Some Very Peculiar NMR Spectra in Organic Letters

August 19th, 2013

A close examination of the Supporting Information attached to this paper from 2011 in Organic Letters reveals some pretty interesting NMR spectra:


(compound 5dfull spectrum)

Hmmmmm. I have collected hundreds of NMR spectra, and I can’t ever recall seeing a spectrum in which intensity was not a reasonably continuous function of chemical shift. That is, values of chemical shifts had only one associated intensity each, and no spectra had missing chunks of signal.

Here are some other interesting pieces of spectra from the same paper:

compound3j_hnmr_zoom(compound 3jfull 1H NMR spectrum)


compound3j_cnmr_zoom(compound 3jfull 13C NMR spectrum)


compound_7c_zoom  (compound 7cfull spectrum)

You can check out all of the spectra in the SI for yourself—the file is open access.

So, what is going on here? One explanation is that we’re seeing something very scientifically interesting. I hope this is the case. Another explanation could be user error, or a malfunction on the part of the instrument and/or software used to collect and analyze the data.

Yet another explanation could be that unexpected or undesired peaks (e.g., those corresponding to impurities in the samples) have been erased from the spectra. Some of you might think this suggestion is outlandish—why would a chemical researcher manipulate spectral data in this regard?—but I cannot take credit for conceiving of this idea. I believe the first time I was alerted to this (highly unethical) practice was by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal in which this work appears.

Organic chemists and readers of this blog will recall that earlier this summer, Amos B. Smith III—the Editor-in-Chief of Organic Letters—penned an editorial documenting that he hired a data analyst to examine spectra and other data submitted to the journal for possible manipulation. The editorial included the statement:

I write to alert the organic chemistry community to a serious problem related to the integrity of data being submitted for review and publication by Organic Letters and to outline steps that the Journal is taking to address this concern. Recently, with the addition of a Data Analyst to our staff, Organic Letters has begun checking the submitted Supporting Information more closely. As a result of this increased scrutiny, we have discovered several instances where reported spectra had been edited to remove evidence of impurities. Such acts of data manipulation are unacceptable. Even if the experimental yields and conclusions of a study are not affected, ANY manipulation of research data casts doubts on the overall integrity and validity of the work reported.

I wish to reiterate that I have no definitive idea of what happened in the production of the spectra in this paper; this post only notes that they don’t look normal. In an effort to ascertain more about the spectra, five days ago, I reached out by e-mail to the first author, corresponding author, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

Dr. Bruno Anxionnat, the first author of the paper, did not respond. His former PI and the corresponding author on the paper, Professor Janine Cossy, replied with the following statement:

Dear Professor Bracker

There is probably a mistake as I know that the 1st supporting information with some spectra were wrong and I asked an other student to reproduce the experiments and sent back an other SI with the right spectra, may be the 1st SI was not changed by the right one.

Right now, I am abroad and can not check but I am going to check with the Organic Letters editorial office and I will tell theñm to contact you

Sincerely yours
Janine Cossy

I will note that Professor Cossy is an Associate Editor of the journal in addition to being corresponding author on the paper. You may recall that Smith’s editorial in Org. Lett. addressed the responsibilities of corresponding authors quite clearly:

In some of the cases that we have investigated further, the Corresponding Author asserted that a student had edited the spectra without the Corresponding Author’s knowledge. This is not an acceptable excuse! The Corresponding Author (who is typically also the research supervisor of the work performed) is ultimately responsible for warranting the integrity of the content of the submitted manuscript.

The responsibility to foster a research environment where all involved can confidently present their results, even if they are not optimal, resides with each research supervisor and Corresponding Author. At times, the inherent power of a research advisor’s position can create an atmosphere that leads some to embellish results.

In my e-mail to Professor Smith seeking comment, I made sure to mention his recent editorial. He sent back the following note:

Dear Bracher,

Thank you for bringing these discrepancies to my attention. As with any allegation concerning published articles, we have shared your concerns with the author, who is as you note an Associate Editor. Organic Letters has standard procedures for handling inquiries regarding the content reported in published articles, which are in play here.  As you may be aware, COPE ( provides  journal editors and publishers with guidelines for handling such issues.  Speculation and comment are premature at this time.

ACS and ACS Editors hold the conviction that the observance of high ethical standards is vital to  the entire scientific enterprise. Guidelines for a course of conduct by  those engaged in the publication of chemical research, specifically, editors, authors, and manuscript reviewers are set forth in ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research

Amos Smith

So, there you have it. The matter is being examined more closely, and it would appear the ball is in Organic Letters’ court. Interestingly, there are a few more papers (listing Anxionnat as first author and Cossy as corresponding author) where you might notice similar-looking spectra:

Anxionnat, B.; Pardo, D.G.; Ricci, G.; Cossy, J. Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 4453–4456. (paper, SI)

Anxionnat, B.; Robert, B.; George, P.; Ricci, G.; Perrin, M.-A.; Pardo, D.G.; Janine Cossy. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 77, 6087–6099. (paper, SI)

Go have a look and judge for yourself.


250 Responses to “Some Very Peculiar NMR Spectra in Organic Letters”

  1. mumm Says:

    I guess that the spectra was processed by the Mestrenova software. Based on my experience, it has issues with some pdf printers. The result can look really strange, especially if you want to print 2D nmr (some cross peaks can simply disappear).

  2. Lihopo Says:

    I “like” the 1H spectra which starts at 2 ppm in the EJOC…

  3. Timo Says:

    I wonder when it will become standard and mandatory to deposit the NMR raw data of published compounds.

    I work in the field of natural product structure elucidation, and I have begun to upload all my raw data to figshare, and link to the repository DOI in the Supporting Information Available paragraph of the manuscript… So if the reviewers of my readers want to have a look at the spectra themselves, they can just download the data and play with it…

  4. Edward Says:

    When looking at the spectra in the EJOC (Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 4453–4456) zooming in and out of the pdf in Firefox you can see the real spectra without any hidden signals (for a short time only, but enough to capture it and save a picture of it using print screen).

  5. Why not? Says:

    It’s not like these are very clean NMRs to start with, so why bother trimming them anyway?

  6. Dood Says:

    Those spectra have quite obviously been altered. And in a very unporfessional way as well. You can clearly see that the authors just added white rectangles over the ares they wanted to hide. If you open the supporting information PDFs in Adobe Illustrator you can even delete those rectangles and see the original spectrum. I have uploaded an example for the EJOC-Paper linked in the article, but the same is easily possible for the paper the article is mainly talking about.

    Example for this paper: Anxionnat, B.; Pardo, D.G.; Ricci, G.; Cossy, J. Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 4453–4456.



    I could do the same for other papers if people are interested in that.

    I just want to add that this is obviously data manipulation and should not be tolerated by the editors of those journals. They could’t even be bothered to try to hide their tampering.

  7. Haftime Says:

    Further to Edward’s comment, if you open the pdf in a vector program, you can delete the white boxes and the missing peaks magically reappear. I’m not an organic chemist, so I assume that this is a standard data processing technique of some sort and definitely not badly done fraud.

  8. OMFG Dihydrogen Oxide!! Says:

    Dear “Bracher” …not Prof. Bracher, not Dr. Bracher, not even Mr. Bracher….just Bracher….lmao. Silly Amos.

    @mumm: From my experience, Mestrenova does an amazing job removing singlet signals from proton NMRs. If you see absolutely no water peak in an NMR in DMSO-d6, you can thank Mestrenova. In fact, I think it erases the signal buried in the FID itself, not post-FT. That would explain why its signal suppression function is so disasterous with 13C. This also goes to address Timo’s point.

    Prof Smith never addressed post-spectrum treatments using programs like Mestrenova. Is using Mestrenova’s solvent suppression tool unethical? I don’t know and to be honest, I don’t take any chances. If I find a trace of dichloromethane or methanol in a spectrum I intend to publish, I throw the sample back on the rotavap, hi-vac, and start again.

  9. Edward Says:

    Looking at the SI for J. Org. Chem. 2012, 77, 6087–6099, on page S13 the 1H spectrum for 5a there is an added straight line between 1.25-0.75ppm in a failed attempt to put in a flat baseline where signals have been removed.

  10. Edward Says:

    Same added straight line can be found for compound 19a page S31 in the SI for J. Org. Chem. 2012, 77, 6087–6099.

  11. R.E. Peaty Says:

    All processing done to a spectrum should be clearly indicated. It’s that simple. Normally this would be achieved by including the acquisition and processing parameters (which I didn’t see in the supplementaries, and my understanding is that not all journals even require them(?)).

    Other than that, there are several solvent (peak) suppression techniques, but they tend to work as parts of the pulse sequences, not as processing options.

  12. Nightshift Says:

    Well, here is NMR for compound 5d in all its glory, unmasked in Adobe Illustrator.

  13. eugene Says:

    Nightshift, that’s a huge amount of solvent. Can you do one for 3j, because that one looks like it didn’t remove just solvent, but real impurities? There were also some other spectra I noticed with white rectangles in regions where usually there is no solvent.

    “Other than that, there are several solvent (peak) suppression techniques, but they tend to work as parts of the pulse sequences,”

    Well, I used one, and it leaves a very noticeable trace, plus it makes the region 1 ppm to either side pretty much unusable and you can definitely tell that you’ve used solvent suppression. Usually it’s done to get more accurate integration in regions far away when your solvent is not deuterated.

    As a general comment, when someone told me today that the Chembark guy has too much time on his hands for an assistant professor, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

  14. Nightshift Says:

    eugene, as requested. chembark scores on this one. a three pointer.

  15. Paul Bracher Says:

    Now, now everybody. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this. Let’s not jump to conclusions!

  16. Charles Says:

    Ok, can we stop the crusade and get back to some real chemistry stuff now please? PLEASE?

  17. presstor Says:

    The NMR data of compound 26 in the SI of the JOC 2012, 77, 6087–6099 are totally misinterpreted.
    – The integral of several peaks between 5 and 6 ppm are set to one.
    – The Me-group are in two different shaped singlet at about 3.75 ppm.
    – the integral between 3.4 and 3 should be 4! once for the Br-CH2 and for the CH2-N
    – The signal of the boc group is in general very sharp singlet.
    – several impurity peaks are canceled
    – The 13C-NMR is not representative.
    In conclusion, I doubt, that the measured compound(s) corresponds to structure 26.

  18. Jimmy Says:

    I think Charles is right. Lets discuss some real chemistry and stop this witch-hunt! Quiet frankly this is getting to be a bore.

  19. presstor Says:

    .. and by the way, what is in the 0.5ppm wide gap in compound 31?

  20. Just some chemist Says:

    At first I was going to say that this was the result of either: 1) MNova’s cruddy pdf printing capabilities or 2) the kind of clipping that occurs when an image is not scanned hi-res. After looking at what Nightshift put up, it’s pretty obvious that’s not the case.

  21. SC SynthGuy Says:

    I can imagine someone doing this while telling themselves, “No one will ever notice…” I suppose that was true for a couple of years. Probably the craziest thing, however, is just how short of a time it took people to not just notice the issue but show that there was manipulation of the spectra.

    I do wonder when you will be forced to upload all of the raw data (or at least be prepared to) for the compounds you are reporting. At the same time, I still wonder just how many papers out there go completely unread (or if they do, only read to find the prep for a single compound within).

  22. Lihopo Says:

    I agree that this hunt starts to get boring (and depressing too).
    But because academia judges the value of a chemist by how many paper has been published and in which journals (I’ve heard of some famous prof who refuses to publish in low IF journals…) It is important to point out this kind of behavior. And ChemBark does it well.

  23. OMFG Dihydrogen Oxide!! Says:

    I agree that we shouldn’t turn this into a witchhunt and talk about real chemistry. At the same time, cases like the Nano Letters and Dorta paper begin to make one question what is “real chemistry” or not.

    This case is far less egregious than the former two, in my opinion. The spectrum for 5d looks as if they erased signals corresponding to diethyl ether. Coincidentally, those are the exact shifts where ether would reside in CDCl3.

    There’s no excuse I could come up with for 3j and 7c. That is pretty egregious. Peaks that look like Bart Simpson’s hair? Come on…

    I met Janine Cossy and she’s a really smart lady and a stand-up scientist. She postdoc’d with Barry Trost, so she’s pretty hardcore. I know the buck stops with her since she’s the PI, but spare her the vitriol.

  24. Sarah Says:

    Don’t most organic journals now require submission of original FID files? Just curious. I am NMR specialist by training, but I have heard this is the recent practice from my students…to prevent future Bengu Sezens. (Maybe it’s just JOC?)

  25. eugene Says:

    “OMFG Dihydrogen Oxide!!”, there hasn’t been any vitriol so far prior to your comment directed at the PI. I think that if there was no interests in these kinds of posts, there wouldn’t be so many comments, really. You and Charles and Jimmy and Lihopo posting that this is boring, is actually 4 more comments.

    I think this kind of stuff is pretty fun actually. This story has seriously made my day for some reason. It brought a smile to my face, but it didn’t make me laugh like the nanochopsticks did. Of course, I’ve already accepted my role as a frier who does all his EA and puts pictures of spectra with trace solvent peaks and impurities into the SI and labels them as such.

    And everybody comments on these types of posts, so you get to listen to views of a lot of people from the chemical community who usually stay silent on other ‘lifestyle’ posts about septa protection for BuLi bottles and whatnot. I know how to protect my BuLi bottle in a proper manner and the biggest factor is not letting anyone else in the group use it. All other things are only minor, cosmetic improvements. I don’t want to hear some punter’s opinion on how to properly wrap the top with parafilm. No. I do it the only proper way. I actually didn’t think there were that many people reading the chemistry blogs that were left over except for ‘In The Pipeline’. Good show, even from the people who commented to just say that this post is boring and depressing.

