The climate science community went a bit bonkers last month. People got thin and pale and stressed. The reason? There was a deadline! (as Gavin has already noted) The idea is that, in order to make the jobs of the IPCC AR5 authors tractable, papers to be quoted in second draft of the report should have been submitted to a journal by the end of July. I would have thought that at this 5th iteration of the IPCC report, climate scientists would be used to this, and be able to set sensible targets - but apparently not. It seems that many people overestimate what they will do, and then work themselves into the ground. How properly finished or well thought out are the papers that result?
As coordinator of JUMP (Japan Uncertainty Modelling Project) which has a strong "towards IPCC" component, my main strategy towards this deadline has been to encourage everyone to publish their work over the last 5 years. This might sound odd but generally there is not a much pressure to publish in Japan - rather promotion is gained by pleasing your boss (shining his shoes, tidying his desk etc). The strategy seemed to work OK, with about 15 papers cited in the first order draft of the report. As James has previously mentioned, this compares rather well with other groups in Japan, but then, remember that they are under no pressure to publish...
After Gavin & Axel's meeting in Hawai'i in March we made a plan for which papers we needed to write in time for the deadline. Part of me wanted to just go on holidays, but we had requests from two IPCC authors to write up particular pieces, one by jules and one by James. I imagine it must be awkward for the authors to see relevent work presented at meetings and be unable to cite it, so we wrote these two papers into the plan. Our colleague (Tokuta Yokohata) in NIES was also working on an evaluation of the CMIP5 ensemble using our methods, so we put aside some time to help with that. Then there was the extra piece of work that I offered to do at the workshop to go towards the paper that Gavin was going to write. By late May the plan became a week-by-week schedule. Key to success was stopping James starting any new work after he had submitted his paper so he could contribute to the other papers. Extra things always pop up. This time it was revising 2 papers which came back from review. Despite that, the plan was completed with a few days to spare, which meant that, on the day of the deadline, jules and James were already off walking along the sunny ridges of the Japanese alps.
The only not yet submitted paper is Gavin's one, but really that is his responsibility - we gave him our contribution in mid-June. :-) I do, however, think that Gavin is correct - that papers should not be submitted in a shoddy state, as these merely waste the valuable time of reviewers.
I return from holidays to find my email inbox stuffed full of papers to be edited!