When you write a journal article you are trying to do a number of things. You are;
- Disseminating the information you have gathered
- Keeping the literature up to date
- Telling your story and defending your position
- Putting your head above the parapet
Having written your article and had it accepted you feel very pleased with yourself. Even though you have written it for all the above reasons you never really think that anybody is going to read it and take you seriously. But then two things happen:
- Someone emails you and asks you for a copy of your article
- You get an email from the journal saying that someone has written to them about your article and asking if you would like to respond
The first feels like flattery, and sometimes leads to conversations and the development of new projects. The second feels like an attack. As such I find it best to read the letter and then sleep on it. Any response that you write needs to be as carefully written as the original article. As with most academic writing it should be reporting of the facts, a justification of the methodology, and a defense of your interpretation of the findings.
Having written your response and sent it back to the journal you still have to wait to see if the editor will accept it for publication and then go through the whole proof reading process.
This is our (jbsh) current position following the publication of: The Ameliorating Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO2) on Quality Of Life in Patients with Maxillofacial Soft Tissue- and Osteo-Radionecrosis.
What happens next? We wait to see if further letters follow, or if future publications support or refute our position. Academia is not a quiet pond of thought and introspection, it is a tempest of investigation driven by desire.