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Reviewer Instructions BORDERLINE-PAPER

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PhilCorlett1’s profile

Phil Corlett

Phil Corlett

Phil Corlett



Phil Corlett


New Haven, CT, USA

Joined February 2012


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    Phil Corlett 

    May 29

    Paper on predictive learning rates in borderline personality disorder with @sarahfineberg and @LHuntNeuro accepted today in Biological Psychiatry. Pre-print here:  we suggest that BPD May involve weaker appreciation of contingencies in the long term

    9:31 am – 29 May 2018

    • Business Intel PLOW


      Dr Pam Birtill

      Raphael Bene

      Simón Guendelman

      Daniel Barron

      Osmosie Science Bot


      Joost Haarsma

    3 replies .



      1. New conversation

      2. MatthewBroome 

        May 29

        Replying to @PhilCorlett1 @RachelUTG and

        fabulous work!

        1 reply .


      3. Phil Corlett 

        May 29

        Replying to @matthewrbroome @RachelUTG and

        Thanks Matthew!


      4. End of conversation

      1. New conversation

      2. vincent valton 

        May 30

        Replying to @PhilCorlett1 @sarahfineberg @LHuntNeuro

        Awesome paper 😊 Congrats @sarahfineberg @LHuntNeuro @PhilCorlett1

        1 reply .

        1 like

      3. Phil Corlett 

        May 30

        Replying to @vincentvalton @sarahfineberg @LHuntNeuro

        Thanks Vincent!

        1 like

      4. End of conversation

      1. Daniel Barron 

        May 30

        Replying to @PhilCorlett1 @sarahfineberg @LHuntNeuro

        Very cool! Congrats!


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        When your paper makes a borderline case for a top journal

        up vote
        down vote



        Say you write a paper that you feel makes a borderline case for publication in a prestigious journal (Annals, Acta, Inventiones, JAMS, etc). What are the advantages and disadvantages of submitting the paper to the prestigious journal over a less prestigious journal where your paper is very likely to be accepted? My novice take is that there is little downside since if the paper is rejected you can always then submit it to a less prestigious journal. Are there factors I’m not considering? Of course, in most cases, the paper is Arxiv’ed early on so one’s claim to the result is never hurt by a lengthy publication process.

        I’d be interested to also hear about the implications on job applications. How much does it hurt a job applicant to have a very good result Arxiv’ed and submitted versus accepted? (Presumably if the validity of the result was a make or break factor for a job the hiring group could take a look at the preprint or talk to an expert in the field. Maybe that is an unrealistic expectation).

        journals career

        share | cite | improve this question

        asked Mar 22 ’10 at 21:00

        community wiki


        • If your paper is borderline, likely it will take a long time to be refereed. If your paper is well below the standards of the journal, you’ll get a quick rejection. So if you’re interested in quick acceptance and if you don’t think it clearly qualifies for the journal, it’s better to submit to a journal with a quick turn-around time.
          –  Ryan Budney
          Mar 22 ’10 at 21:09

        • 8

          How do you know your paper is borderline for publication in a top journal? Did you consult someone more expert and experienced about this? I would advise you not to decide on the basis of your own judgement. Show your paper to someone you trust and ask for his or her advice on what to do.
          –  Deane Yang
          Mar 23 ’10 at 6:01

        add a comment  | 

        7 Answers




        up vote
        down vote

        I somewhat disagree with some of the earlier answers on the “jobs applications impact”. First, I think it makes absolutely no difference whether you have “submitted to Annals” or “preprint” on your CV. Everyone knows the acceptance chances and will ignore this line. Second, it is really important that all your papers are available on the arXiv or your personal web page. Often, the hiring committee can’t judge the applicant’s work, and will ask a local expert at the department to take a look at the papers and give an impartial opinion. If the papers are not available, the committee is forced to trust the applicant on their existence, a bad situation all around. Finally, except for the really top journals, having a paper published vs. having it still in a preprint form is of minor difference – if the local experts and/or reference letters are all saying that these recent papers are really good, that’s sufficient. From that point of view, you should basically ignore the job application considerations, and always do what’s best for the paper.

        P.S. If I may make a suggestion, I think it’s much more important to choose the right people to write reference letters than worrying about minor points in your CV. Especially now, in the mathjobs era of mass applications, it is the letters that really help people stand out from the crowd. So my advice would be to start thinking well in advance who can you ask for the letters, and learn how to better communicate your results (to them and everyone else).

