many times have you hastily opened an email from a journal editor, expecting Christmas in July and a veritable chorus of compliments on your unexpected scientific breakthroughs, only to receive an equally hasty, rage-inducing, poorly written, poorly researched diatribe on how your years’ worth of slaving in a dark mouse-infested laboratory doesn't meet the criteria necessary for publication in our journal"?

Obviously, this has never happened to me, but the answer is always “too many times,” no matter who you talk to. Usually, the way to counteract journal-rejection rage is to read your rejection letter 5,000 times until the words jumble up enough to start making some sort of sick, twisted sense.

But no more; a new method is available! Reprobatio Certa, the blog of the Journal of Universal Rejection, catalogues recent manuscript rejections written by the nonexistent Journal’s crotchety editorial staff.

The manuscripts — and rejection letters — may not be real, but the soul-crushing nature of the responses are hilariously (and uncomfortably) plausible. If there’s one thing that might make you feel better about that recent rejection, it’s watching someone else suffer your pain. It doesn’t hurt that it’s funny, too. Go to reprobatiocerta.blogspot.com to check it out.

Check back for another grad-student-approved distraction — suggestions are welcome!