  26. Chemthulhu Says:

    Thanks to all those that provided real analysis of the real data before most of the posturing got into full swing. I was expecting the BOD Police (Benefit of the Doubt and a better movie idea that RIPT!) to come in swinging there billy clubs of bullshit. Vide supra, the comment from “OMFG Dihydrogen Oxide!!” about how Cossy couldn’t be guilty of wrongdoing because she is smart and was a postdoc for Barry Trost (!?!)

  27. OMFG Dihydrogen Oxide!! Says:

    @eugene That was a preemptive statement and I never said that this was boring, depressing or uninteresting. It’s easy to flame the PI first because he/she is responsible for the content. We have to keep in mind about certain factors, such as the pressures exerted on grad students and postdocs by PIs, which ultimately drive them to do desperate and ill-advised things like this.

    @Chemthulhu What part of “the buck stops with her” did you not understand? It means that she is ultimately responsible. I mentioned Trost because the alumni from his group who went on to academia often have a reputation to be strict and no-nonsense, like Trost is.

  28. Dr. Mel Says:

    I think the term we need to be using here is “good faith”. We have created an academic meritocracy largely based on a 2-dimensional field with pedagogy and research as the axes. We all know tenured faculty that abuse tenure and yet express shock and dismay when the same cultural filters give us faculty that take liberties with data to get ahead in research. Those of us that teach all know that we only catch the inept cheaters, but that does not mean that we do not identify and punish those that we catch. Our disappointment with the truth should not result in anger at the truth speakers. Our question should be “what has changed so that systems that were once guarded by good faith on all parties now need to be monitored, challenged or changed?”. Did good faith ever work or are we simply waking up to reality?

  29. cookingwithsolvents Says:

    Ugh. This crap is why I am pretty obsessive in checking over trainees data. Absolutely unacceptable and I know it’s my responsibility. I don’t buy the ‘pressure’ crap, either. If you are too lazy to take off all the Et2O then it’s on you. If your compound azeotropes or some other weird thing then say so in the experimental/discussion and move on. If the PI is so abusive that you can’t handle the extra 15 minutes on the vac line then you have a criminal case, not just a civil or a departmental-mediated one. Good grief.

    This kind of crap is TERRIBLE for science. Most of our funding comes from public investment and thus subject to public goodwill. Sure, a back-room deal for (e.g.) a construction contract is worth WAAAY more money as a corrupt act, but also not generally associated with a whole field like ‘chemistry’. *sigh*

    p.s. paul, I know you are probably running with what you get/the news of the day, but much more of this and I will rapidly loose interest in your generally useful and fun blog. This isn’t interesting, it’s sad.

  30. Paul Bracher Says:

    @cookingwithsolvents: It is sad, but it is also important.

    It will be interesting to see how this case plays out given that Amos Smith has been leading the charge among editors to stamp out this sort of behavior. Will the paper be withdrawn, or will the SI be corrected to include only unmodified spectra? If the latter, would the paper be sent back to referees? Will there be any observable consequences?

    Despite what you’ve seen in the last several posts, I don’t plan on focusing on these sorts of papers. Just sometimes, when it rains, it pours. That said, I’m going to be sure to keep an eye out for the outcomes of any investigations.

  31. Umbisam Says:

    Wasn’t Sezen also a post-doc in Trost’s group, until she was asked to leave after Sames contact Trost and told him Sezen’s Ph.D. was being retracted?

  32. Just Some Chemist Says:

    A couple comments:

    1) Regarding Cossy, I met her once (escorted her to a talk) and subsequently heard her speak. The chemistry coming out of her lab appeared solid to me, and the fact that her lab has a collaboration with French pharma (I think it’s Sanofi – I know it’s one of the big French pharma companies that her lab has a collaboration with) is a plus. Her comments about the first author in the response makes it sound like she had problems with this student’s quality, if she had to get another graduate student to fix the work prior to publication for the OL submission. I know there are a lot of PI’s out there (including some pretty big names) who don’t look at their students’ SI, and assume that it’s right because the student says it’s ready to go. My impression is that Cossy could be like that – too trusting of her students – and it came back to bite her with this student.

    2) Dr. Mel: I don’t believe good faith has ever worked. When I was in grad school, it would frustrate me to no end to look in the SI of JACS papers from labs of well-established chemists only to find the experimental procedure lacking sufficient detail or characterization. As a result, I didn’t know I could trust those results with such bare-bones data supporting their claims, and I didn’t think it was worth my time to re-work their chemistry just so I could use it in the first place. It also didn’t help that in my undergraduate research, the first literature reference I ever worked off of (coincidentally also in Org. Lett.) had a workup in the experimental procedure that I and my undegraduate research advisor found actually destroyed the intended product and was claimed to be used to isolate that product!

    I get the impression my doctoral advisor didn’t believe in it – he always looked at the data closely, and as his students we knew that if he found our data acceptable, the reviewers most likely would as well, as he was the gatekeeper of quality. Recent developments have exposed good faith to be faulty reasoning when it comes to peer review.

  33. A recent PhD Says:

    I believe PIs should always trust their students, I mean, would you have a student you don’t trust?
    My former PI (a really big guy) once addressed this issue at one of our group meetings, he said, “I trust you. If one of you comes to me and says I’ve made this complex I have no reason to believe you have not, so make sure I can always trust you, don’t ever make up data” He would go through the SI of my papers, checking if I missed an NMR or if one of my EA was off, but he would never really take a look at the raw data with a magnifying glass to see if my lines are smooth enough or if I faked it.
    I believe putting up somewhere the raw data for the NMR is a great idea, it will not only help detect fraud, but help a lot people trying to reproduce our chemistry. How many times have made a compound that has several isomers but only one is described in the literature and having the NMR of one of them would help you find out which one it is. I know I would!!!!

  34. Paul Bracher Says:

    Not to hi-jack the thread, but since the opinion has been voiced by @charles, @jimmy, and @cookingwithsolvents that these sorts of data manipulation/fabrication posts are boring, what are the posts on the blog that are the most interesting? Why types of posts on chemistry blogs are your favorites?

    I know that people say they want more reviews of interesting papers, but these posts typically generate very little discussion and views. As such, they are the least interesting posts for me to write. My thought is that many people don’t especially care about papers outside of their main discipline. That is, if I were to write about a paper on pchem, how many synthetic organic chemists would read it?

  35. student Says:

    These posts are the opposite of boring. Look how many comments they get! The reason fraud should generate so much outrage is that the stakes are so high and the workplace is so competitive that fraud is tantamount to stealing. If someone gets an interview for having more (fradulent) papers,they are robbing an interview from someone who did their work honestly and took the extra time to get precise EAs or pure NMR spectra. People who complain about these posts being boring are probably not being truthful, or at least imprecise, using the word “boring” to stand in for “makes me uncomfortable”, etc.

  36. z Says:

    Regarding Paul’s question of what posts are most interesting, I’m a fan of posts like the recent “Hacks for septa” post. The kind that gets at things were what we do is based mostly on upbringing and culture, and where everybody kind of does it differently, and where it makes sense that one way would actually be better than the others, but nobody’s ever really applied actual science to figuring it out. You know, things like that.

  37. Lurker Says:

    I for one would love to hear about your experiences in the first year of your professorship. What is it like to set up a lab? recruit students? What did you learn from the process? etc. Hopefully, other young faculty will chime in with their experiences. That said, I know these topics are somewhat personal and discussing them publicly could be professionally risky, so I totally understand why you might not do this.

    I think people might just be a bit temporarily burned out on the muckraking posts, even though they are of significant value.

  38. cookingwithsolvents Says:


    I mostly just want you to keep up the variety that you have consistently shown. To my eye your blog consistently runs the gamut of what is glorious, ignoble, and sublime about chemistry as a field. Perhaps it was not enough coffee this AM but I really had to just sigh out loud at the ‘when it rains it pours’ truth to your post. It may be better for us to point out one of our own for the optics of our profession. A kind of ‘hey, this is NOT NORMAL and we DON’T ALLOW THIS BEHAVIOR’ viewpoint is better than some talking head bringing it up (e.g. in the context of the sequester). So there is that. I doubted you were going to become a ‘pre-retraction-watch’ type outlet but nonetheless I voiced my displeasure and appreciate you noting it.

    Sure, people come for the sizzle but they stay for the content. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend blogging too much about your experiences as TT prof (except maybe pseudoanonymously like DM, PP, isis, etc.) if only to stay away from potential tenure decision implications and crazy legal issues regarding identifying details and the like.

    More broadly, some part of me sees blogs as the new pamphlets, in the true written discourse and pamphlet debate tradition going back centuries. Not every post can be that, nor every blog. But I do aspire to bring up the level of discussion in this soundbyte/twitterverse of ours. The topic of the month does seem to be ‘what should we discuss about allegedly fraudulent data and papers’ so we should let it run the course.

  39. a Says:

    We want muck. We want muck!

  40. craigFWTX Says:

    How unfortunate. As Timo and others suggested, I think it is time to start banking NMR raw data (fid files) as part of the submission process. Quality control is certainly an issue and I expect that ‘Data Czars’ will be hired at more journals.

    Let’s not forget that data can be “manipulated” at the purification stage where only pure fractions are analyzed. This will only be caught when someone else tries to reproduce the experiment (if ever).

    To me, this is pure laziness and/or perhaps a result of a submission time crunch. He didn’t want to repeat the reaction and do another purification.

  41. CanadianPhDstudent Says:

    If “proven guilty”, Cossy should resign.

  42. CanadianPhDstudent Says:

    (cont’d) from her Associate Editor position (!)

  43. El Selectride Says:

    @Edward; @haftime,

    The US government routinely releases documents pursuant to FOIA requests with sensitive information redacted. Often times, one can read the redacted information because our government is stupid, and not very good and redacting the info in a PDF in a manner that actually renders it unreadable (e.g. or So yes, that is a standard method of rendering PDFs, when one is trying to conceal something, but one is also not very good at doing so.

    These posts are not boring, and the individuals allegedly responsible for these papers should get all the public shaming that they allegedly deserve. Pop those allegedly inflated CVs!

  44. David Eisenberg Says:

    I think these discussions are very, very far from boring. I love it that blogs such as yours do what the establishment is slow and reluctant to do. This is a very efficient way to root out the evils of science: plagiarism, data fabrication, etc. Please continue.

    I would also love to hear about the new professorship stuff. Even what you wrote about it so far is priceless (the procurement thread, the who-moves-where list).

    Overall, you obviously have a great taste for what interest many (or, in the least, me) – so I for one would love to see you keep trusting that taste and publishing whatever you find interesting. The fact that you find time to do so between your many serious obligations is truly inspiring. Thank you!

  45. Chemjobber Says:

    If your blog became “All SI, all the time”, yes, it would get boring. But it’s not, so it won’t. Keep on keepin’ on.

  46. catalyzer Says:

    I understand that (the few) people lacking a perverse sense of schadenfreude might find this series of posts depressing, but it raises really important and difficult questions, and may well serve to scare potential ethics violators and prevent such (alleged) behavior. We are talking about important questions that no one wants to address.

    * How untrusting of his/her students is a PI really expected to be?

    * Do we as a community put too much emphasis on purity of compounds? (Yes, purity is of value, but at what cost in terms of time spent? Or perhaps the cost of leading to behavior that is completely inexcusable but may never have been committed if we had what might be a more reasonable tolerance level for impurities?)

    * How can we most effectively and fairly investigate alleged misbehavior?

    * What should students/postdocs do if they feel they are under undue pressure to produce, or even pressure to commit unethical behavior?

    Keep up the good work, Bracker!!

  47. bacon Says:

    @Paul Bracher, I’m loving these posts lately- I think this is a great resource for our community. I don’t want to say this most recent post was unsubstantiated or a fishing expedition but I’m a little worried by the following text:

    “I wish to reiterate that I have no definitive idea of what happened in the production of the spectra in this paper; this post only notes that they don’t look normal.”

    Reminds me of the following:

  48. Justin Credible Says:

    The thing that really bothers me about the spectra is that already without manipulating them, they look really messy. Furthermore, in J. Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 4453–4456, most of the HNMRs are actually cut off at 2 ppm, this is clearly not allowed in my opinion. Several signs of sloppy work, combined with obvious lack of purification skills.

  49. Giangi81 Says:

    For further examples of uncorrect SI in Org. Lett. In particular, if you look at the mass of Compound 6 and 8 and at the NMR spectra you have a funny surprise (in particular for the final product).

  50. Nick K Says:

    Stupid question, but I’ll ask it anyway: if the sample contains some residual solvents, what is so wrong with admitting it, and showing the unmanipulated spectrum in the paper? Everybody understands that perfection is rarely attainable. Of course, the student could always put the sample back on the pump.

    Addressing Professor Bracher as “Bracher” is remarkably boorish on Amos Smith’s part.

