It’s a shame that the prevailing emotion upon acceptance of a paper tends to be relief rather than elation.
Nowadays with increased competition, longer review processes, rising standards, and increased data content in papers, getting a paper published is a long and arduous journey. Getting final acceptance for a manuscript can involve many twists and turns (and rejections), an odyssey that usually extends for several months at the very least.
That’s why it’s important, essential even, to celebrate each and every time you have a paper accepted. No matter what the trauma in its gestation or how exhausted you feel at the end of it, you need to savour the moment. Whether it’s a private gathering for the group or something that involves the whole department, bask in the success. Take pride in the culmination of all your hard work.
As our cousins in the world of theatre will attest, there are so many ups and downs in a creative career that’s it’s important to make the most of your time on the summit, because it won’t last. It never does. And the gap between summits is unknowable, and sometimes painfully long. The descent can be rapid and that brief time at the pinnacle all too brief, so unlike Orpheus, don’t be afraid to take a moment to look behind you and reflect on the trek that brought you there.
There are collateral benefits too. Sharing the good news helps boost a sense of inclusivity in the group; it lets people who are struggling with their own projects know that there is a light at the end of even the darkest tunnels. Publications may have a first author, but they should ideally be regarded as achievements by the collective, and the group can get a lift and a sense of increased traction as a result. Similarly, each paper published is a boost to the department’s productivity, so it makes sense for the department to soak up a few rays of your reflected glory.
So if your paper has just come out, reach for the champagne and raise a glass – you deserve it.
Alternatively, if you’re of a bleaker mindset, you could follow a suggestion from Keith Waterhouse’s play “Jeffrey Bernard in Unwell”. There, the characters discuss opening a bar called the “You’ve gone too far bar” for men who’ve been thrown out of the house by their wives, with an “Unhappy Hour” every evening. So why not have a party when your paper gets rejected? You’ll certainly get to drink more, and at that time you may need it more too.