        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Mar 23 ’10 at 3:44

        community wiki

        Igor Pak

        add a comment  | 

        up vote
        down vote

        This requires a conditional response. First, who is submitting?

        • Tenured professor: Not much repurcussion either way.
          Worth the wait if you think it deserves publication.

        • Graduate student: Some downside to waiting a long time
          and not having the thing published come application time, but this can happen
          at a lesser journal, too (for grads, the paper is often
          submitted only shortly before they are graduating).
          And postdoc hiring is not
          as publications-based as tenure-track hiring. Letters
          of recommendation mean more.

        • Postdoc. Here, submitting with a high probability of
          a rejection after a long wait can be a major gambit.
          Mitigating factor: does the postdoc have other worthy
          publications? If this will be the flagship result,
          it’s hard not to think that a slightly lesser journal
          would have a higher expected yield (in terms of jobs).
          Note that it is true that some journals may reject
          your paper quickly — then you can turn around and
          submit somewhere else — but those papers are not really
          the marginally-great ones being asked about.

        In the end, you are left with a hard decision.
        I don’t think there’s a formula which can help.
        In this case, you either go for broke or you don’t.

        • Collaboration: decide based on the member with the
          most to lose.
        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Dec 24 ’10 at 22:04

        community wiki

        Eric Zaslow

        • 2

          +1 for thoroughness; +100 (morally speaking) for the last bullet point.
          –  Yemon Choi
          Dec 24 ’10 at 23:16

        add a comment  | 

        up vote
        down vote

        There is one disadvantage I know of, but it’s a biggy: waiting. It can take as long as a year for a journal to turn around a paper, and if you do this several times, it can be very aggravating. I recently had a paper accepted on its third go-round, and while it still got in a pretty good journal, the whole process took about 2 years. In particular, I went on the job market with this paper as a pre-print rather than an accepted paper as a consequence. I doubt this fact was consequential, but obviously it would have been better to have had it accepted.

        That said, I always aim high (within reason), and generally think it’s the right policy. There’s so much uncertainty about what belongs in what journal that one might as well give it a shot.

        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Mar 22 ’10 at 22:08

        community wiki

        Ben Webster

        • 1

          I’m currently waiting. Another difficulty that arises is in what to do with follow-up work, which is nigh inevitable when the referee process takes more than a year. I’m now submitting work that relies in an essential way on still-unpublished work. How on earth anybody can referee that is a mystery to me.
          –  Kevin O’Bryant
          Mar 23 ’10 at 12:57

        • @Kevin: As other posters have already pointed out, that’s where posting your preprint on the arXiv comes in handy.
          –  mathphysicist
          Mar 23 ’10 at 16:16

        • Send it to same referee you’re waiting on for the first paper!
          –  Ben Webster
          Mar 23 ’10 at 20:32

        • 2

          Kevin, if your paper A depends in an essential way on your unpublished paper B, then you send a copy of B to the journal to which you submit A, with an explanation of what you’re doing. It gives the referee of A a fighting chance.
          –  Gerry Myerson
          Mar 23 ’10 at 22:17

        • It depends on the editorial process. E.g. JAMS has a fairly fast screening process, i.e. they ask referees for a quick opinion on "Is this article worth publishing in JAMS (assuming it is correct)?" If the result is "no", you have only lost a couple of weeks. If the result of this survey is "yes", then it does have a fair shot to get published (although the referee may still decide that on closer inspection, the paper isn’t quite as good as on first impression).
          –  Arend Bayer
          Sep 6 ’10 at 14:22

        add a comment  | 

        up vote
        down vote

        We shouldn’t forget the most obvious and glib answer: If your paper makes a borderline case for a top journal, send it to a journal that itself makes a borderline case for being a top journal. There is no dichotomy between “top journal” and “other journal”.

        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Dec 24 ’10 at 20:40

        community wiki

        Andrew D. King

        add a comment  | 

        up vote
        down vote

        I think this is a really tough question, and I’ve never been on a hiring committee, but I’ll try answering it anyway.