  51. Lihopo Says:

    What might have happened is that the spectra were sent with all the solvent peaks. One of the referee asked for NMR without solvents peaks. In between the samples were destroyed/ decomposed and nobody wanted to make them again… Et voila!!!
    But it is only speculation

  52. G H V B Says:

    Hello Pr Bracher, chembark reader.
    I had several friend in this lab and Janine Cossy was one of my o-chem teacher. I would like to take a little bit Pr Cossy defense here, as I know that she is very close to the students in her lab. She imposed, face to face, twice a month meeting with each students, checking lab book and progress. I strongly believe that she was fouled in this case.
    Secondly I would like to underline something: The french academic system is a little bit different than the anglo-saxon one. In a big lab you got this hierarchy :
    – one or two “Big-boss” (usualy a Professor or a “Directeur de recherche” equivalent of a tenure). His role is mainly public relation, and to get the money.
    – Plenty of “intermediary boss” ( usualy a “Chargé de recherche” or a ” Maitre de conference” equivalent to a non tenur PI) there role is to supervise grads, undergrads and technicians, and WRITE THE PAPERS!
    – the work force : grads, undergrads, intern etc …

    The one that Janine Cossy entrust to write this papers and checked the data has also his name on this 3 papers, as the Sanofi correspondent. To get a full picture you should also ask Dr Prado and Dr Ricci.

    As a french Chemist that spend a post doc in the US, I would like to bring some nuance here.
    My opinion is that it’s a case of lazyness and poor purification skill, from the student. But the poor review blame is to share in my opinion. The french system forces you trust and delegate a lot more than the US one.
    I nonetheless still think this lack of ethics should be seriously deal with.
    A 4th paper is also published by this 4 :
    The SI apear a lot cleaner, but still S34 S38-40 and S48 look suspicious.

  53. eugene Says:

    “Stupid question, but I’ll ask it anyway: if the sample contains some residual solvents, what is so wrong with admitting it, and showing the unmanipulated spectrum in the paper?”

    Yeah, I do that sometimes, when I don’t think keeping the sample any longer under vacuum will make a difference in residual solvent. I state where the residual solvent peaks are and the reviews have not so far had a problem with it. However, for catalysis, it’s not cool when the solvent is the freakin’ major part of your product by NMR. Then you can’t really trust the yields and the whole catalysis.

    Anyways, the best way to determine yields in catalysis is by NMR, by introducing an internal standard and integrating product to standard. Isolated yields which are 10% less you can include and pretend that they are more ‘honest’ than what you got from NMR, but in truth they are useless because if an industrial process is going to be using your catalyst on a large scale, they are not going to be working up your reaction in a separatory funnel and even on small scale another person might be a lot better or a lot worse than you at the practical end of isolating and purifying the product. Of course, if you make something new via your catalysis, then you should isolate and clean a part of it to get all the characterization spectra. Otherwise, an end of reaction spectrum with a standard gives the reader more information and is better all around since you can see how clean the reaction was and how much starting material was converted.

  54. Memories Says:

    Speaking of bad photoshopping of spectra:

  55. gradstudent Says:

    I want to thank Chembark for bringing up this matter. I also find this blog very useful !! keep it up!!

    At first I found this case (as well as other misconducts happened recently) very amusing. However, as things start to unfold and getting more ugly, another question come to mind: how should the chemical community in general, and the blogosphere in particular, handle cases like this? in a right way? I guess there is a reason why the journal handle misconduct with confidentiality. Is it ethical to expose people to the whole world like this?

    For this Bruno Axionnat guy, he deserves it. But let say, if there is a new PhD who get caught cheating on 1 spectrum out of 1000 specstra that he published and he got exposed to Chembark or any other chemblogs, then his career in professional chemistry is over, no chance of coming back.
    People make mistakes, especially young people. I myself made mistake once in undergrad, involving slight plagiarism in lab report (I didn’t know what I was doing back then). But I was glad that the Professor gave me a second chance, and more important, I learn a lesson and promised to myself never got into something like this again (the whole thing just scared the s**t out of me).

    So the question is, if I found another case like this, should I post it on my personal blog? or should I report to the journal and let them handle the matter first (e.g., investigate)? Then if there’s no appropriate action from the journal (e.g., retraction), I can always inform the community myself.

  56. Bob Sacamano Says:

    @Nick K:

    ‘Addressing Professor Bracher as “Bracher” is remarkably boorish on Amos Smith’s part.’

    Not really–there is a long history of last-name salutations in science; Amos might just be a bit old-timey in his ways with the quill.

  57. Tyrosine Says:

    SI could easily include spectra fid, just like submitting cif files for X-ray structures. In fact, cifs and fids are smaller files sizes than PDFs, and are more useful of course because the data can be analysed in different ways. The additional benefit is that fids are pretty near impossible to reverse engineer from a faked NMR as I understand it.

  58. Charles Says:


    New exciting discoveries, applications, ideas, quirky facts, interesting stories, biographies. Chemistry is awesome and we should spread the word.

  59. Dr. VanNostrand Says:

    Its pretty obvious whats been done here….white rectangles on top of peaks they didn’t want in the spectra. And if they didn’t save the files as new pdfs, allowing people to open them and just delete the rectanges……..well, thats just carelessness on top of deception. I’ve pasted white rectanlges over solvent peaks when I was overlapping like 10 spectra on top of each other to show some changes in the NMR that corresponded to structural changes in a polymer. It was, of course, noted under the figure that the solvent peaks were removed for convenience.

  60. DS Says:


    At first I was worried about the generality of this method, but I’m pleased to se it works on scanned spectra as well!

  61. Umbisam Says:

    @Tyrosine: No reviewer is going to look at FID’s, much like they weren’t willing to look at cut and paste chopsticks.

  62. DS Says:

    On a serious note, this is bothering on many levels and the main issue is not the incorporation of incorrect data in the literature.

    People who doctor spectra will also doctor yields and selectivities. Cutting corners in this way will result in a _dramatic_ increase in “productivity”. It removes the most time-comsuming part of scientific work (is it impure? is the yield just 75% or the ee only 81%? would I kill the project with a control experiment? just fake it and get on with your next paper). Such fixes significantly increases the chance for acceptance in high-impact journals. In addition, boosted yields and selectivities makes careful work come off much worse than it really is.

    My main cause for concern is how the funneling of grants and career opportunities are influenced by such practices.

    Editors should be much more explicit in information for authors on what constitutes acceptable practices!

  63. R.E. Peaty Says:

    FIDs are no more harder to fake than spectra. You can make a pretty convincing fake experiment by simulating the spin system and just copying the simulation files over real experimental files (experiments need to be similar, though, proton FID over carbon FID probably wouldn’t work too well). Add a bit of noise to the spectrum and you’re set. 5 minutes in nmrsim (Bruker).

  64. Ethic_tac Says:

    These discussions are indeed very informative and extremely important. They show the need of a stronger sensitization of the students to ethic in science. Many students and young researchers do not fully grasp the impact of scientific misconduct. A student could think that copying an introduction of a paper dealing with similar work is not a big deal, while another one would think that adding a white box on extra solvent peaks of a NMR spectrum is only a cosmetic treatment. However, any behavior which raises suspicion of one part of data affects the trust one can have on the complete work.
    I would like to see mandatory classes for graduate students about ethic in science, where some cases are presented and debated. For this reason, it is important to know what happened to someone who was proven guilty of scientific misconduct.

  65. G H V B Says:

    @DS: I can’t agree more ! I feel depressed this past 2 days because of this sory. I could have been in competition for a job with this guy, and he would have get the job over me because he was a fraud …
    I guess It’s really hard when you are a PI to distinguish good students from to-good-to-be-true students.

  66. random Says:

    This is quite sad to see these kind of misconduct…

    Moreover the way it was done in these publications is way too stupid… If you really want to cheat on your NMR sectra, at least, do it properly…

    As a scientist, I wonder what’s the point of doing this… but as a human beeing who is forcing to face the nowadays so called “publish or perish” policy, I unfortunatly see the point… and it make me feel really bad about it.

  67. Lihopo Says:

    @Ethic_tac: What happens to someone proven guilty of misconduct? it is a good question. I have the feeling that unfortunately not much in the world of chemistry but i might be wrong. In the only case that comes to my mind (i think a quite famous case from 5-6 years ago) of fraud/misconduct the author has been proven guilty and not much happened after that. He recently was appointed Professor…
    Unless the community takes real decision in these cases of misconduct it will continue as a: Do it and maybe you’ll get lucky and if not bah just retract your articles…
    I personally could imagine something like a “on parole” system. If you’ve been proven guilty of “minor” misconduct your next publications will be scrutinized and a note added on them. Also the results of inquiries made on these cases should be public…

  68. njord Says:

    lihopo — nothing happens.

  69. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Scientific misconduct can do anything from slow to cripple the careers of those involved. Some, like Leo Paquette, recover, but others don’t. I know a professor who accidentally self-plagiarized himself, and his career never recovered. He can’t take on grad students because he can’t even get funded because of that black mark on his record. Then again, it depends on your clout. Sometimes you get a slap on the wrist.

  70. sad panda Says:

    Lihopo: Who was that?

  71. Dr Mike K Says:

    Please do continue with these kind of topics (data manipulation, possible fraud etc.)! Do not listen to these folks that call it a witch hunt. If no-one else writes about this (and apparently almost none does!), someone (=you) has to 😉

  72. Ted Says:

    You can easily view the “edits” to this paper by downloading the SI, opening in Adobe Reader, and changing your Page Display options to “Show transparency grid”. You won’t be able to see what is under those white boxes but you can see how many (a lot) there are.

  73. Paul Bracher Says:

    Indeed. Here’s compound 3b:

  74. Mark Says:

    I downloaded the OL SI and opened it in Adobe Acrobat Pro. As I scroll down, each spectrum appears incrementally. Maybe my computer is just slow, but the NMRs appear in steps where you can clearly see the original spectrum and then the changes that were made on top.

  75. z Says:

    I agree that modifying data in this way is wrong, and I don’t know what the motivation was in this particular case, but I can imagine cases where someone might not know any better and think that since the NMR shows that he made the product, that’s the only important thing, so removing annoying things like solvents could be making life easier for anyone else who is looking up the spectra. In the absence of someone telling him otherwise, such a person may not realize he’s doing anything wrong.

    And in a way, it would make sense. Think about compiling the NMR data that’s tabulated with an experimental procedure: You only include peaks corresponding to your product, you wouldn’t include solvents or impurities. It’s a commonly agreed-upon convention that lists of NMR data don’t include impurities or indicate purity, but that pictorial representations do. And how important it actually is might depend on the kind of chemistry you’re doing. If it’s a method for a new reaction, showing that the yield reflects clean product is important. If it’s an intermediate in a med chem synthesis from an unoptimized reaction that was only ever run once, people will assume the yield isn’t that precise and who cares if the compound is clean.

    I guess my point is that there are a lot of conventions that are sometimes contextual and not always explicitly taught. Maybe its up to the PI to ensure everyone is up to speed, or maybe the community needs to have more written guidelines about how to properly work up and report different kinds of data in different circumstances. And beyond that maybe all of us should be more transparent with explaining what exactly we are doing so that someone reading it can say, hey that’s not actually the right way to do it, giving us an opportunity to fix things rather than just letting it all fall through the cracks.

  76. Special Guest Lecturer Says:

    Z (last commenter):

    You are a heck of an apologist for this behavior. I can’t think of any ambiguity in the synthetic community that hiding solvent/impurity peaks from a spectrum is anything other than misrepresenting the data. NMR is a powerful tool because is gives reasonable insight into both the structure and purity of a compound. In fact, there is a convention for marking solvent peaks as such if needed without completely hiding them.

    You bring up an excellent point about tabulated NMR data, which we all do by historical convention. In an age of data depositories and inexpensive storage, the processed spectra and raw data of every reported compound should be deposited for all to view, reprocess, and scrutinize as needed. The tabulated spectra within experimental descriptions are a waste of the preparer’s time and journal/SI space.

  77. Lihopo Says:

    @sad panda
    Now Professor in organic chemistry at mid Sweden university

  78. z Says:

    Just to be clear, I agree that there is no ambiguity in the synthetic community about manipulating NMR data. It just seems like someone could make an honest mistake if they’re new to the field and don’t know any better (I can’t speak to the specifics of this case). We’ve all done stupid things where we didn’t know any better (and hopefully someone noticed and corrected us early on), so I guess I just don’t like bringing down the full brunt of the internet’s wrath on someone without knowing the whole story. It doesn’t mean such things are acceptable or that they should be able to stand in the literature, but I guess part of the debate is how to deal with such situations.

  79. Just Some Chemist Says:


    My doctoral advisor would have flipped out if I had tried to hide solvent peaks, and I was sternly chastised by him for following the commonly practiced procedure of not reporting solvent peaks in the tabulation of the NMR data. Having graduated from his lab, I fully understand why he was so against susch omissions. The problem here is that purity is being asserted by the NMR data, and solvent contamination clearly shows the isolated yields reported are questionable. More disturbing is the intentional covering and omission of non-solvent impurities. That is clearly unacceptable!

  80. Lihopo Says:

    The honest mistake is always a possibility… (once, not three times). And part of the job of the supervisor should be look for that… PhD STUDENT not researcher… Like what happened to Just Some Chemist. However the “honest mistake”should not be happening to a student who is graduating from his PhD.
    I would love to see the face of the Sanofi Aventis people to have their name mixed in this case…

  81. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Wait, did Sanofi Aventis fund that project? If so, I bet they are NOT happy

  82. Ethic_tac Says:

    I completely agree with Lihopo.
    Many PIs consider their graduate students as collaborators. This is very rewarding for the students, but very dangerous when a student just starts his research project. The way one looks at the data of a collaborator and of a student is different. For me, an average student needs at least one or two years to learn how to do proper research (i.e., good lab practice, data analysis and, of course development of his sense of ethic and of his critical mind). When,as a PI, you have a student in front of you, you will look for these possible “honest mistakes” and try to teach him. He will eventually (hopefully) learn. However, if you look at him as a collaborator, then you will assume that he already knows what he is doing and you will not look at his data in the same way. At the end, the student will obtain his diploma without being taught to do proper research.

