The Sceptical Chymist | Blogroll: Fraud and favourites

Published in Chemistry

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Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Vinylogous penned the August 2013 column.


Chemists fight fabrication, compare favourites and give advice.

Thinking of faking your spectra? Think again — or at least consider carefully where you plan to send your malfeasant manuscript. Organic Letters editor Amos Smith recently penned an editorial highlighting the seriousness of data fraud: the journal has hired an analyst to inspect submissions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Org. Lett. has found spectra that were touched up to remove evidence of impurities, and Smith has declared that corresponding authors must bear ultimate responsibility. Paul Bracher at ChemBark gives his take on Smith’s editorial, noting the factors that lead to data manipulation. On the prevalence of inflated yields, Bracher notes that “part of the reason it happens is because some PIs reward it.” He then contrasts the editorial with Columbia University’s handling of the infamous Sezen/Sames investigation.

On a lighter note, the world of chemistry blogs has been abuzz with ‘bests’. A post at ChemBark considers the world’s most influential (living) chemists. Bracher suggests Roald Hoffmann as a top choice, but notes that when it comes to engaging the public, chemists have a long way to go. Over at the Chemjobber blog there is a discussion on the best advice for summer lab students/interns, in which thoughtful introspection is recommended. One commenter pointedly suggests, however, that prospective scientists “go to medical school” instead.

Finally, at Just Like Cooking, See Arr Oh provides an analysis of what chemists say are the most important aspects of a good workplace. What things rank the highest? Meaning, fulfilment, location and great co-workers, apparently. Salary and stability are seen as less important, which is either surprising or realistic depending on one’s assessment of the current chemical job landscape.

Written by Vinylogous, who blogs at


[As mentioned in this post, we’re posting the monthly blogroll column here on the Sceptical Chymist. This is the August 2013 article]

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