        If your paper deserves to be published in a top journal (the Annals, let’s say), then there should be an expert in your field who holds that opinion. If fact, if your paper actually gets accepted by the Annals, the referee will be such a person. If some such person has suggested the Annals as a place to submit your paper, then you could ask that person for a letter of recommendation expressing their opinion of your paper, and then submit it. I think it’s much more likely that a hiring committee will carefully read a letter from an expert than that they will look carefully at the details of your paper. Seeing “submitted to Annals” on a CV at least shows you think you’ve got a great result, but that probably needs to be backed up by either an acceptance or a second opinion.

        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Mar 22 ’10 at 22:12

        community wiki

        Dan Ramras

        add a comment  | 

        up vote
        down vote

        If you’ve written an excellent paper, that’s still no guarantee that it’ll get into the prestigious general journals (such as those listed in your question). For example, the editors or referees might declare your topic to not be of general interest. If this turns out to be the case, you should consider publishing in a prestigious specific journal (not necessarily a less prestigious journal).

        The worst possibility is the long rejection — that is, having a paper refereed for a year or so, only to be rejected. This seems to happen a lot with the general journals as the referees are trying to maintain a high standard (and the editors can’t always tell if a paper is worthy or not). The refereeing process is confidential, so the only downside is time wasted, and you might get some excellent feedback too.

        For job applications, it’s much easier for a potential employee to gauge the merit of a general journal (LMS, AMS, etc.) then a specific journal. They can be 100% a result published in these general journals is decent, regardless of which field they are in. Whereas, it can be difficult to explain the importance of a specific journal.

        I heard from one university that they had 600+ applications for one position. If the hiring committee looked at one application per minute, they would still take 10 hours. They won’t have time to look at arXiv, chat to colleagues, etc. for the vast majority of applicants. Moreover, even if the paper is on the arXiv, unless the committee are experts in your field also, they won’t know whether or not your paper is decent. You can explain the merits of your work in-person at a job interview.

        Having a paper on the arXiv (vs. not having it on the arXiv) counts for nothing in job applications. Generally, you want not-yet-accepted papers listed as either “in preparation” or “submitted”.

        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Mar 22 ’10 at 22:08

        community wiki

        Douglas S. Stones

        • 11

          On our search committees, having a paper on the arXiv is definitely better than "in preparation". It means that the author is eager to disseminate his/her work, and that is a big deal for a small department. Basically, "in preparation" papers are ignored, "submitted" are noticed, "on arXiv" is noteworthy, and "to appear" and "on arXiv" counts as a publication.
          –  Kevin O’Bryant
          Mar 23 ’10 at 12:54

        • @Kevin Are "in preparation" papers completely ignored even if they prove significant results with well-known and -respected coauthors?
          –  Andrew D. King
          Oct 10 ’10 at 22:55

        • 4

          @Andrew D. King : Yes, they usually are ignored. However, your letter writers are free to comment on things you haven’t written up. But the best advice if you are on the job market is to get your papers written!
          –  Andy Putman
          Dec 24 ’10 at 21:45

        add a comment  | 

        up vote
        down vote

        As suggested in passing in Douglas Stones’ answer, one advantage of submitting to a better journal is you’re likely to learn more mathematics from the referee reports, accepting or no.

        share | cite | improve this answer

        answered Mar 23 ’10 at 4:37

        community wiki

        Gerry Myerson

        • 4

          That’s possible. But it’s also possible that a journal that considers your paper simply not of sufficient quality will turn it down with little or no specific comments.
          –  Pete L. Clark
          Mar 23 ’10 at 4:58

        • 10

          I got a lovely rejection letter from the annals once. 4 pages of useful comments. I mean, as lovely a rejection letter as you could hope for, I suppose. 🙂
          –  Ryan Budney
          Mar 23 ’10 at 5:40

        • Pete, you’re absolutely right – I was taking it for granted that the author was correct in the assessment that the paper was "a borderline case for a top journal."
          –  Gerry Myerson
          Mar 23 ’10 at 6:14

        add a comment  | 

        Not the answer you’re looking for? Browse other questions tagged journals career or ask your own question .


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        THE BLOG

        <i>Remnants of a Life on Paper: A Mother and Daughter's Struggle With Borderline Personality Disorder</i>

        I knew the outcome of the Remnants of a Life on Paper, having heard it from the mother, Bea Tusiani, whom I met recently for the first time at a psychiatric meeting in NYC. Yet this book was still a page turner of a memoir — written, compiled and told with utter candor and generosity by a mother who lost her 23-year-old daughter.
        By Lloyd I. Sederer, MD, Contributor
        Chief Medical Officer, New York State Office of Mental Health
        07/14/2014 11:58am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
        This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

        Remnants of a Life on Paper: A Mother and Daughter’s Struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder


        By Bea Tusiani, Pamela Ann Tusiani & Paula Tusiani-Eng

        A Book Review by Dr. Lloyd Sederer

        If you are looking for reasons to believe in God, they abound in this book.