    It is also more tempting to consider your student as a collaborator, because it requires less energy (you don’t have to search for possible misbehavior and mistake)…

  83. Paul Bracher Says:

    A kind reader sent in a pair of “before clean up” and “after clean up” images of the 1H NMR for compound 7d. I took the liberty of combining them into a mesmerizing animated GIF. It’s like magic!

  84. Chemical JUSTICE Says:

    @Ethic_tac Says: “When,as a PI, you have a student in front of you, you will look for these possible “honest mistakes” and try to teach him. He will eventually (hopefully) learn. However, if you look at him as a collaborator, then you will assume that he already knows what he is doing and you will not look at his data in the same way.”

    I would say that nowdays problem of many PIs that they don’t teach their students at all…

    I bored seing how some PIs demand results without supervising their grads.
    How come then, we wounder that poor grads are unable to follow any ethics which we expect to be later in the papers?
    PIs being very busy with their busy LIFE, should at least provide an experienced postoc(s) for teaching the grads, otherwise we have these frustrating issues…

    Maybe this proverb will shed some light on the PIs

    Ethics of graduate students are reflections of their PIs’ ethics.

    P.S. of course there are many good PIs who constantly show up in their labs and talk to their students and even experienced collaborators.

  85. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Part of this culture aming pi’s stems from the pi coming from a lab where the senior grad students trained the junior grad students. This same expectation transfers over to their own research groups, and when it breaks down, the pi wonders why. This is especially dangerous when the pi is often fundraising or consulting or giving talks elsewhere instead of being present in lab.

  86. Special Guest Lecturer Says:

    Every time we have a new mini-scandal break out, there is always a refrain of “If only the PIs were willing to spend the time to train their students better…”

    Oh, please. One should not need a PI breathing down one’s neck to know that willfully hiding peaks in a spectrum is both dishonest and not an acceptable substitute to purifying compounds to the standards of the synthetic community. Whether it is a small or large group, I simply can’t believe that even the most unseasoned 1st-year graduate student (or undergraduate) could defend such a practice.

    There are both benefits and weaknesses to big research groups led by busy PIs, both in terms of the scope of problems that can be tackled and the experience of working in such an environment. We don’t need to upend the system because someone would rather draw boxes in photoshop rather than practice the art of their trade properly.

  87. Chemthulhu Says:


    I can’t believe that you are still giving Cossy a hard time.
    Haven’t you heard that she is smart and worked for Barry Trost and was nice to someone once at an ACS meeting?
    = case closed (no possible direct involvement in any wrongdoing)

    In all seriousness, thank you for all of this great reporting.
    The truthful reporting of data is the very foundation of all science.
    The number of people that have tried to make excuses for these PI’s astounds me.
    I would love to be able to analyze some of these commenter’s work for myself.

  88. Fremist Says:

    This guy, Bruno Anxionnat, has done something wrong that is unacceptable, whatever job you do. Saying that Cossy was aware of these wrongdoings might also be inaccurate. I can’t believe that she encourages such a behavior. I guess she was fooled and didn’t verify the work achieved by the student, something she should have done and now pays (but the reviewers didn’t pay much more attention to the SI so they stand as responsible as she does).

  89. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ Special Guest Lecturer: … and you wonder why this refrain keeps being sung? It’s because of that exact type of attitude. Yes, the grad student should know you don’t manipulate data by drawing white boxes over inconvenient solvent peaks and impurities. That doesn’t change the fact that this garbage got through the PI, the other grad students, the editor, and the reviewers. Even WITH the boxes on the spectra, they looked pretty impure. There were so many little shitlets in the 1H NMR that there was no way you could call that pure by any stretch of the imagination! The problem is that this stuff is becoming more and more common, and this guy just happened to be caught… two years later.

  90. Paul Bracher Says:

    I like the term “shitlet” and think IUPAC should adopt it immediately.

  91. VacItDownInCDCl3 Says:

    I’m sure this is not a case of Anxionnat being clueless as to the wrongs of editing spectra, but rather a case of him getting the cowboy attitude that comes with experience in the lab. Feeling as if the rules no longer apply to him. It’s obviously no excuse, and for a profession characterized by perfectionism, I am shocked by his actions!

  92. Special Guest Lecturer Says:

    Just Some Chemist – I agree that all coauthors associated with the paper should have caught this problem before publication, but they didn’t. They failed and are suffering unwanted scrutiny and questions of their ethics and competence. At the end of the day, it was a pretty mediocre paper to begin with, and the downside of getting caught cheating on it is far greater than the upside of ever publishing it in the first place.

    Fraud is often a pathology, not a rational act, and I do not believe that transitioning all hands-off PIs to running smaller groups with more face time will stamp out fraud. The blogosphere (for now) is providing some interesting discussion on these issues, along with the usual nonproductive outrage, and is certainly an effective shaming mechanism. But are there more creative ways to make fraud less likely, identify it quickly, and prevent others from being deceived by it?

    More interesting questions to me – the above – why aren’t these spectra deposited in readable formats? And why do the journals not provide a comment forum for each paper? If the SI is full of doctored or crappy spectra, a commenter should be able to say so right there on the journal’s website.

  93. Chemthulhu Says:

    Ok, I am done with this discussion after this comment.
    It is clear that some of you will never get it.
    The (alleged) fraud perpetrated in these articles is due to the PI’s in one form or the other.

    These PI’s are either lazy, incompetent, or complicit in these acts of fraud.
    There are no other options, since it is his or her job to manage this published research.

  94. Nick K Says:

    That animated .gif of the spectrum before and after is far worse than I expected. This isn’t a question of a few percent hexane and ethyl acetate giving little bumps on the baseline. The sample must contain 30 mol% hexane or more.

  95. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @Special Guest Lecturer: I doubt you’ll ever see comment sections provided for the articles by the journals. I discussed this with an editor for a major chemistry journal a couple years ago in the presence of some professors in the department in which I did my grad work, and the response was, in summary, that these editors feel mud-slinging and ego-boosting would be rampant, so they want to avoid all of that by just not having commenting available.

  96. Ethic_tac Says:

    @Chemtulhu- you do not understand: Fraud is a pathology. The fraudulent student is a psychopath who comes by night undoing the hard work of the PI. He probably hacks the PI’s computer to intercept the submission of the article, replacing the good data by falsified or fabricated data. As a PI, you cannot fight against the fraudulent student. He is there lurking behind your back to stab your work when you don’t expect it.
    In a more serious note. The main difficulty in obvious cases of fraud is to evaluate the responsibilities of the authors of the paper.I agree with you that ultimately, the PI has a part of it, because he is the PI and the corresponding author (most of the time). It is unbelievable that none of the coworkers caught these falsifications (we are talking of 3 or 4 papers published by the first author which contain those falsified data).
    It reminds me of a story I heard in another lab: a post-doc came with a NMR spectra containing a large peak for the solvent. The PI told him to remove the solvent and the post-doc though that he could just put the now infamous white square on it. I can tell that the PI was really upset when he learned that. It shows that not all the falsified NMR go through and that it is possible to prevent such action.
    Now, what bothers me is to see more and more people doing some experiments, writing a draft and then pushing to have the work submitted even if their work is incomplete, thinking that since they wrote the draft, then the research on this part is finished and it would be unacceptable for them to go back to the lab and add more data. This phenomenon is obvious when the PI has an established reputation, because the student knows that the paper will be accepted in a high profile journal.

  97. Anonymous Says:


    I could have sworn I saw it suggested here in a post or perhaps in a comments section, but a 30 second google search didn’t find it. What if you were required to authenticate your identity with a university email or professional society membership, so that your name and position would be publicized?

    I think it would be spectacular to see real-time comments of articles. Add to that an upvote/downvote system, and we could really have something here. In fact, if there’s an intrepid, more skilled than I person here, I imagine it would be possible to use RSS feeds to automatically publish journal ASAP articles to a limited-posting subreddit such that visitors could only comment, not post links. Now there’s something I’d love to see…

  98. Henry Gondorff Says:

    The idea that professors should or can trust their students is absurd. They are students. Forgetting for a moment ethical issues, graduate students, and postdocs, and even professors make lots and lots and lots of mistakes. I have had postdocs get the wrong structure for a product and miscalculate theoretical yields. If I check someone on a bunch of things and they are always right then maybe I will not check them on many minor things after that, but the fact is that consistent perfection is rare. And students miss opportunities – the wrong structure above was much more exciting than the right structure would have been. Any professor who trusts students will repeatedly publish crap, though most of it will be “honest” crap.

    The mistakes extend to ethics. On any vaguely unclear ethical question, half the time students have no idea in the world where to draw the line. For every obvious faking of data like seen here, there will be twenty cases where students rotavap the fractions, weigh the flask and get their yield, check nothing, add deuterochloroform, rotavap again, and get the spectrum. The spectrum then looks honest but the yield means exactly nothing more than it meant in the Cossy papers.

    The failure to check one’s students is a reckless disregard for the truth. And I have never accepted that there is ANY difference between a reckless disregard for the truth and outright lying or scientific fraud.

    Many here seem to love the idea that honest professors are occasionally taken in by the rare evil wrongdoer. If you look at studies of dishonesty in people, almost everyone is dishonest when given an apparently completely free opportunity. The honesty of a lab’s work lies in the system, not the people, and the system is the responsibility of the professor.

  99. student Says:

    I would love to hear about Chembark’s experience (and other people’s) with his bosses in term of writing papers and checking SI before publication. My boss is a big name, extremely busy. He is very careful when it comes to write the main paper.However, he almost never checks the SI himself but usually give it to another postdoc in the group to check.

  100. Umbisam Says:

    @Just Some Chemist – Actually, some journals do this. They are called Discussion Papers. Anyone can be a referee. The first draft of the paper is posted. Anyone can read it online and referee the paper. Referee comments are posted. The authors’ replies to the referee comments are also posted publicly, along with the revised manuscript. Then the journal decides on whether an official paper is merited.

  101. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @Umbisam: Doesn’t PLoS do stuff like that? I don’t think that’s viewed as exactly the same thing. It’s one thing to be publicly reviewing a paper; it’s another to be behind a screen name saying, “Oh, not another [insert famous pi] paper getting into JACS! If it weren’t from that group, it would have been relegated to OL or JOC.”

  102. Paul Bracher Says:

    @umbisam, @just some chemist, and others:

    Here were some thoughts on my “dream” system for peer-review:

    Of course, it’ll never happen.

  103. Just some chemist Says:

    Yeah Paul, I think there would be a lot of pushback over open reviewing. I fully understand why reviewers need to remain anonymous (even though you can figure out who they are often enough…), and considering arguments back and forth in the literature have ended people’s careers over a big PI’s ego being hurt, I could imagine nuclear fallout occurring in open review.

  104. Chemist Joe Says:

    There is now a note from the corresponding author on this paper, seems like Bruno Anxionnat is taking full responsibility.

  105. Paul Bracher Says:

    Indeed. This note has been posted as Supporting Information to the manuscript:

    To the Organic Letters community of authors, reviewers, and readers,

    Review of the NMR data reported in the Supporting Information in this article evidences instances where some of the spectra were inappropriately edited to remove impurities. A coauthor and former student, Dr. Bruno Anxionnat, has shared with me formal communication in which he states “I would like to take full responsibility for this entire situation. I was in charge of making the SI of my papers and I erased some peaks without telling anybody. All my supervisors (Pr. Cossy, Dr. Gomez Pardo and Dr. Ricci) trusted me and I wasn’t dependable. I am the only one who has to be blamed for all that, in any case them. I know my behavior is highly unethical. I am deeply sorry for what I have done and for hurting people….”

    My lab will submit the original FID files, acquisition data and processing parameters to the Editor-in-Chief, as per his request in support of the ongoing editorial review of this article.

    I reach out here with the hope that all readers might learn from this experience as I certainly have. From now on, I will never let a student or a postdoc from my group upload a manuscript and/or Supporting Information files to a journal submission site by themselves.

    Organic Letters seeks to always publish quality content, and to achieve this goal, the journal has a higher level of expectations with regard to the rigor of data presented in Supporting Information than other journals. As Corresponding Author, responsibility for warranting the integrity of the reported work on behalf of all co-authors requires the same level of scrutiny and sign off on the data included in the Supporting Information as for the data included in the manuscript. When I was made aware of the edited spectra, I immediately initiated a review of our practices surrounding the collection and reporting of data, including ensuring that all of us in the laboratory are aware of and conduct our research in accordance with the ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research.

