You know, this is a comparatively minor sin, but it's an irritating one. I was browsing through my Google Reader list of chemistry journals, and this paper caught my eye. It's from a group in Hyderabad, and describes a preparation of propargylamines using indium bromide. "I've seen that reaction before," I thought.
And sure enough, here's a 2005 paper from a group in Tokyo which describes the preparation of (among other things) propargyl amines using. . .indium bromide. The details are slightly different, but it seems clear that these reactions are proceeding through the same sorts of intermediates. The earlier Tokyo reaction uses N,O acetals, while the Hyderabad one starts from the amine and aldehydes (which, to give them their due, is more convenient).
So fine, the new paper is a reasonable way to make these compounds. But what gets on my nerves is that its abstract reads:
"Indium(III) bromide has been used for the first time for the synthesis of propargyl amines in a one-pot operation from aldehydes,
amines and alkynes. This is the first example on the use of InBr3 for the activation of both alkyne and aryl imine."
And what's more, it doesn't even reference the earlier Japanese work. What's more, the Japanese authors actually published a preliminary communication of their work in 2003, in Tetrahedron Letters, the same journal that the new paper appears in. As I say, I realize that this is a (comparatively) minor sin. And I realize that it goes on all, all, all the time. But it's still wrong. And someone should have called the authors on it when the paper was reviewed.