Dorta Paper Link Roundup

August 13th, 2013

For chemistry news stories that generate a lot of fragmented discussion online, I like to post a list of links to facilitate keeping track of everything. This post may be updated; I think there’s a good chance we will hear more about this story down the line….

Coverage of the Dorta-Drinkel paper in Organometallics

12 July 2013 – Organometallics – “Synthesis, Structure, and Catalytic Studies of Palladium and Platinum Bis-Sulfoxide Complexes” – Original published article

6 August 2013 – ChemBark – “A Disturbing Note in a Recent SI File” – Our original report

6 August 2013 – Reddit – “Check out page 12 of the supporting info…”

7 August 2013 – In the Pipeline – “New Frontiers in Analytical Chemistry”

7 August 2013 – Chemistry-Blog – “When Authors Forget to Fake an Elemental Analysis”

8 August 2013 – Reddit – “A Disturbing Note in a Recent Supplemental Information file for a published chemistry paper”

8 August 2013 – Reddit – “Editor-­in­‐Chief of Organometallics Responds to Paper by Reto Dorta”

8 August 2013 – ChemBark – “Organometallics Responds to the Dorta Situation”

8 August 2013 – In the Pipeline – “Make Up the Elemental Analysis: An Update”

8 August 2013 – Retraction Watch – “Insert data here … Did researcher instruct co-author to make up results for chemistry paper?”

8 August 2013 – Science Careers – “Note to Self: NEVER do This”

9 August 2013 – ChemBark – “The OM Paper vs. Drinkel’s PhD Thesis”

9 August 2013 – Slashdot – “Request to Falsify Data Published in Chemistry Journal”

9 August 2013 – Chemical & Engineering News – “Insert Data Here … But Make It Up First”

9 August 2013 – Chemjobber – “The Dorta Affair and others…”

12 August 2013 – Reddit – “[Recap] A failure in peer review enrages /r/chemistry”

16 August 2013 – Synthetic Remarks – “In Defense of Emma” – includes an e-mail from Dr. Drinkel’s mother

16 August 2013 – Reddit – “Emma’s Mother Responds to the Dorta “just make up an analysis” Affair. It’s a reminder that we need to be careful who we criticize in these controversies.”

17 August 2013 – ChemBark – “How Should the Online Community Handle Suspicious Papers?”

20 August 2013 – Der Spiegel Online – “Fälschungsverdacht gegen Schweizer Professor: ‘Erfinde einfach eine Analyse'”


Use the comments to call out other links; I’ll add them to the main post.

18 Responses to “Dorta Paper Link Roundup”

  1. Mitch Says:

    I am glad the Chemistry Reddit played an important part in popularizing the story.

  2. Paul Bracher Says:

    Hey Mitch, am I getting the dates right for the Reddit posts? I can’t find the timestamps on them aside from “[x] days ago”. I am not sure if these are synched to my local time or not, so the Reddit links might be off by a day.

  3. Mitch Says:

    The first reddit link should be August 6th. You beat it by 45 min or so. I’m not quite sure why the thread is now indicating the 7th; weird timestamp issue I guess. Reddit is where i first picked up the story and i remember going through the timestamps to see who was first.

  4. Paul Bracher Says:

    @Mitch: Great. Corrected.

  5. bacon Says:

    Next up: “Chopstick Nanorods: Tuning the Angle between Pairs with High Yield”

  6. Paul Bracher Says:

    Just posted on it!

  7. ChemGuy Says:


    Any idea when we will get more information on the Dorta story?

  8. DrFreddy Says:

    Shame on the community. Shame on the Professor! Shame on the editors. Shame on the reviewers…

    As for Emma though, I feel her pain. I’ve been thinking about putting up a donation fund for a gift basket or something to be sent to her. It’s almost like I wish she left those sentences in there on purpose. My gut feeling says she’s clean. But let’s see what the future holds. Exciting is perhaps not the proper word.

  9. In defense of Emma | Synthetic Remarks Says:

    […] in this post over at ChemBark, which is being updated as the story unfolds – keep an eye on […]

  10. Lila Guterman Says:

    As promised: the Synthetic Remarks link!

  11. DrWater Says:

    I think DrFreddy said it best – shame on the community, shame on the Professor and shame on the editors.

    Having watched this story unfold over the last week or two I really can not believe the vitriol that has been sprouted by various sources – including on this blog. I have to say I feel so sorry for Emma. While many people have had their say it is Emma whose name will be tarnished when the full facts are not yet been fully established – put yourself in her position. I think it is time to draw a line under this so Reto Dorta could you step forth and take responsibility!

    While it important to have an open discussion on these issues I think the McCarthyesque nature of how this discussion has been conducted on here and on other chemistry blogs has been shameful.

  12. Paul Bracher Says:

    @DrWater: How do you think I should have handled it? By just contacting the editors privately and waiting? By just posting a link to the paper and closing down the comments so people could not leave rude opinions or unfair statements? By moderating the comments?

  13. EA Says:

    Now it is also in the German-language mainstream media:

    In my opinion, Emma is innocent:
    – the EA in her thesis make sense (trying to fit them using solvent)
    – she resisted an order to make up data

  14. SwissGuy Says:

    Are there any updates on that case? Did Dorta reply to you (or anybody else in a public way)? I’d love to know what he has to say about this…

  15. PedroS Says:

    A correction has appeared in OM. For half a dozen intermediates, EA is not presnet, but NMR is shown. Many minor corrections have been added,with no explanation of their importance (or lack thereof) which make the text hard to read. Tthe relevance of the corrections to the overall message of the paper is not provided, though. Any one wanting to have a clear message will have to “cut and paste” the dozens of corrections into the original paper…. I wonder whether “non-star” researchers would be allowed to provide that text as correction, instead of retracting and resubmitting

  16. See Link for CEN article Says:

    According to CEN, Dorta has been cleared of wrongdoing. To quote the editors of Organometallics, “There was no evidence in any of the materials received that indicated falsified analyses.”

  17. logical rigor Says:

    they didn’t “clear him of wrongdoing”. They required to see the actual analysis notes for his work and checked that and it was OK.

    However, several places where he said there was an analysis are now corrected to show no analysis (this is the NMR instead of EA). Also, the journal said that it was not it’s mission to police the moral aspect of how Dorta had wrote a note urging a fabrication. That’s not exonerating…it’s just passing back to the Dorta institution. I hope they investigate and terminate.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Link to the editorial review:

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