    I thank the community members who have kindly reached out to offer support to me during this time, and for its patience. I request that you direct any comments about this research to my attention at

    Janine Cossy

  106. Ratmir Says:

    Here’s another example from
    Anxionnat, B.; Pardo, D.G.; Ricci, G.; Cossy, J. Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 4453–4456. (paper, SI)

    there is a very easy assay to check for “deletions” in the spectra (first mentioned by “Mark Says: August 21st, 2013 at 7:51 PM” a few posts above) . If you work on suboptimal computer with overloaded memory, it takes 2-3 seconds for PDF reader to raster the image. Spectra rasters first, then the white rectangles that cover the spectra. If you zoom in and out a few times, you can see the deletions appearing and disappearing. Here’s what I found in H1-NMR:

    compounds 1, S5, the authors deleted tall singlet at 5.3 ppm
    compound 3, page S7, the authors deleted quartet at 4.15 ppm and singlet at 5.1 ppm.
    Compound 4, page S8, supporting information H1-NMR spectra : deleted quartet at 3.4 ppm
    Compound 5-cis, page S8, deleted triplet at 4.7 and doublet of doublets at 5.25
    compound 5c, page S12 the authors deleted ABX multiplet at 3.9 and 4.1 ppm (same shape as 4.0-4.2 ppm but smaller)
    compound 7, page S13, the authors deleted tall singlet at 5.25 ppm
    compound 10, page S15, the authors deleted tall singlet at 5.25 ppm
    compound 11, page S16, the authors deleted tall singlet at 5.25 ppm
    compound 13, page S18, the authors deleted VERY TALL singlet at 3.6 ppm
    compound 15, page S19, the authors deleted tall singlet at 5.25 ppm
    compound 16, page S20, the authors deleted tall singlet at 5.8 ppm

    I have a grant due, but this was way too much fun. Also, I think this person should resign, or at least surrender the funds provided by Sanofi corporation (who provided financial support for this project). Also, I think the person named “Charlie” who asked us to “stop the witch hunt and think about real science” should keep quiet (please). Eliminating bad science and witch hunting is part of scientist’s job. If you let it happen and if you do not care, you have to quit this job immediately and do something better with your life (write TV ads or run TV infomercials, for example)

  107. cont. from the previous post Says:

    Also, while I’m at it, I should apologize for using the word “guy” towards the author in the post above. It was done automatically.. no bad intentions. I just couldn’t correct it after I posted it.

    Anyway.. Here’s a few interesting findings in the Org. Lett., 2013, 15 (15), pp 3876–3879.
    The same first author same last author. The spectra, unfortunately, are no longer vector graphics. They have been rastered as TIFF or JPEG. In any case, you can no longer see the covered peaks, you can only see what looks like covered humps. I might be wrong, but here are my best guesses:

    compound 12f, page S31, covered quartet at 4.2 ppm (ethyl acetate), (the triplet at 1.2 ppm and S at 2.05 ppm remained)
    compound 16a and 16b, page 39-40, very obviously covered ethyl acetate signal: quartet at 4.2, triplet at 1.2, and singlet at 2.05

    At this point, I have to get back to my own work…

    Summary: I might have been to impulsive asking the authors to resign as most of the “forged” signals turned out to be DCM and EtAc peaks. Still, I do not understand why did the authors do it. Why would they cover benign solvent peaks? Was is really worth the trouble? Finally, why did they do it so inconsistently? There are 10 other spectra in that paper that have ethyl acetate or DCM in them. The authors did not erase it.
    I am a chemists and I also took some dirty NMR and I published some solvent-containing NMRs (in my papers and in my thesis). It doesn’t bother me to see the solvent residual peaks, but it certainly bothers me to see them wiped out. Perhaps the next paper from these authors should be entitled: “Recent benign and no-so-benign NMR manipulations in our peer-reviewed papers in journals of European and American Chemical Societies: A mini-review”.
    All the best…

  108. crazedPHD Says:

    I think the letter by Janine is not sufficient. If she is the corresponding author, she should take full responsibility for this. Or else, do not publish. I just think that the way this has gone, you will just penalize the students and postdocs but let the PI go without taking responsibility.

    Not great!

  109. Umbisam Says:

    @Paul – Perhaps there should be a new journal: ACS Arena. This journal would be for the highest quality research. So impeccable, that you don’t have a problem with a never-ending-review from the most confidant of reviewers/commentators. It would kind of be like being Prime Minister of Britain.

  110. craigFWTX Says:

    Wow. What happens now to Bruno Anxionnat and Professor Cossy? I can only assume that Dr. Anxionnat can no longer count on a good recommendation from that laboratory for future job prospects, which probably will not involve chemistry at this point. I’m pretty sure Pr. Cossy has made a phone call to his post-doctoral advisor at UIUC, and she is currently ripping all of her assistant professors (maitre de conferences) a new (insert expletive here). She should give up her post as an associate editor of Organic Letters, at the very least, but will she?

  111. catalyzer Says:

    I respectfully disagree with those who believe that the letter from Prof. Cossy is not sufficient. In fact I think it goes too far. It is not the job of PI’s to prepare SI or to inspect for signs of fraud. The overwhelming majority of students and postdocs are honest (even more so than PI’s perhaps?). I believe that we are better off living in a world where 0.1 % (yes it is a hypothetical number) of SI is tampered with/fraudulent, than a world where PI productivity is substantially lowered due to time spent on SI, and, even worse, where students and postdocs are not treated like trustworthy, responsible, collaborators.

    That said, PI’s have a responsibility to keep their eyes wide open to the best of their ability and to carefully investigate if/when there is reason to suspect wrongdoing. To the best of my knowledge, this does not appear to be a case where the PI failed to observe that rule.

    And fortunately, we now live in a world where all it takes to ferret out fraud is one astute reader (probably with eyes younger than most PI’s) reporting a glitch in a spectrum to ChemBark. A system that was not perfect, but already worked pretty damn well, is now even better! Kudos to ChemBark for making it so.

  112. orgg Says:

    I don’t know if that would be interesting for your blog, but there is a paper in Anal. Chem. that seems to be a good candidate for investigation:
    Since I am not an analytical/isotope chemist, I am not ready to write a detailed critical analysis of the paper, but I hope the community could clarify some points.
    The most evident thing: if one calculates the yield of the isotopically enriched water by combining the volumes of enriched fractions (Table 1), it will account for several hundreds of %.
    Interpretation of mass spectra as well as overall experimental setup are not convincing to me, but an isotope specialist’s opinion is needed.
    The whole procedure described in the paper could radically decrease the costs of production of heavy forms of water (e.g. to supply cheap {18O}-water for {18F}-PET tracer synthesis), and so the authors’ claims should be carefully evaluated. I guess the journal’s IF is high enough to expect rigorous reviewing process.

  113. z Says:

    This response from the PI seems perfectly reasonable. By default, PIs should trust their students. The PI should be setting up a culture that values ethical behavior and doesn’t tolerate ethical breaches, ensuring that people are trained and receive sufficient guidance to operate within the standards of this culture (making sure they understand what is right and wrong and how to properly do and report the work in their field). Ideally, such a culture would identify suspicious behavior that might justify a closer look at what that person is doing. When such warning signs are present and not dealt with objectively, then the PI bears some blame (i.e., Sezen/Sames). Or if the group culture is fundamentally broken, then some blame might fall to the PI. But if there are no warning signs, and if someone is deliberately doctoring or fabricating data, the blame falls only on that person. You can’t raise independent Ph.D.-level researchers by assuming that they are guilty until proven innocent, always looking over their shoulders and double checking everything they do to make sure they aren’t cheating.

    I think we have to assume that 99+% of people are trying to do the right thing. The problem is how do you identify the few that are trying to break the rules, and how do you do so without making things unduly difficult for everyone else, while making sure any false positives don’t have their reputation undeservedly dragged through the mud. Maybe in this particular instance, looking more closely at the SI would have worked, but that’s not a general solution because most people who want to doctor or fabricate data are probably much better at it and have sufficient photoshop skills that nobody would have noticed.

  114. Toki Says:

    Too much noise around this story; why dont you check Angewandte’s Supporting Infos for proton NMRs
    given in variable sweep widths starting from 0, 1, 2, 3, and even 4 ppm and covering five or six ppm sweep widths. You may have surprises… Start with the complestatin (2010, 2018) total synthesis and go through the proton NMRs. And try to guess what was omitted (residual solvent? impurities?).

  115. KSH Says:

    Sorry, but if I understand you correctly, then you are saying that there is too much focus on this story, since you found another example which has a some weird looking spectra? If that is the case, then I have to say, I really don’t agree with that reasoning. Also, can you please put links to the publications you are referring to?

  116. ingenol Says:

    How come, no one has noticed that they published such a useless synthetic method that the poor Anxionnat guy couldn’t even purify the products? In addition to solvent peaks, these are not publishable by any means. Isn’t it the Cossy’s fault? Or does her pedigree and the fact that she is one of the OL editors allow her to publish shit?

  117. Ethic_tac Says:

    I feel uncomfortable with Pr. Cossy’s note.
    It is obvious for all of us that the student is the main responsible of the situation, but I think she is pushing too far when she seems to put herself in the shoes of a victim. We are not talking about informative data added in SI which would not affect at all the paper, as we often see in SI. Here, this is the NMR spectra of the compounds. I don’t think that the student showed the unmodified spectra at any time, but still, the addition of a white box is really obvious on several spectra and it does not take hours to see it. When she explains that she will never let a student/post-doc upload anything in the future, she implies that the problem she faced only occurred at this stage of the submission, while it mainly happened during the writing of the paper, when nobody bothered to look at the NMR spectra of the compounds, which are the core of the paper.
    Moreover, what about the two other papers that they published with this student and which also contain falsified NMR spectra ?

  118. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ Toki: I took a look at it, and just looked at the final compound and looked over the 1H NMR’s. The spectra provided looks like selected blowups of a miniscule amount of material. I don’t agree with their assignments, and I’m seriously questioning if they got the title compound 1. I also question the shimming on that 500 MHz magnet of theirs. I’m not going to rip into them, as that whole project looked like hell (both for the student and the data reported).

  119. Paul Bracher Says:

    There’s a note in Org. Lett. that says the paper is under editorial review, so I’m guessing this letter is not the last word we’ll hear on the case. It will be interesting to see what actions the editor-in-chief takes, especially when one considers that his editorial in June specifically mentioned (i) the manipulation of spectra to “remove” impurities and (ii) that corresponding authors are responsible for the integrity of data in their manuscripts. This paper pretty much represents a textbook case.

  120. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Isn’t it funny how when people make hard-line statements they are oftentimes put to the test immediately?

  121. EC Says:

    This is an interesting case. On the one hand, the chemistry community really appears to like the smell of blood. The large number of comments on this post clearly proves that.

    I am a PI of a fairly large (up to 20 people) lab in Europe. I do double check SI data before submitting. I also like to rely on my co-workers especially when we publish joint projects that involve 2-3 students working as a team. I like to believe that, in those cases, fraud would be particularly difficult (as this seems to be almost always the doing of an isolated student). Why would someone listed as 2nd or 3rd author willingly engage in fraudulent behaviour?

    Nevertheless, and as eager as I might be to jump on Janine Cossy’s throat and ride my high horse of infalibitiliy, I have realised that I am really not immune to something like that happening in my group. Ever. All it will take is a period where I have more work, more traveling and less time to look carefully at things. I stopped looking at NMR data of my co-workers a long time ago and only when we start preparing publications do I try to have a look to see what the spectra look like.

    The best that I can do is send links to these posts to my group. The Dorta-Gate sent shivers down my spine. I know Reto personally and that glaring sentence in the SI really sent a reminder to triple, quadruple-check things. As for Janine, I can only understand how painful it is to trust students (and she holds weekly one-on-one meetings where she painstakingly discusses each co-worker’s research project in detail) and to be exposed in such a manner.

    I guess the crucial reminder here is simple. Whatever good things you do, no matter how many papers you publish in JACS and ACIE, how many Doctoral students you graduate: it only takes one fuck-up to lose years of accumulated reputation and standing. One fuck-up by one fraudulent student. That’s it.
    I should send this post to myself as a reminder on a monthly basis.

  122. Devebulent Says:

    Just Some Chemist Says:
    August 26th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
    I finally found and check the article; its an Angewandte 2010 , 49, 2018-2022. More than the proton nmrs I found the carbon spectra strange. Some peaks are almost as high as … the noise signals.
    But who is to blame? probably as usual: one of the three PhD students…

  123. MyOMy Says:

    Are the spectra submitted as part of Bruno Anxionnat’s PhD thesis?
    In which case, will his PhD come under threat?
    And if so, will he be so quick to take the blame?

  124. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ Devebulent: Yeah, when there were carbon spectra to actually be seen… I think the S/N ratio is understandable in a total synthesis where there isn’t much material to be had, but the phasing was pretty bad. It just makes me wonder what kind of instrumentation they really had. They were reporting using a 50MHz magnet, but I would expect better spectra from a magnet like that (assuming they shimmed properly).

  125. Devebulent Says:

    @ Toki:may be you’re right, too much noise around Cossy’s articles. what Paul Bracher says?

  126. Nick K Says:

    Professors Amos Smith and Janine Cossy hoist by their own petard! The irony!

  127. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Oops, correction to my previous post – that’s supposed to be 500 MHz not 50.

  128. Smile Z Says:

    The interesting thing is that ACS has made an announcement in the JOC and OL paper. But wiley did nothing about the EJOC paper.

  129. Anonymous Says:

    “Enclosed are the reviews for your manuscript. In view of the reviewer recommendations and my own examination of the manuscript, I regret that I cannot accept your manuscript for publication in Organic Letters.”

  130. OldGuy Says:

    Speaking of SI, any analytical chemists reading? Or gold nanoparticle specialists? This is one of the most amazing things I have seen recently…
    Clear detection of the change of hydrogen peroxide concentration from 120(.00?) to 199.95 MICROmolar using gold nanoparticles. I can not figure out how this would work with such a sharp change. I can’t figure out how you would make hydrogen peroxide solutions with such precision either.
    (came across this at, linking to

  131. sheep on ice Says:

    Emma did not do a good job of manipulating the data in this case.

