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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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February 11, 2010

Another New Med-Chem Journal

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Posted by Derek

I should also note that the Royal Society of Chemistry is starting its own med-chem communications journal. MedChemComm. Along with the new ACS journal, this now means that medicinal chemists have more places to publish their work than ever before.

Which is a bit of a sour thought, considering that the number of industry-employed medicinal chemists has been dropping for several years now, and the end does not appear to be in sight. We'll see how this affects the publishing world (admittedly, a minor worry). In the short term, people are probably trying to make their patent and publication records look as impressive as possible, so I would think that fewer and fewer publishable results are sitting around in desk drawers. In the long term, though, are we going to see fewer papers in general? (Or failing that, more from academic labs?)

Comments (10) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


1. anon the II on February 11, 2010 11:34 AM writes...

My suspicion is that just about every Med Chemist alive feels that the last thing we need is another journal to read. The quality of what we have is dropping along with the number of viable reviewers.
Med Chem publishing has always been something of a red herring anyway. Good research in the field is never published in a timely fashion. There are always the questions about every article. Is this published because they're dropping it, done with it, losing their jobs and need more pubs, or what? Is this the stuff that worked or is this the stuff that failed?
The IC50 threshold for something interesting is about a 100-fold different for academics and industry. And you see enough publications on compounds where the only mode of possible delivery is a Dewalt drill and a funnel.
I guess the question is "What are journals for?" Are they to keep you informed about the better practices in your field? Or are they a record of every thing done by anyone who calls himself a scientist? I prefer the latter. Just my opinion.

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2. anon the II on February 11, 2010 11:38 AM writes...

Oooops! I meant to say "I prefer the former."

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3. Ed on February 11, 2010 11:45 AM writes...

I suspect that due to the more stringent supporting info and characterisation data requirements, this journal will prove to be a lot more popular with academia than industry. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I think it unlikely that I'll be reading much in the way of breakthrough work in its pages.

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4. cynical1 on February 11, 2010 1:46 PM writes...

One big difference with this new journal though:

"From launch, the latest issue of MedChemComm will be freely available to all readers via the website. Free institutional online access to all 2010/2011 content will be made available following a simple registration process."

That's pretty cool. I can't even find anything cynical about that.

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5. Petros on February 11, 2010 2:57 PM writes...

Be interesting to see how they go. But, as noted, timing is poor.

BMCL took off becuase of the severe restraints on compound characterisation (CHN data) imposed by J Med Chem, which became passe long before the change in policy.

And variable company publication policy means a lot of decent Med Chem is never published.

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6. DrDoom on February 11, 2010 3:23 PM writes...

With AW at the helm how can the RSC fail ? I'd suggest it would be a good plan to outsource the paper writing to Chindia as well then we could close the circle and never have to read any of the drivel that will no doubt fill the pages.

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7. Dave on February 11, 2010 9:52 PM writes...

Maybe with a few more pages available, some of the supporting information will shift to the main part of the paper?

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8. huzzah on February 11, 2010 10:29 PM writes...

As a chemist in pharma, I've seen this issue from both sides of the fence. I had some of my graduate work published in a med chem journal. The majority of papers from academic labs follow the mantra of generate a compound with red-hot cytotoxicity with little to no regard if the compound has decent adme/dmpk or a mechanism/selectivity that will actually be moderately plausible as a clinical candidate.

There are *some* good med chem papers from industry - but a great many of these are compounds with have respectable IC50 and adme/dmpk along with in vivo activity, but flunked out of clinical trials and are dead projects.

Don't get me wrong - there are some good papers in JMC, but they are few and far between. There is an awful lot of total garbage in BMCL - many papers with 'lead compounds' with double and triple digit micromolar IC50 values. Yikes!

Anyhoo, just my two cents.

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9. GM* on February 12, 2010 10:31 AM writes...

No, you're not going to see fewere and fewer publications...if anything we'll see more. The questions is where will these publications originate from? India and China I'll presume. You see, while medchem is declining in the western world, there is increased activity in India and China. Maybe that's what the Royal Soceity of Chemistry has in mind.

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10. stillemployed on February 15, 2010 8:22 PM writes...

The more journals the better. We just need to understand that the measure of a scientists qaulity isn't # pubs. So what's the point of low impact publications (note I say low impact not low quality)? Because you never know when someone else's work will make your lab-life easier. I've always been glad when I've found some obscure paper that inspried me or answered a question I had. I wish it was possible to have a database of every reaction anyone had ever run! Why not? That's all these low impact journals are, a database of sorts, with scifinder at the front end to search them with. Personally I think the fed government should demand that all academic work be done on publically accessible ELNB...but I'm ranting now.

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