Scary e-mail from journal

After our article about measuring interest in Frontiers in Education was published last month, Tove and I noticed that the title was wrong. The world Development in the middle of the title shouldn’t have been there! Our clever acronym TRIQ would have become TRIDQ!

We thought that it would be simple to get the journal (which is electronic, not printed) to delete that one word, but the process was actually complicated, and quite frankly, a little scary!

They wanted us to submit a formal “corrigendum” to correct the error, but then it would have included a statement saying that the authors apologize for their error. However, since the error was actually the fault of the journal, we didn’t think that was accurate.

After some frustration with the corrigendum procedure, Tove finally got in touch directly with the editor, who helped us. Despite the editor’s assurance that the title would be corrected, we still got this automatically-formulated e-mail response, which we found disturbing and scary:

Unfortunately, I have to inform you that your manuscript "Corrigendum: "Here’s the TRIQ: The Tromsø Interest Development Questionnaire based on the Four-Phase Model of Interest Development"" cannot be accepted for publication in Frontiers in Education, section Educational Psychology. The reason for this decision is: This manuscript has been withdrawn on behalf of the authors and is no longer under consideration for publication in this journal. This corrigendum is no longer necessary. Our production office will update the article to ensure the correct title is included.”

Before I got to the last sentence my heart was racing. Were they going to retract our article because of this tiny error?! Luckily this wasn’t the case, of course, but what a scare!

Tove let the editor know that the automatic response was a bit disconcerting, so future authors don’t have the same unpleasant experience.

By the way, the title is now corrected and the article has had nearly 2000 views . 🙂

Ah, the joys of doing research…

On that note, I wish my loyal readers a wonderful holiday, free from COVID and corrigendums!

Third article published today!

When it rains, it pours!

(I know that the photo doesn’t match the text, but I couldn’t resist, since this was last night’s display of northern lights!)

After working hard on my PhD for a little over 3 years, the three articles that I’ve written so far (together with co-authors) were all published within the last 6 months! The latest was published today – here’s the reference:

Nierenberg, E., & Dahl, T. I. (2021). Is information literacy ability, and metacognition of that ability, related to interest, gender or education level? A cross-sectional study of higher education students. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 1-13.

If you’d like to read it, just click on the link in the reference.

Thank you, Tove (on left), for your co-authorship!

This article was not originally planned as part of my PhD, but seemed to be an easy one to write at a certain point, given the data that we had collected. Well, it turned out to not be as easy as expected!

The first version was sent to a journal in January 2020, just after the storming of the US Capitol, when the abundance of misinformation regarding the presidential election in November 2021 was having catastrophic consequences. (This, by the way, underlines the importance of being information literate – knowing how to critically evaluate your sources of information, including certain presidents!) Anyway, the journal rejected the article on the grounds that it was not appropriate for its audience.

We then made some minor changes and sent it off to another international peer-reviewed journal for consideration. After several months, the article was also rejected by this journal.  You can probably imagine how discouraging such rejections feel. 🙁 The reviewers, however, wrote 7 pages (yes, 7!) of comments and suggestions for how to improve and focus the article. So every cloud has a silver lining!

While reading their remarks I contemplated scrapping the article, since extensive changes would be necessary and it felt hopeless to continue. But since I’d already put so much effort into it – and thanks to Tove’s more-or-less constant encouragement – I decided to revise it.

After making revisions – which basically meant rewriting most of the introduction, and other sections as well – we submitted it to a third journal, the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. This time, the article was accepted for publication, with only minor revisions. So after only a few rounds of further editing, the article was finally published today. 🙂

Jeez, what a lengthy and demanding process! But I’m glad now, since the hard work finally paid off. And since the article improved with each revision, the end result is quite good, I believe!

Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel like the goal of working in academia is solely to get published – “publish or perish” as they say. This is a shame, since the goal really should be to learn, make discoveries, share results, and make a contribution to the field.

Here are some things that I learned when doing the research and writing this article:

  • students who did poorly on an information literacy test, estimated higher scores than they actually received
  • students who did well on the IL test, estimated lower scores than they actually received
  • men tended to estimate higher, and more accurate scores, than women
  • students’ interest in becoming information literate was correlated to their likelihood to invest effort into learning more IL skills

The first 2 points above are evidence of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a well-known psychological phenomenon which can be explained by the fact that people who don’t know much, don’t really know what they don’t know. (If that didn’t make sense, read it out loud a few times. 😉 ) But the more people know about something, the more they admit that they don’t know everything, and believe that others might know more than them.

If you’re interested in more of the findings, just read the article! 🙂