  132. Dave Fernig Says:

    This isn’t boring and certainly, as some have pointed out, it can and does effect career opportunities. Two points
    1. Why not put the critique on PubPeer and then link that to the blog. Pubpeer ( now has the facility to link via PubMed (does cover a lot of chemistry) and in any event is gradually becoming a catch all for queries on papers.
    2. Trust students? It isn’t a question of trusting, it is a question of training, so yes, the PI does and should spend time with students and postdocs going over data. Nothing beats teasing apart data! In my view if a PI prefers to play at being “important”, they shouldn’t be a PI.

  133. Ex-French PhD Says:

    Regarding Janine’s aswer. Not speaking about what Amos B. Smith The third said himself, the corresponding authos himself should take responsibility for everything that’s in his paper, and not reject the fault on the PhD student (way too easy). Did Mr Anxionnat send these apologies himself, or did he have Janine writing it for him? I carefully doubt what was written in this letter, and furthermore because I have done my PhD in France, and I know how it works there. Youn are NEVER ALLOWED to upload the supporting information yourself. The person who does that is the person who submits the paper, a.k.a. the Professor. Who would upload something without reading it ? Seriously????

  134. Old Prof from Canada Says:

    I think it is time for faculties to understand that they function pretty much like CEOs of a small corporation. I believe, maybe naively, that professors are accountable for the acts of their students (in a professional context). For example, in Canada, a new law from the federal govt clearly identifies the professor as prime responsible in case of accident in a lab.
    When a company ‘screws up’, the company and eventually the CEO pays the price for it, even if an employee or a group of employee might be responsible for the bad performance of the company. The company internally deals with the employee (by firing, restructuring, etc…), but in the eyes of the public, the company is guilty and the company name/brand is tarnished.
    Well, I would think it should be the same here. Internally (within Paris University), an inquiry should be made to determine who is at fault. From Dr Cossy’s letter, one could infer she might be OK. but it is not our role to decide. However, from outside, I believe that the Cossy ‘brand’, ie, the chemistry from Dr Cossy lab, should be regarded as suspicious, or at least, less trustable. In this sense, I think this should be expected that she resigns from the prestigious position of associate editor in an ACS journal.

  135. EC Says:

    @Old Prof from Canada

    But I think that the Cossy “brand” IS ALREADY tarnished from this incident. The Post-Doc himself will have a hard time finding a job in Chemistry for the next years. And regardless of all the good science that has come from her lab, Janine now becomes “extra”-famous for this incident.
    In the same way that whenever I hear about Dalibor Sames I can’t avoid immediately thinking about Bengu Sezen and the retracted JACS papers.
    That happens instantaneously and regardless of any enquiries, investigations or even acquittances. “Reputations are hard to build, but very easy to break”.

  136. Chemical JUSTICE Says:

    @Dave Fernig Says:

    Very good points indeed and definitely deserve some PI’s to take of their glasses and train their grads!

    If the grad was properly instructed then it can do the job and be a really good team player, though if they did not and PI’s pressurising them for imaginary results, then we have such a pity outcomes…

  137. Alfio Says:

    I would like to leave a really general comment, unrelated with this specific case.
    Universities are supposed primarly to teach rather than publish. However there are only few universities that offer courses of “Ethic in Science” for students.
    PI’s are supposed to manage people and money, however it’s really rare the case in which a professor in Science decide to take a course in management, to better lead his/her group.

  138. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    I find this post absolutely useless in this current day research. Everyone is manipulating NMR and IR spectra (removing impurities). See these fckng Chinese papers. They are all filled with nonsense data. Why not retract their papers? They are publishing some of the worst manipulations ever. Some of them are even Sci-Fi manipulations.

    Such people who are blaming others, must understand: Those who are living in glass homes, must not throw stones on homes of other people.

    By this post, only the targeted person got insulted. What did the person who wrote this post achieve? Some self EGO problems solved? Why this person who ever he is not interested in making his stuff proper rather than spoiling names of other well accomplished people? Jealousy?

    Get life man. You shall not achieve anything by defaming others. One day you will be defamed the same way. Time is gonna come soon. Don’t worry.

    Why is the author of this post only targeting certain very accomplished researcher?

    Why not target those fckng Chinese articles which are manipulated and plagiarized from first word to the last?

    Get some life man. You need to start living. Life is too short to trouble people.

    Understand this. You must have got some fancy degrees but your humanity quotient is -100.

    I felt pity for the great researcher you have targeted in your post. Otherwise I would had never given shit to such bullshit posts.

    Have some human aspects to yourself man. Have you ever realized what can be repercussions of your this kiddish post?

    The image of the authors will be tarnished. Have sympathy man.

    Do you have friends? I don’t think so.

    Just think if similar allegation would have been written for you, how would you feel?

    You felt you would achieve some ‘martyr’ status after posting this idiotic, inhuman post?

    Empty and Jealous minds make the most noise.

    Don’t worry, some day you are going to face similar allegations. Dont worry, it may not ONLY be with respect to research. GOD knows how to level off people like you who are jobless and just have one work—to defame others.

    My honest suggestion to you: Wake up in morning, see morning sun, smell eth flowers, eat some good food, make some friends, go for some holidays—-rather than defaming others.

  139. Paul Bracher Says:

    Great comment. A+

    Can you link to a few of “these fckng Chinese papers” that are “filled with nonsense data” and “some of the worst manipulations ever”?

  140. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    To err is human!!! Only a person who has heart can understand this. I am really feeling bad for the great Prof. who has been mentioned in this post.

    And why do you think I will tell you which papers I am refering to? I am NOT interested in spoiling lives of people. I have other more important stuff to do in life rather than spoiling lives of people.

    Did you not make mistake in your life ever? Ask your heart. If you were humiliated similarly, what would happen to you?

    If someone cant make other person happy, atleast in the name of Christ, dont give tham sadness and tears.

    Making people cry is very easy, but to make them happy and give hope is damn difficult, isnt it?

    So please search every paper on this earth and then keep on posting what wrong you find in them.

    All the best with your search or as they call witch hunt for papers!!! What you feel how many papers can you cover in your whole life? [I mean how many people can you defame in your whole life?]

    I wonder how much wrong you would be finding in people around you!!!

    See the tears in eyes of other people too.

    I know young profs. are very excited in their lives and they want to get new grants. But at what cost? Defaming others?

    Mark my words, after 10 years you yourself will feel ashamed of what has been done.

    Rather than blaming someone, some researcher could had published in Nature or Science to get good publicity and very good grants rather than getting famous on tears and sadness of other human.

    May GOD bless such people!!! Amen!!!

  141. Paul Bracher Says:

    Say that you discovered someone was leaving bowel movements on lawns in your neighborhood. You wouldn’t tell your neighbors to watch out for the guy? You’d just let him keep doing it because you don’t want to ruin his life?

    From what I understand, you’d walk past the poo, not clean it up, and spend your time planting flowers instead.

    My reaction would be to report the poo and make sure it gets cleaned up so nobody comes along and steps in it.

  142. Anonymous Says:

    Paul Bracher Says: Can you link to a few of “these fckng Chinese papers” that are “filled with nonsense data” and “some of the worst manipulations ever”?

    Just Some Chemist Says:
    August 26th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
    @ Toki: I took a look at it, and just looked at the final compound and looked over the 1H NMR’s. The spectra provided looks like selected blowups of a miniscule amount of material. I don’t agree with their assignments, and I’m seriously questioning if they got the title compound 1. I also question the shimming on that 500 MHz magnet of theirs. I’m not going to rip into them, as that whole project looked like hell (both for the student and the data reported).

  143. Dave Fernig Says:

    “Reply to the most idiotic post ever”, not sure why you need to invoke the metaphysical (God) in a discusion about science. Fait has nothing to do with it.
    i would suggest first watching the short YouTube video of Richard Feynman on “scientific method”. Then you might start to understand. It doesn’t matter who you are, when it is wrong (whatever the reason, honest mistake or misconduct) it is wrong.

    As for this excellent posting, I would point you to history, specifically 1930s and 1940s in Europe and after considering this, think of pastor Niemoller’s famous words (I quote)

    “First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    So yes,standing up and being counted is also part of science, as it is in all democratic social and cultural processes.
    Report the poo, it is not just unpleasant, but you may just save a small child’s life if the poo carried a dangerous disease.

  144. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    What did I just read?

    You comparing ‘poo’ to ‘life of real people’?

    I fail to understand how a scientist can compare ‘poo’ to ‘real life’?

    I cant stop laughing at your analogies.

    Please please, life of that Prof. is not a ‘poo’….

    This post is not of a ‘poo’ being cleaned. This is about careers and lives of people.

    Just think (if you can feel, even feel this) what would be happening to them who are a part of this post? Do they not have families? Is their blood not red? Do they not shed tears when they cry? They are humans too, like you and me.

    Only a tender heart will feel how others can feel by their reactions.

    ‘Poo’ can be cleaned up easily…it will go away someday…how do you get back ‘respect’ to someone?

    Even if you give a billion dollars to someone, their respect wont come back.

    See ‘respect’ is something which is precious to ANYONE in this world…

    Probably you don’t have a pet around you. If a pet is insulted/hurt, their self respect gets hurt too (only a person who has a pet will understand this)

    It needs tender heart to understand this analogy.

    And please give some real examples rather than comparing ‘poo’ to a ‘person’.

    I can understand what will be in the mind of a person when he/she can stoop to a level of comparing ‘poo’ to ‘a real human’

    Inhumanity personified…..

    Till when I don’t feel strongly for some thing I never comment and waste my time….I am strongly not in favor of this ‘defaming’ post…

    Just feed some animals who are hungry, help people who need support. Seeing their tears can melt anyone who have heart.

    Those who get everything on a silver spoon, tend to think too high of themselves and start feeling others are of no worth.

    This is the point when they start sliding down in life.

    Jesus is there!!! Don’t worry!!! I am feeling from my heart for the person defamed.

    I have read posts from all great scientists in support of this post, but they must think what if they were in place of this respected Prof? How would they feel if they faced the same sting!!!

    I shall always be against this inhuman post. No amount of arguments can change my opinion.

    This question is for all great scientists who have condemned some ‘human being’: Are you clean? Have you never committed any sin ever in your whole life? What if you faced this inhuman treatment? People can take drastic steps when humiliated in public. Just think what will be state of mind of the person who has been defamed in this post. Is the person not a human?

    And please do not give comparison between a ‘poo’ and a ‘real human’. No defamation can be compared to any thing in this world.

  145. Simon Higgins Says:

    ‘I stopped looking at NMR data of my co-workers a long time ago…’, says a previous commentator in this thread. I’m afraid that says a lot about modern attitudes among PI’s. People spend so much time chasing grant money, hob-nobbing with their peers at international conferences and generally blowing their own trumpet for the sake of building their little empires that they think they are too senior to do such a trivial task as ensuring that research on which they are corresponding author is actually correct. Students, even postdocs, make mistakes, even setting aside the possibility of dishonesty. Personally, I am fed up with reading research papers in so-called high impact journals that are highly dubious, and presumably only made it into print between those hallowed covers because the referees gave the paper the benefit of the doubt because of the reputation (scientific or perhaps political) of the corresponding author(s). Marketing is taking over from scientific rigour. Now, I agree that there is a difference between synthetic chemists (incompetently) editing out their solvent peaks to get a nicer NMR spectrum, and just making stuff up, but it’s only a matter of scale. 30-odd years ago, I postdoc’ed for someone I regarded at the time as a pedantic pain in the backside because he wouldn’t publish anything unless he was utterly convinced that every compound, even the most unstable organometallic, was pure and fully characterised, and the text of the paper was the bare description of what had been achieved, no speculation about future applications, significance, etc. Maybe he was right; perhaps it’s time to go back to that ethic.

  146. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    to Dave

    Tell me, are scientists not humans? Did you never make any mistake in your life?

    Do not worry, GOD is omnipresent…At the Judgement Day, he going to give all things back….don’t worry….

    You and I are alive is due to HIM…

    I cant understand the mind set some scientists have acquired after these many years….see smile and tears in eyes of a child…If that does not melt you, nothing in this world can….Remain as you are….I am scared to say, science has removed HUMANITY from some people….

  147. Paul Bracher Says:

    @…most idiotic post ever:

    The poo = fabricated data
    Pooing in the yard = defacing the scientific record

    And I’m done with you. I really hope you are just trolling this thread and are not a “real” scientist. Your lack of reason is troubling.

  148. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ Paul

    Yes, since you cant reply to my honest concerns, you wrote “I’m done with you”.

    By the way, I am a scientist (who is even a human- strictly not in human)

    And yeh, some day those who have defamed someone shall also be defamed…..GOD levels everyone off….

    Yeh the way I am reasoning will trouble you, since you have also understood that you have defamed someone….and now you have no way to cover it and thus you are continuing it….accept you could had done something else rather than publicly defaming someone!!!!

    And yeh, I am not interested in ‘just trolling’ some threads like you.

    I do not poke nose in some matters which tend to be of no value.

    Just think what will be condition of the person defamed?

    Can you still not feel what has been done by you?

    Now you may be on a career high and thus this stuff has been posted.

    But don’t worry, when someday you will be low in life (this happens with everyone), the same scientists and people who are supporting you, will criticize you badly.

    Remember my words.

    And “you are done with me” is not the way a scientist will react to some situation…

    Then how do you reply to reviewer comments? Shrugging them off?

    It is called as “escapist behavior to truth” Not able to face truth anymore?

