Remember all the recent dust-ups over potentially doctored NMR spectra? How about when Organic Letters EIC Amos Smith went on the offensive, hiring a full-time data analyst to sniff out fishy details?
Well, we have a major opening salvo in the war on sketchy Supporting Information (thanks to an anonymous JLC commenter for the tip-off). Seems that Prof. Tohru Fukuyama (U. Tokyo) has issued six simultaneous Org. Lett. corrections in yesterday's ASAP section. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
This is a big deal, not least because Prof. Fukuyama's reputation looms large in the synthetic community, but more because the corrections impact challenging targets from his group (manzamine A, huperzine A, lysergic acid, histrionicotoxin) and span multiple years (2008-2013).
Shockingly, the corrections all admit deletion of solvent peaks or impurities from final, published spectra. This correction announces 20 such "edits." In some instances, when the group re-examines the spectra, they're so unreliable that they cannot correct the record: "Samples included some unknown impurities, thus the exact purity could not be determined."
I'm not sure whether to applaud or condemn the Fukuyama group - if they chose to come forward voluntarily to correct the record, I applaud the effort. However, if they were instead strong-armed by the OL Data Analyst, then a culture of data manipulation has been uncovered at the highest levels of our field (reminder: this is just one journal, hold on for the slate of corrections in other venues).
Wish I could say that this meant "Case Closed," but I think we're only seeing the tip of the corrections iceberg in Organic Letters.