(with apologies to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross)
1. Denial. This is going to be the best paper we’ve ever written! It’ll be paradigm-changing and highly cited! The data is so awesome it’s going to be a breeze to write! We totally have enough time to whip this into shape and send it out.
2. Anger. What do you mean, we made a mistake in the experiments and now the data is not as conclusive? There’s no way we can spin this positively! This intro reads like it was written by drunken monkeys! We’re how many pages over the limit? And why is it that I just removed 2 whole paragraphs of text in LaTeX, but our page count just went up? Gah!
3. Bargaining. Ok, if we combine Figures 2 and 3 into one figure, we can gain back 2 lines of text. And if we cite Author X that’s kind of like citing Authors Y and Z, so we don’t actually have to include all three citations, so that gains us 6 lines of text. Which means now we’re…still 1 page over the limit. Let’s try cutting one sentence from each paragraph…Do we really need a conclusion? I mean, no one ever reads them anyway…
4. Depression. There is no. way. we’re going to make this page limit. We’ve already cut this paper to the bone and we’re still half a page over the limit. If we triage any more of this paper, we’re going to lose some content and context, and then the reviewers will ding us for not including the context and content. And this intro still reads like it was written by drunken monkeys. We are the worst researchers ever.
5. Acceptance. Wait, did we just make the page limit? Submit it now! No no no, whatever you do DON’T re-read it. I don’t care if it makes sense or not anymore, page limit met = done.