    Truth= this post has spoiled lives!!!

    I can just pity your mindset!!!

    You could had taken some other stance rather than publicly defaming someone is what I am trying to tell you, and you are firm with your stance. If you are firm with your opinion, I know I am correct and I can’t be in agreement of posts which defame others publicly!!!

    Thank GOD I don’t have such mindset.

  149. Ethic_tac Says:

    @…most idiotic post ever.

    These are interesting posts… There is just one point that I did not understand. You are upset because Paul Bracher pointed out some weird NMR spectra published in scientific articles and you blame him for insulting a very accomplished scientist. However, you also explain that “… these fckng Chinese papers. They are all filled with nonsense data”. So, is it ok to insult thousands of Chinese scientists, to tarnish their reputation by insinuating that they all do bad science? Are racist stereotypes acceptable? Since you wrote that “… I can’t be in agreement of posts which defame others publicly!!!”, I do hope that you disagree with your own post.

  150. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    Ethic_tac hello.

    I just mean to tell that why insult some prof. publicly?

    There are ‘n’ number of scientists from all nations in this world [some country was named only as an example nothing else-I clarified my point-no racial slur against anyone-if someone is hurt, I had no intentions]

    I just want to tell that rather than insulting some particular Prof. and spoiling the career.

    That was applicable to EVERY person.

    You cant insult some ‘xyz’ Prof. publicly.

    If you read any of my further lines, you will understand what I mean.

    Just think what if you were in place of this Prof?

    You just selectively saw my posts Ethic_tac.

    You did not see the honesty I am trying to portray.

    What if tomorrow you become the target of such defamations?

    This behavior is simply unacceptable [clarification: Behavior of Publicly defaming any ‘xyz’ person. Even if the person would not be accomplished, I would be against this public defaming]

    Thank you for pointing out my inadvertant mistake @ Ethic_tic

  151. Paul Bracher Says:

  152. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    Good smiley, must say…

  153. Ethic_tac Says:

    most idiotic post ever:
    You probably saw the note that Janine Cossy (the professor that has been attacked, according to you) added to Organic Letters. She mentioned the following: “I reach out here with the hope that all readers might learn from this experience as I certainly have.”
    I believe that the first goal of any scientist is to learn something new. So, for me, Janine Cossy is most likely grateful to Paul Bracher for pointing out the problem, since she learns something from it.
    You know, I see strong similarities between the stories Paul Bracher raised in his blog and the story of the naked king (you probably know the story).
    So would I like to be the naked king, walking among the people without knowing that I am naked ? I would, of course, be very embarrassed if someone points out that I do not wear anything, but I will rather be grateful to the person would pointed it out, because at least, it would give me a chance to put on some clothes and to prove that I am a good king, instead of walking naked all day long because nobody would dare to hurt my feelings.

  154. Ethic_tac Says:

    As a final note, I would say that when Paul Bracher points to the moon, I would rather not be looking at his finger !!

  155. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    Ethic_tac, yes I had already seen that one which you told me “I reach out here with….”.

    I was moved with the lines written. This is the reason I am spending my time here.

    Ethic_tac, you are absolutely correct. Prof. wrote that.

    But you and I and everyone on this forum knows what must be the state of mind while writing it.

    It was written, but will tht Prof. be happy for entire life?

    What about the scar due to this public humiliation?

    You further wrote

    “You know, I see strong similarities between the stories Paul Bracher raised in his blog and the story of the naked king (you probably know the story).
    So would I like to be the naked king, walking among the people without knowing that I am naked ? I would, of course, be very embarrassed if someone points out that I do not wear anything, but I will rather be grateful to the person would pointed it out, because at least, it would give me a chance to put on some clothes and to prove that I am a good king, instead of walking naked all day long because nobody would dare to hurt my feelings.”

    Ethic_tac please read the story carefully.

    What has been done in this present post is completely hostile.

    The king has been told he is naked and then posted it online so that even others know that the king is naked.

    The king could have been told that he is naked just whispering in his ears so that next time this is not an issue.

    Why make a public display for the king? And further insult the king by creating an online blog for it?

    This has shocked me.

    Think about the insults which will be faced by king constantly.

    OK if a person does mistake (everyone does it), there is a way to tell them.

    If someone is hurt by their colleagues, it does not mean we go on International media and post it.

    People have emotions too.

    Rather than openly making a blog for defaming some person, some other stance could had been EASILY taken which would not publicly humiliate someone (and still convey what was needed).

    This is all what my point is Ethic_tac.

  156. Nightshift Says:

    What the main author of the paper did was deliberate and not just the OL paper but in several others as well. He really did it on purpose, don’t you agree? The authors put out these papers in journals for the world to see. Are they not deceiving the scientific community as a whole? Should the scientific community act ever so lightly on them to avoid hurting their emotions? We are mature people and not children, who can be in utmost circumstances be excused of what they did because, well, children are like that sometimes. Publishing papers binds authors to a responsibility. What you want is a whisper… a silent under-the-table trick… so that a career that stands on manipulated data would not be tarnished. Excuse me, we no longer live in the heydays of king and queens.

  157. Special Guest Lecturer Says:

    Well, this thread certainly took a turn for the weird.

  158. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ Nightlife…just reply to this question:

    If you were the main point of this post, what would be the affect on your mind?

    No doubt we are scientists, but are we not humans too?

    You are missing out on the human element.

    I am not telling what was done has to be done again. However, tell me have you never committed any sin EVER?

    Just tell me, what would happen to your life if you were blamed for some mistake you did?

    Have heart for such people who are being targeted.

    I know someday all will level out.

    What if you see that someone ‘xyz’ has written about your articles and dissected them into pieces? Will you be happy.

    And you mentioned “…so that a career that stands on manipulated data would not be tarnished.”

    Tell me one person in this field (probably except yourself) who is 100% clean?

    You are not getting my point still. My stance is not against someone being told he/she is wrong. My stance is that making it open for a ‘public humiliation’ is totally inhuman.

    If you have some severe flu, will the Dr. kill you? Or will he try to cure you?

    Curing and Healing is more important. Even if something was done on purpose, there are ways to solve it rather than making the thing international.

    This post is about killing and demoralizing some human from within.

    That is not ‘right’ and that is no ones ‘right’.

  159. KSH Says:

    @most idiotic post – two can play this game:

    But why would you tell Paul Bracher what an idiotic post he did?

    Don’t you realize how you that would make him feel?

    Do you consider the hurt you are causing him by telling him that? How do you think it will make his family feel, when they realize what a terrible bully he is? And why would you tell him that on an open internet forum? You could just “whisper it in his ear”.

    Paul Bracher is also a person with feelings. And red blood. Don’t you realize that you look at the same moon?

    Do you really want to spend your life correcting people and putting them down? Have you never done a mistake in your life? Or committed a sin?

    And so on and so forth……

  160. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:


    You told the author of this post is a “bully”. I never told that.

    You keep on covering the author of this post for his in human treatment for another human.

    Only since I found this post utter rubbish and ‘inhuman’ thus I wrote about this post.

    If some human being was not defamed openly, I would had not written my stance.

    You can write the same stuff what I wrote. It means you are also supporting cruel treatment to humans?

    I would in fact love to see how a person who are supporting this rubbish post feel when they are defamed by some young person who wants to garner some fake attention.

    Nothing else.

    If the author of this post had feelings, that person would not have acted maturely and not criticized any other ‘xyz’ human on a public forum.

    Don’t worry, for now those who have tried to tarnish the image of some ‘xyz’ person INTERNATIONALLY, are also going to face this ‘SOMEDAY’ in their life…..

    And I guarantee, in those ‘bad’ times NO one is going to support them.

    I again come to the same thing: If a patient is ill, will a Dr. kill him/her?

    I have seen a family whose one of the family members had cancer. Family knew he is dying. But they stood by him.

    KSH I am just telling this post is rubbish since it has made fun in order to defame some human being may be out of kiddishness or to get fame (any fame is good one. Some people would try to get into ‘Science’ and get famous, some people get famous at the expense of other’s pain).

    I still wish best for the targeted people in this post!!!!

    KSH you told me all other things which I told in my previous posts, you never replied to:

    “Whether you are clean?”

    Reply to this question of mine please.

  161. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Hey Paul, I think Bruno found your blog. Without much effort, you can guess who I think he is.

  162. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ Just Some Chemist, you think anyone who does not support this blog is one of the people defamed? WOW!!!
    I cant stop laughing…

    My basis is humanity…in none of my posts, I have even mentioned names of the people involved (neither the author of this post nor those who are targeted)

    Please do not start blaming someone again….

  163. @most idiotic post Says:

    “Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, or traducement—is the communication of a FALSE statement that harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation”

    Nothing Paul said posted was false, so stop using the word defamation.

    And really, this is the majors, humanity and people’s careers aside, and it gets played by major league rules, or you’re out, often with only one strike……..NO EXCEPTIONS!

  164. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    I never mentioned the name of anyone who has ‘defamed’ someone.

    I wont tell the statement is FALSE….It is SELECTIVE (targetted towards ONLY one person)….

    You even wrote: “NO EXCEPTIONS!”

    This is perfect.

    I am agreeing to you.

    But why target only one person is my point!!!

    Since the author of this post knows, if this post was for all scientists, this author would not be able to show face to anyone….

    Author has played safe….target one person to get famous….let them have pain (may be someone ‘xyz’ person rejected the paper)

    Just get famous….

    There is no motive except becoming famous by hurting and bruising other..

    BTW, even you have not replied to my basic question: “Have you not commited any sin ever? And what if your sin went internationally? Will you want this to happen?”

  165. @most idiotic post Says:

    Yes, Paul now famous. Much riches him get.

    And BTW, I spent well over a month back in grad school working 16 hour days to get compounds pure for publication, rerunning reactions, repurifying, working to get it right.

    So to answer your questions, if I did what this “Ph.D” did, I probably wouldn’t want it get out; however, since I am not of his ilk I cannot comment on the dark and secret places of someone like that. I would be absolutely deserving of it, though and I wouldn’t cry about and I am happy to see that he isn’t either.

    As far as pointing out only one person. To my understanding, this blog isn’t a government-funded search and destroy operation with the goal of seeking out all shotty data and bringing the corresponding authors to justice. Sometimes you can only find one at a time and usually by accident. I really don’t think this is personal, so you kinda need to chill.

    and should this be brought up internationally….? hmm….Well, they published in a peer-reviewed international journal that is run by the American Chemical Society….so, yes it does.

  166. @most idiotic post Says:

    I’d prefer to put it another way.

    Ask yourself this: Is this the sort of person you would want running QC in drug manufacturing, setting guidelines for the EPA or FDA, helping to run clinical trials, preparing materials for children’s toys or biomedical devices?

    Someone who is ok with covering up their ineptitude all for the greater glory of their publication record should not be allowed to participate in any of the above. They should be exposed and the PI that “trained” them should be exposed as well so that this does not keep happening.

  167. anon Says:

    I have to thank ChemBark for sequestering RTTMIP and giving he/she/kittie something to do so that kittie doesn’t spend as much time doing anything harmful (like writing papers).

  168. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @most idiotic post

    “So to answer your questions, if I did what this “Ph.D” did, I probably wouldn’t want it get out; however, since I am not of his ilk I cannot comment on the dark and secret places of someone like that. I would be absolutely deserving of it, though and I wouldn’t cry about and I am happy to see that he isn’t either.”

    So just chill!!! You replied to your own problem properly. You would not want it out. But, some day if it does, don’t feel bad since you are supporting an absurd post.

    Don’t worry, such times too will come.

    You just can’t feel anything since you may have never ever been defamed in your life…

    “and should this be brought up internationally….? hmm….Well, they published in a peer-reviewed international journal that is run by the American Chemical Society….so, yes it does.”

    I understand this is international? But journal has done its job already, why on this earth this blog was needed? Just to tell people “See I am the real martyr. I am lone warrior? See what I can do. Be scared of me.” LOL. A child does this.

    This is all fake stuff man, just to get fake fame. If you support such things, keep on doing it. Cant help your thinking…Sorry….

  169. @most idiotic post Says:

    “….and Paul will strike down with great vengeance and furious anger on those that attempt to poison and destroy my brother. And you will know, my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

    “Shouldn’t you be out ledge somewhere?” – Jerry Seinfeld

  170. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @most idiotic post…Keep on replying my real posts with funny things…..cant help your thinking buddy!!! tc

  171. Just Some Chemist Says:

    “Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    September 4th, 2013 at 9:29 AM
    @ Just Some Chemist, you think anyone who does not support this blog is one of the people defamed? WOW!!!
    I cant stop laughing…”

    Nope, I just think your self-righteous, highly defensive, hypocritical attitude makes you suspicious. By the way, you sure aren’t acting lke you’re saved, you’re just trolling.

    Let’s put this more clearly for you – you know how Jesus said to His disciples how they will be able to tell the state of someone’s heart by their actions? Same goes for chemistry, except it’s “you will know your fellow chemist’s ability by the quality of their work.” When someone publishes in well-known chemistry journals and reports data that is doctored, they are putting themselves at risk of being exposed. To get self-righteous and defensive at being exposed for being dishonest is highly hypocritical. Now, when reporting on this, of course careful considerations must be made – this is somoene’s career we’re talking about. In a case like this, however, where the data manipulation has been proven to be egregious, what kind of defense can be made for it? None. A quality standard must be kept.

