Friday, July 25, 2014

Déjà vu, LPU

Remember when I posted about the highly-similar cyclobutane insertion chemistry coming out of the Cramer group? Well, a new contestant has just been published in ACIEE:

Source: Cramer, ACIEE 2014

I jumped down the rabbit-hole of the Supporting Information, and returned with these two "general" procedures - blink, and you'll miss the differences!

Source: Cramer et. al., ACIEE 2014, February

Source: Cramer et. al., ACIEE, 2014, July

Same catalyst precursor. Same ligand (well, different enantiomer). Same solvent. Same time. Similar reaction temps and purification conditions. Now, I'm not saying that the Cramer group shouldn't have published this paper, but in the same journal? With essentially the same substrates?

Does anyone else believe that these could have been published together, in a single high-impact paper?


  1. Yes, I would agree that this is unnecessarily fragmented.

    Trouble is, people respond to incentives, and the relevant incentive here is to publish as many papers in high-impact journals as you can, not to publish the best papers you can. If you can slice one piece of work such that you can get two Angewandtes for the price of one, readers may not thank you, but your career probably will.

    Of course, that an incentive exists doesn't mean you should pursue it at all cost, but human nature and all that. To me this is just a symptom of a funding/recognition system that leans too heavily on flawed metrics.

  2. Hey gramps ! It's no longer ACIEE, changed in 1998 (FYI it's ACIE). Stay updated ;)

    1. The last "E" is for English, and since I still have to write out "Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Eng." in footnotes, I'm still gonna call it that. But, point taken! : )

    2. Anonymous is right. The official name of the journal changed in 1998, they dropped the 'English' from the end. So your abbreviation is correct when referencing papers from '97 or earlier (although it should be 'Engl.', not 'Eng.'), but anything from '98 onwards is correctly cited as Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. or ACIE.

      Now, whether 'Chem.' should be followed by a comma… a can of worms best avoided.

  3. I totally don't see the point here, nor I saw it in february. Experimental procedures are always written the same way over and over. If he can manage to publish his work in ACIE in such a consistent way, maybe it's because his work is really relevant. Am I missing something?

    1. The two procedures being written in a consistent way is not a problem in itself, but it does highlight the real problem: the two procedures are virtually identical, the only differences being 130 vs 110 °C and the enantiomer of the ligand. This certainly makes me think that the lactone reaction isn't something that they developed after the ketone reaction (you know, having to screen different conditions and optimise to get it to work), but just an addendum to the substrate scope of the first paper.

      (Hardly the only example of that kind of thing, granted.)

  4. Another similar papers - I think even more bold than those mentioned here: