Originated from the course final project of "Introduction to network science" by professor Li on 2014 spring, Dongyi Wang and I combined our ideas in creating a new strategy of immunization strategy, and the "In-depth" acquaintance immunization is created.
Based on our previous work, we wrote the program and finished our first draft in less than two weeks without much difficulties. To our great joy, the results are quite satisfactory, a great leap towards the original algorithm, but that is only a small step towards publication.
We first tried to submit the paper in a computer journal, but less than a week, we received our decline letter, suggesting the lack of innovation of ideas. Hoping to find another editor who may value our work, we tried another journal, but soon to be told the material is irreverent to the journal topic. Network algorithm in a network and computer journal, why is there any irrelevance? We were at lost. Later, we found out the deep reason in such a pretext, and did not take any grudge.
We began to ask for help towards Prof. Li, who has much experience in complex network and other related work, hoping he could give us some inspirations. It was already at the end of the summer vacation, meaning we had not abundant of time, as we can imagine the long process of the review. At the same time, Dongyi is leaving for Hong Kong for exchange semester, and when he came back, I will leave for Singapore for my exchange semester, so the communication became difficult in the next school year.
Thankfully, professor Li was much helpful, some of the opinions he suggested really matter to the final acceptance of the paper. With the mathematical proof of the strategy, the effective of our algorithm seems more convincing. A variety of network models are used in simulation instead of one, so the comparisons between strategies have more application areas. As the communication became difficult, we could only use Skype to discuss about recent progress. Usually the voice call was interrupted several times in less than half an hour due to the limitation of connection problems. With nearly a dozen of figures added and nearly a hundred set of simulations are operated, we can clearly feel the improvement in our paper.
In Jan 2015, we took another try. Instead of being rejected in a week, this time we waited for 3 months. When I emailed the editor asking why the paper was still in review after 3 months, he rejected us the next day, with a reason of inappropriateness. We felt heart broke again. We searched in BBS, and found many people took a long time publishing their first SCI, and there is even a survey about the time. We believed, as we were still undergraduate, we belonged to the option of "1 year or more", but as long as we kept trying, the more times we are rejected, the more probability we have in succeed in the next submission.
After carefully selection, which later proved to be VERY important in publication, we submitted our paper to Journal of Theoretical Biology, which is a biology related journal but many network papers are accepted. Waiting for another 3 months for review, we got our reply of major revision, although the comment did not point out much weakness. We knew, this time we were likely to succeed. Another one month passed, and the result was just as expected.
It was a very hard and tortuous experience, for both of us, but we have learned and grown a lot. Just as J.K. Rowling said, "Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case, you fail by default." We have learned to welcome failure, for things that cannot kill us make us stronger. Life is inescapably rife with the highs and lows like riding on a roller coaster, but we have come to know only by incessantly improving ourselves and persistently sticking to our goal can we better adapt to the vicissitudes of fates.
At last, thanks for everyone who have helped us in the paper, and sincerely hope everyone with a determined mind realize their dreams.