We had submitted the PH1 paper to the Astrophysical Journal about a month ago and released the submitted draft on the public arXiv.org archive. What happened at that point is the paper was assigned an editor from the Journal. The editor selects a referee, a scientist in the field and one of our scientific peers, to read and critique the paper. We call this the peer review process. It may not be perfect, but the process is supposed to help ensure the quality of the science published. The referee has a different perspective than the authors and collaborators of the paper, and that new perspective can in many cases help improve a paper. In most cases, the referee has about a month to read the paper and write up a report assessing whether the paper is worthy of publication with comments and critiques on points and issues the referee believes should be addressed or included in the paper.
Last night, I received the email from the Journal with the referee’s report for the PH1 paper. The referee thinks the work does merit publication but has raised some good points and has questions that he or she would like to be addressed. Now our task is to respond to the referee’s feedback, concerns, and suggestions. We’ll make some revisions to the paper based on the input from the referee’s report, and resubmit to the Journal the paper and a formal response highlighting the changes we made and addressing specifically each point raised by the referee. This will take probably a few weeks for us to complete. Once resubmitted, the referee will receive our response and revised draft and have another chance to comment and critique. We’ll find out in another several weeks what the referee thinks of the revised draft. We’ll keep you updated on our progress.