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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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July 9, 2006

Down the Chute: Your Call

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Posted by Derek

I haven't thrown a question out to the readership in a while, and this one has been on my mind. Let's give it a try: what journal(s) would you just as soon see vanish from the earth?

A few ground rules: let's try stick to organic chemistry and associated fields, for now. If we start slamming the other scientific disciplines, we'll never get things under control. If this is a popular feature, we'll take on the others in due course. And I'd suggest these criteria for marking a journal for death:

1. You don't read it regularly.
2. You don't even read it occasionally.
3. You assume that any paper in it wasn't good enough to appear somewhere else.
4. You can't recall the last time you even got some reference data from it.

Those are pretty stringent criteria. For example, I never look at Synthetic Communications, but I do occasionally get a procedure from it (and they occasionally work). I picked up some analogous-compound data from a Heterocycles paper a year ago, so it doesn't quite make #4, but otherwise it's one that I'd mark for the trash heap.

And you?

Comments (24) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


1. Greg Hlatky on July 10, 2006 6:57 AM writes...

Accounts of Chemical Research.

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2. Harry on July 10, 2006 7:41 AM writes...

Rec. Trav. Chim.

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3. Grubbs the cat on July 10, 2006 7:54 AM writes...

mine would be Chem. Lett.

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4. Jordan on July 10, 2006 8:24 AM writes...

This is sure to be a popular subject.

I know "Tetrahedron Letters" has published a lot of important stuff in the past, but the fact that so many recent papers consist of results without experimental details bothers me. (I confess that I barely ever look at it, though.) Is this still their practice?

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5. tom bartlett on July 10, 2006 8:43 AM writes...

"I know "Tetrahedron Letters" has published a lot of important stuff in the past, but the fact that so many recent papers consist of results without experimental"

Sadly, you could almostr say the same thing about JACS. You see a lot of calculations and theoretical models without reduction to practice.

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6. Novice Chemist on July 10, 2006 8:43 AM writes...

I vote for Chem. Lett, too.

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7. ZAL on July 10, 2006 8:53 AM writes...

My picks are:

1) New Journal of Chemistry (OK, not only organic)
2) Letters in Organic Chemistry (...)
3) All those strange russian organic chemistry journals (BTW, do they still exist?)

I have an additional question: was there a real need for "Chemistry - an asian journal"? I cannot add it to the list because it didn`t start yet, but sure it is a hot candidate!

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8. Jordan on July 10, 2006 9:06 AM writes...

Tom, I'm actually not referring to journals that publish calculations, but those that publish the results of experiments, syntheses, etc. that don't report the experimental procedures or characterisation data.

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9. Derek Lowe on July 10, 2006 9:12 AM writes...

I've got one that I'm pretty sure is still around, and wouldn't be missed: Organic Procedures and Preparations International.

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10. Canuck Chemist on July 10, 2006 10:26 AM writes...

Pretty much any of the RSC journals except for maybe Chem. Comm.

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11. Harry on July 10, 2006 11:01 AM writes...

Regarding Organic Procedures and Preparations International- I've gotten a few good preps from it, but my biggest gripe is that its nearly impossible to get articles from it. The last time I ordered one from STN, they sent me 5 pages literally ripped from the journal, a prepaid return envelope, and a stern warning not to photocopy anything, which of course I did not.

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12. PDC on July 10, 2006 11:02 AM writes...

Synthesis, Heterocycles and Chem. Lett.
Tetrahedron Letters in recent years.

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13. Sebastien on July 10, 2006 11:24 AM writes...

I vote for Synth. Commun. and Helv. Chim. Acta

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14. Sigivald on July 10, 2006 12:42 PM writes...

Don't forget criterion 0: You must be a working Organic Chemist!

Otherwise, well...

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15. matt netherton on July 10, 2006 3:39 PM writes...

"Tetrahedron: Asymmetry" and "Green Chemistry" just off the top of my head. I have been burned by "Indian Journal of Chemistry Section B" (literally - do not ever mix powdered aluminum chloride hydrate with anhydrous zinc chloride " a vigorous manner before adding to the reaction mixture in one motion." That will give a nifty, if dangerous, bottle rocket, but is decidedly not organic chemistry).

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16. LNT on July 10, 2006 3:46 PM writes...

I'm very suprised to hear Tett Lett on some peoples list! Yes, there's a lot of garbage to sort through, but there's a lot of good stuff published there. Chemists obviously like to READ full experiments and characterization data. The problem is that chemists (especially industrial ones) don't like to WRITE full experimentals and characterization data. Therefore Tett Lett and Org Lett tend to be a place to publish interesting new reactions and/or scaffolds that haven't been fully explored yet.

Bottom line: In spite of poor "quality control", Org Lett and Tett Lett are two journals that I regularly browse in order to find interesting new chemistry.

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17. Drew on July 10, 2006 4:36 PM writes...

OrgProcPrepIntl, All the Indian Journals, SynComm, all the RSCs except ChemComm, HelChimActa.

Sadly, the venerable Tetrahedron is moving onto the list. TL is becoming a serious grab-bag, along with JOC.

I am suprised to see Synthesis on others lists.... quirky, but some good stuff gets published there.

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18. grad student on July 10, 2006 4:37 PM writes...

"The problem is that chemists (especially industrial ones) don't like to WRITE full experimentals and characterization data. Therefore Tett Lett and Org Lett tend to be a place to publish interesting new reactions and/or scaffolds that haven't been fully explored yet."

I have to disagree regarding Org. Lett. Having published a few manuscripts there lately, I can say that their requirements for experimental details and characterization are quite stringent (i.e. full experimentals and spectral data up the wazoo for all new compounds), and have gotten more so in recent years. The editors do seem to let some manuscripts slide through with insufficient supporting data, though.

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19. secret milkshake on July 11, 2006 12:40 AM writes...

Org Prep Proc Int used to be a tolerable journal -years ago I published one optimised scaleup prep there (because I did not want to wait for Org Syn). But the OPPI decline has been going on for long time and now that there is Org. Process R&D, I see no reason for OPPI existence.

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20. Thomas E. McEntee on July 11, 2006 6:40 AM writes...

This thread reminds me that the only constant is change. Great hotels in one era often become the dives of a succeeding era. The age of the great trans-Atlantic steamships is long gone. Deal with it.

There was a time when the Journal of the Chemical Society was THE journal, a time when the likes of CK Ingold et al were publishing their work on mechanistic organic chemistry. There also was a time when Annalen and Berichte were THE journals...this was the time that your US or UK chemistry ancestors were traveling to Germany to learn at the feet of the masters.

In a very big part, chemistry is just business and that extends to the university and the publishing industry. I see the old Ponzi scheme at work

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21. Chris Mortko on July 11, 2006 11:37 AM writes...

I vote for Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry.

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22. weirdo on July 11, 2006 5:15 PM writes...

Come now, I cannot believe no has nominated:

Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry.

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23. Atompusher on July 13, 2006 1:21 AM writes...

Another vote for Chem. Lett. and tack onto that
Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn., J. Indian Chem. Soc. Sect. B., and Mini-Reviews in Organic Chemistry.

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24. jfp on July 19, 2006 11:56 PM writes...

Tet Lett is useless

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