        If you are looking for reasons not to believe in God, they abound in this book.

        I knew the outcome of the Remnants of a Life on Paper, having heard it from the mother, Bea Tusiani, whom I met recently for the first time at a psychiatric meeting in NYC. Yet this book was still a page-turner of a memoir — written, compiled and told with utter candor and generosity by a mother who lost her 23-year-old daughter. We accompany, for 2.5 years, a family’s nightmarish struggle from the time their 20-year-old child became acutely ill with a common mental disorder — about which we know far too little about its pathogenesis and even less about how to master its destructive symptoms and debilitating psychic confusion.

        Personality disorders, by definition, are disturbances of character that begin in adolescence and form the ongoing basis of how a person feels, thinks and behaves. These disorders are not transient: They are enduring and exceedingly difficult to change. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of these character disturbances: people affected show a myriad of often changing symptoms (which can make diagnosis difficult, at first) including intense mood swings; impulsivity leading to often horrific judgment and self-destructive behaviors; chaotic relationships driven by urgent needs for attachment, yet an inability to tolerate closeness and dread of abandonment; episodes of loss-of-reality testing (where psychotic symptoms transiently appear); profound difficulties maintaining a sense of identity (who am I?); and commensurate problems in tolerating living in one’s own skin. Frequently, alcohol and drug use and abuse, and anorexia and bulimia accompany BPD and add to a person’s turmoil and treatment challenges.

        Here is how Pamela Tusiani put it (p. 144):

        The demon nests inside me.
        When it wakes, I fall into a trance of violent paranoia.
        Blue and yellow pills line up at full attention.
        Tempted by distaste,
        My heart pumps with thick muddy rage.

        BPD is twice as common as schizophrenia and bipolar illnesses (combined), with likely more than 10 million people in the USA impacted (2 to 6 percent of the adult population). Women are more frequently diagnosed with this condition, but they are not alone in experiencing it. BPD disproportionately represents psychiatric inpatient and outpatient statistics, perhaps because of how the internal turmoil of the condition generates external chaotic and destructive behaviors.

        Pamela was the third child of native New Yorkers and an honors college student at Loyola College when she was first hospitalized at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center psychiatric unit in 1998. Experienced doctors then said she was depressed and that treatment would help her in a matter of weeks. But the depression was the tip of the iceberg, or maybe an indication of the hell brewing inside. She did not promptly recover. She left school, returned to NYC, had multiple hospital stays and 12 ECT treatments before the diagnosis of BPD was made. She was often suicidal, took overdoses of pills and cut herself frequently and deeply. After five months and five hospitalizations she seemed to be doing worse, not better.

        Her parents, Bea and Mike, are impressively resourceful people. With their unrelenting support and advocacy Pamela was admitted to Austen Riggs, a long-term, open psychiatric treatment center that focuses on providing intensive psychotherapy. It is set on a small campus of residential buildings located in the semi-rural New England town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She spent 19 non-consecutive months there, as her parents paid out of pocket the tens of thousands of dollars it cost each month. Riggs proved that it “has more freedom than she can handle.” (p. 94). The clinical leadership at Riggs said she had to leave and recommended (what evidently they believed) to be an accredited program for people with “dual diagnoses,” i.e., psychiatric and substance-use disorders, in Malibu, California, called Road to Recovery. This program was equally financially demanding and 3,000 miles away from family and home.

        Pamela’s course at Road to Recovery was labile, with times of sobriety and rebuilding her life and times of falling into states of impulsivity and self-abuse. She developed seizures, which proved to be “psychogenic,” meaning that it was her psychology, not her neurology that produced them. Such is the power of the mind.

        People with BPD have limited responses to psychiatric medications, and many drugs (of a variety of classes) were tried on Pamela — but her depression, anxiety, distortions of reality and impulsivity prevailed. The side effects of these drugs, alone or in combination, can be unbearable, especially if benefits are minimal: weight increases, fatigue is constant, libido evaporates, concentration is very hard, and dizziness an ever-present threat. Over two years after her first episode of illness, her mother read about a medication called Parnate, a drug that I used a great deal until the serotonin drugs (like Prozac and Paxil) came along in the 1990s. Parnate is in the class of anti-depressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (as is Nardil), and has been shown to be helpful in “atypical depressions,” the type of mood states that people with BPD can have. Pamela spoke with her prescribing psychiatrist affiliated with the California program about Parnate and she began to take it. That the medication, however, left her vulnerable to a known, serious adverse effect, to which she succumbed — likely unnecessarily so.

        I believe all behaviors serve a purpose. They may not make sense at first, but they are “solutions” (p. 219) to severe psychic states that demand response or relief. Cutting is a good example, where the act can seem senseless but instead it quiets (transiently) emotional pain and self-loathing. Compulsive sexuality or drug intoxication also serve purposes, which are vital to understand if a person is to find other, less destructive, answers to their compelling distress. The long-term treatment of mental disorders (including BPD), when done well, involves helping a person understand their experience and find alternate methods of mastery. Pamela was well into her journey of recovery when a series of treatment program and medical errors conspired to kill her. The awful irony was that she did not take her life, but irresponsible, stigmatizing and poor residential and medical care did.

        One of the moments, and there are many in the closing pages of this book, that gives me shame about how professionals and administrators do not meet their responsibilities, was in the Emergency Room at UCLA medical center. Pamela had been brought there after experiencing a known hypertensive drug reaction induced by eating certain types of cheese while taking Parnate. The reaction is characterized by very high blood pressure with confusion, headache and restlessness. But instead of those serious symptoms being recognized, her clinical state was attributed to her being a drug user, a “mental patient,” and she was put on suicide watch. The result was that she did not receive the proper medical evaluation and care that might have spared her life. This is disturbingly common today, over 10 years later, as reported in medical reports of psychiatric patients being segregated and not getting proper attention for heart, lung or other problems that prompted their emergency visit. Many don’t say they have a psychiatric condition to prevent this from happening.

        Other moments that made me cringe were told with clarity and intelligence throughout the book.

        Among the most disturbing are examples of demonizing parents of a person with a mental illness or blaming the victim (of rape, for example) because she has a psychiatric condition. Reading about what appears to have been a coverup of wrong doing in the California residential program was enraging for me. Imagine what that was like for her parents and siblings. Having been the medical director of McLean Hospital, a Harvard psychiatric teaching hospital, and a government official for more than 12 years, I believe everything depicted in this profound book is not only possible, but happens more than we want to think.

        The story of Pamela and her family’s labors and love for each other is told in alternating prose by Bea, the mother, and “remnants” from Pamela’s journals, which she appears to have faithfully kept and are given to us in spare and thoughtful segments as time goes by. There are also vivid paintings and drawings by Pamela at various stages of her short life from the time she became acutely ill. These are emblematic of her demons as well as illustrative of her creative talents.

        Paula Tusiani-Eng, another daughter in their family, is also listed as author. She was instrumental in the legal work and in giving the story its first-person voice. This book is a family affair — surely one way they have worked to recover and to help others similarly affected.

        But I am most admiring of Bea. As has been said, no parent, no mother, should see a child die. And to lose a child who may have recovered is all the more agonizing. Bea Tusiani only tells us at the end of the book that she is a writer — though it is plain enough how powerful a writer she is as she lets the story, the events she chronicles, show us so much about her daughter, her family, and our flawed mental health and medical systems. What is also so inspiring about the book Bea Tusiani has given us, which is why I found hope (reason to believe), is how she gives us a front-row seat, so we witness the courage, love, determination and stamina of the Tusiani family. I am sure that Pamela would be proud to see how her pain, spirit and resilience — and that of her loved ones — have been so sensitively and cogently captured in these “remnants …on paper.”

        2014-02-21-Screenshot20140221at2.57.30PM.png Dr. Sederer’s new book for families who have a member with a mental illness is The Family Guide to Mental Health Care (Foreword by Glenn Close).

        Dr. Sederer is a psychiatrist and public health physician. The views expressed here are entirely his own. He takes no support from any pharmaceutical or device company.


        healthy living borderline personality disorder mental health news book review books Mental Health

        Lloyd I. Sederer, MD - Chief Medical Officer, New York State Office of Mental Health

        Lloyd I. Sederer, MD, Contributor

        Chief Medical Officer, New York State Office of Mental Health

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