In the run up to Christmas members of AK Glorius are asked to present their favourite paper of the year. Of the eighteen people presenting, nine have selected so far, and as you might expect Science papers feature quite heavily; and strangely enough, most papers selected were published in the last 2-3 months! Once the list is complete I’ll post all the papers here, and probably give my moderately informed opinion as to which I think worthy of the list, or otherwise.
What would be interesting in the meantime, is your (i.e. you internet people) Paper of the Year. Nominations in the comments or via #chemPOY13 would be great, and then we can see how representative our list is in comparison.
p.s. We are organic chemists by the way
I am no stranger to a controversial piece of work, my first post-doc publication took a solid pounding from one referee, and I have taken a fair bit of flack since its publication both in person or otherwise (nothing online bar comments in the following links, so no gratuitous trolling I am afraid). Some people also said nice things about it (here ($) and here (free)) though.
The reason I mention this is because yesterday a paper was published in a notable journal that could well indeed fit in to this category of “controversial”. A key difference between this and my work though, is that amongst the people I spoke to, we were not divided. About half the people I discussed with were critical of my work, but we appear to be unanimous that the work from yesterday is not worthy of publication where it was published, by a long shot.
[It should be noted we might all be completely wrong, after all, we are all friends and therefore probably have a similar outlook; but if not….]
There are many reasons why this is upsetting, but for me the main one is this: many people toil for a long time on their work, they have it criticised and rejected, stamped on and sometimes even treated unfairly. This is a hard thing to take when you commit so much to a piece of work, but then to see work that really appears significantly unworthy of publication in a given place is demoralising and upsetting. It is not only a kick in the teeth for those who have work rejected, but devalues other work published in the same place. This is bad for the journal, scientists and research as a whole.
If you were unsure about the significance of research into new hydrogenation catalysts here is some more food for thought.
3 papers published ‘back to back’ in Science:
Nanoscale Fe2O3-Based Catalysts for Selective Hydrogenation of Nitroarenes to Anilines (Beller)
Cobalt Precursors for High-Throughput Discovery of Base Metal Asymmetric Alkene Hydrogenation Catalysts (Chirik)
Amine(imine)diphosphine Iron Catalysts for Asymmetric Transfer Hydrogenation of Ketones and Imines (Morris)
I won’t discuss the merits or otherwise of the papers, you can judge for yourselves, but this is indicative of the huge amount of research left to be done in this field and the significant impact it will continue to have for many, many years to come.
Despite a general hiatus from blogging, the worthy celebration that is the #BRSMblogparty organised by @JessTheChemist of The Organic Solution and @AzaPrins, made a post essential. @BRSM_blog (the blog is here) is imminently heading to the USA, and hence a kindly goodbye from these fair shores is due.
I have taken a few liberties with @JessTheChemist’s template…..
1. What are your messages for BRSM?
- Please keep writing if you can, even with the pressures of an (American) postdoc.
- Changing your spelling to accommodate your colleagues is not permitted.
- Take joy every single day in the knowledge that you don’t have to write a thesis.
2. What are the postdoc survival tips you would give to BRSM?
- Find good restaurants as fast as you can – you won’t have time to cook.
- Quickly identify the most helpful/knowledgable PhD students and be as nice to them as possible – these guys can make your start so much more painless (thanks Christian, Daniel, Nadine).
- Have one day off a week – a whole day. Even if you just use it for sleeping.
3. Survival tips for living in the US?
- Do not eat mac and cheese as a side to fried chicken and fries, and wash it down with a forty. If you have never had it before, heartburn in the middle of the night can initiate a certain degree of panic.
- Prepare yourself in advance for the cost a mobile phone contract. It is scary (so I have been told).
- Get a VPN client – you will miss the BBC, I promise.
4. What would you like to see on BRSM blog in the future?
- The secrets to a balanced life as a postdoc.
- The most important/fun things you learn that you didn’t already know.
- What do you think the future of synthesis will look like?
5. Anything else?
Good Bye and Good Luck BRSM