    The ONLY point you have made so far was whether or not this should have been reported on without getting comments from the authors first or contact them. Well, guess what – Paul contacted the authors of these papers first and in the cases where he got the scoop first, he either received no reply or some skirt-around response. Now, since you seem to be trying to evangelize here, let me ask (and answer for) you – even from a New Testament perspective, what does Jesus say about rebuking someone? First, in private. If that doesn’t work, get others involved, even up to the point of getting the congregation involved in helping the person turn away from sin. Paul privately contacted these people first, and either received no response or some b.s. response. Now, Paul is getting the chemistry community involved to get this addressed. Even from a Biblical standpoint (regardless of whether or not Paul is a Christian), your arguments are holding absolutely no water.

    Now, I suggest you go find some other site to troll, as this is the first and last time the likes of you will be responded to. If you really claim to be a Christian on top of it all, I highly suggest you do some self-examination, because brother you need it.

  172. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    Hey Just Some Chemist…I think you dont know what you replying to….lol…..

    my point is that this post is a complete fake and has been made just to get some sort of cheap publicity to advance the career……

    Everyone knows the reason behind this defaming post but since everyone here is a friend of author, they are not able to accept the truth.

    dont post funny replies please…

    Since I am the only one able to write truth, you are telling I am trolling….

    Stand for some truth man….this SELECTIVE (targeted towards only one great Prof.) defamation post (to enhance someone’s career) is the worst thing I have read…..

  173. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Ok, so this last post made it clear – this guy is either a friend/family member of Cossy’s or a current/former student of Cossy’s. Well, the truth is this: Bruno doctored data that Cossy obviously didn’t look at, it got into multiple journals, and it got exposed by Paul and others who actually looked at the data and dissected it in Adobe. Sorry Cossy fanboy, but you’re wrong, and you’re doing Cossy a HUGE disservice by going on here and spewing garbage about how Paul is defaming Cossy to further his own career. He’s not. Cossy herself admitted she let Bruno upload the SI on his own and that it was irresponsible of her to have done that. End of story.

  174. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    Just Some Chemist u sure a PhD student….Who told you I am related to some person involved in this post? You are friend of the author of this post and thus making up false arguments…I have never named any person….my basis is about any ‘xyz’ person. You need to understand what you are writing.

    You make assumptions very easily. LOL.

    Some person has defamed other.

  175. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Cossy fanboy, I’m not friends with Paul. I’ve never met him. Stop whining.

  176. KSH Says:

    @Reply to the…..

    I was trying to make a point about the way you argue. If you haven’t noticed, people on here tend to either not agree with you or not bother discussing with you. I tried to make similar arguments as you – putting words in peoples mouth and making points based on “feelings” – or rather how you imagine the discussed authors feel (which is one of the reason people/I suspect you know one of them). If you could make arguments based on logic and reason instead, I think that people would take you seriously and not assume that you are just trolling (if you are not familiar with this term, see

    I have copied your post and will make a point by point answer:

    RTTMIPE: You told the author of this post is a “bully”. I never told that.
    KSH: I was being sarcastic. However, I insist that although you don’t call him a bully, you are basically accusing him of bullying behaviour. Likewise, in another post, you are saying that you never mentioned the names of the one that is defaming someone else, but it is obvious what you are referring to. So please stand by what you are saying and man up a little bit instead of hiding behind the fact that you are making vague arguments.

    RTTMIPE: You keep on covering the author of this post for his in human treatment for another human.
    KSH: I don’t believe I did. I made fun of the way you argue, because I basically don’t think it makes any sense (see above). But if you want to know my stance on this, I think it is ridiculous to claim that Paul Bracher (whom I have no relation to by the way – just in case you are going down that road) has treated the authors “inhumanely”.

    RTTMIPE: Only since I found this post utter rubbish and ‘inhuman’ thus I wrote about this post.
    RTTMIPE: If some human being was not defamed openly, I would had not written my stance.
    KSH: Yeah, that is your opinion, which I don’t agree with.

    RTTMIPE: You can write the same stuff what I wrote. It means you are also supporting cruel treatment to humans?
    KSH: Now, that is a stretch, don’t you think? Once again, you are projecting an opinion on someone. Like I said, I was making a point your way of arguing. How you can deduce from what I wrote that I support cruel treatment of humans, I really can’t take serious.

    RTTMIPE: I would in fact love to see how a person who are supporting this rubbish post feel when they are defamed by some young person who wants to garner some fake attention.
    Nothing else.
    KSH: Like somebody else said, Paul Bracher does not seem to have any secret agenda. He has been running this blog for a long time, discussing all sorts of scientific issues, including the scientific fraud. Is a chemistry blog the perfect place to discuss this? Probably not! But since universities and journals seem to be more busy with covering their own asses, I believe it is the best place at our disposal at this time.

    RTTMIPE:: If the author of this post had feelings, that person would not have acted maturely and not criticized any other ‘xyz’ human on a public forum.
    Don’t worry, for now those who have tried to tarnish the image of some ‘xyz’ person INTERNATIONALLY, are also going to face this ‘SOMEDAY’ in their life…..
    KSH: Well, if somebody has commited unethical scientific behaviour then they will hopefully have to deal with the consequences one day. I don’t think the majority has a problem with that. Most people actually try to do proper science. That is how it should be – we should encourage ethical scientific behaviour.

    RTTMIPE: And I guarantee, in those ‘bad’ times NO one is going to support them.
    KSH: Fair enough!

    RTTMIPE: I again come to the same thing: If a patient is ill, will a Dr. kill him/her?
    KSH: Your comparison here is way of the mark. If you want to compare it to illness, then a more appropiate analogy is that scientific fraud is like a virus that should be identified, exposed and removed before it spreads.

    RTTMIPE: I have seen a family whose one of the family members had cancer. Family knew he is dying. But they stood by him.
    KSH: Yes of course. That has absolutely nothing to do with commiting scientific fraud though.

    RTTMIPE: KSH I am just telling this post is rubbish since it has made fun in order to defame some human being may be out of kiddishness or to get fame (any fame is good one. Some people would try to get into ‘Science’ and get famous, some people get famous at the expense of other’s pain).
    KSH: Made fun? It pointed out and investigated something that looked very suspicious. Once again, I don’t agree with your theory that Paul Bracher is doing it for personal gain. On the contrary, he risks pissing off some very powerful people in the scientific community by pointing out stuff like this.

    RTTMIPE: I still wish best for the targeted people in this post!!!!
    RTTMIPE: KSH you told me all other things which I told in my previous posts, you never replied to:
    RTTMIPE: “Whether you are clean?”
    RTTMIPE: Reply to this question of mine please.

    KSH: If I am clean? It depends on what you mean by that. If your asking if I ever commited a sin in my life or something like that, then of course I’m not clean. But every time somebody called me out on a mistake I made I stood by what I did and dealt with the situation, because it was my responsibility.
    If you are asking whether I am “scientificaly clean”, then I will not hesitate to say yes. I am a grad student, who has co-authored 4 publications. I have never faked a yield, manipulated analytical data or anything of that sort. I am convinced that if you look at the data in my publications, it will be possible to find a mistake, an impure spectrum or whatever (not many, since in our group every co-author, incl. prof. checks the SI before submission), however I have never intentionally published anything wrong and I am convinced my work can be reproduced. So yes, my conscience is clean!

    And by the way, I agree with what Just some chemist is saying.

  177. ChemFan Says:

    I think at some point you have to put a stop to this witch hunt and social media bullying. Highlighting the issue is one thing but letting this sort of thing go on is frankly deplorable and nothing short of a group herd mentality witchhunt.

  178. George Smiley Says:

    I normally just read, I feel no need to comment, but today I thought I would chime in.

    @Reply to the most idiotic post ever

    Hi, welcome to science. This is where we attempt to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Misleading information tends to slow that down. If you publish crap, you get crap. This is no different than any other job. I am sorry you are too impaired/slow/dysfunctional to understand this. I hope you one day are able to comprehend this and can move forward with your life and leave threads unspammed with rubbish and in some way productive.

  179. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @KSH. First of all congrats to you for your four publications.

    The way you wrote your comments I was feeling I am reading “Reply to a reviewer’s comments”.

    Your point:
    I was trying to make a point about the way you argue. If you haven’t noticed, people on here tend to either not agree with you or not bother discussing with you.

    My: People do not agree with me since they wanna prove they are honest. LOL. This is fact buddy.

    If people on this post are not bothered discussing about my genuine posts, then why did you write a comment and reply as long as a JACS article?

    Your: I tried to make similar arguments as you – putting words in peoples mouth and making points based on “feelings” – or rather how you imagine the discussed authors feel (which is one of the reason people/I suspect you know one of them).
    My: If one day such person who has written this post, wakes up in morning. Takes your paper. And starts to dissect it. Is it gonna be good?

    Your: If you could make arguments based on logic and reason instead, I think that people would take you seriously and not assume that you are just trolling.
    My: See if your opinions dont match with that of mine, you call it trolling? WOW!!! That is a very good way to tell things. It meand no one can give their honest opinion.

    You dont want to see things from other angle, just because you are not in that frame still.

    [This post still is the most dehumanizing post I have seen. No arguments can change my opinion. You will realize my words after 10 years buddy]

    Where is this rule that someone who STRONGLY feels about something should not voice their opinion? I have my opinions, if someone does not want to agree its their birth right.

    I like your patience stating you committed sin which you keep on explaining to any Tom, Dick and Harry who ask you about some sin you committed.

    Did that sin bring your life to a point of stigma and social disgrace? I dont think so. Otherwise, you would not be in a state to write such a long reply (buddy…understand, minds stop working when such an INTERNATIONAL defamation occurs on ANY ‘xyz’ person)

    My only point is there is no humanity and maturity left in dealing with problems within some people.

    See, if it was ANY ‘xyz’ person my stance would be same.

    Man, you wrote very well. I know you can understand things. Think and feel about the ‘humanity’ aspect too. If you cant, sorry…I can’t explain this anymore……

    However, always remember: It is very easy to tarnish image of a King!!! (you will realize this once you get some very good position as a full time Prof.)

  180. Cu-NHC Says:

    RTTMIP, are you perchance Bruno’s girlfriend (or wife), because you’re putting forward rather girlish arguments: too little critical thinking, too much emotions. In any case, religion completely off the table, I’d suggest you man up, life may be just or unjust but it’s up to you to forge it for the better, and all the choices are yours. Or Bruno’s.

    To any and everybody following the discussion: the career in organic chemistry is nowadays competitive as never and tough enough without us jumping down each other’s throats. Shall we perhaps instead offer some suggestions on how to better act in case you find yourself one day in such distress:
    1) assuming you are a young assistant professor, and have overlooked your student’s BS which made its way into the paper and stayed unnoticed until someone else finally paid attention to it? Or say you’ve been there for a while having a reputable group, and once it just slipped somehow and is out there tarnishing your reputation – what would you do now that it’s happened?
    2) saying you’re a co-author, a visiting student who’s done part of the job, a physician or biologist knowing little about chemistry, or a person who started the project shortly before leaving it to finish to someone he or his advisor had thought trustworthy – how to best deal with it?
    3) saying you were the perpetrator faking the data (knowingly or simply by not understanding when the red line in research ethics is crossed), what are your options at the very beginning of your career? Your former colleagues are justly mad at you, but you know now you can do better than that – how and where to begin?

  181. Just Some Chemist Says:

    1) Investigate it to see if the claims are actually true and backed by the data. If they are, do an addition/correction to correct the errors made by the grad student (if the error in the data is not egregious). If they are not, do the ethical thing and retract the paper.

    2) Depends. If you’re an undergrad during that time, it won’t affect you 9 times out of 10. If you’re a rotating grad student/post-doc/visiting scholar, you contact the PI and find out what the heck is going on!

    3) If you faked data, your career is toast. Accept it, and find a different career. Nobody will hire someone who fakes data. Basically, you have to accept full responsibility.

  182. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @Cu-NHC…I have already told many times I have no relation with anyone mentioned in this post….all I am against is publicly de-faming someone…No one can stop me in taking some stance which I know can spoil many lives…let the journal do its stuff (some people must not act like GOD)…

    If you find my comments girlish, it is your though process and your problem. If I write according to what you want, I am correct. Otherwise I am wrong? WOW!!! Great.

    This post is similar when in school a child needs attention, the child will first try to do good work and when he understands that nothing much he can do with only hard work (infact he never did hard work, he just was under an illusion he did hard work), he starts throwing tantrums to garner attention. He does this by hitting or spoiling name of the person who always tops the class.

    Child needs ATTENTION.

    My real point is “Things can be done maturely-without spoiling lives.”

    Just tell me, when someone will be on his/her death bed, will they be thinking about the citations they had, papers they published, papers they rejected?

    No. That time they will be thinking and telling sorry too all of those whom they have hurt in this life.

    Leave it, you wont ever understand my points.

    Tell me if you are married/have a girl friend, and you have a fight due to some indifference, will you go to International media and post your grievances?

    This may help one party but will shatter the other emotionally (GOD knows what can be the condition of the other)…

    I have seen many papers retracted but I have never seen some person who pointed out the mistake go on an International forum and post it. (It is immature, selfish, devastating, dehumanizing act according to me).

  183. girl in industry Says:

    Can we please not call lack of critical thinking “girlish”? While RTTMIPE may be displaying traits that are stereotypically attributed to silly little girls, calling an arguement with little thought behind it girlish doesn’t help the very accomplished women struggling against good ol’ boy prejudice.

  184. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Riiiiight, be “mature” about it and sweep it all under the rug quietly because we all know what happens when nobody speaks up about this stuff… Entire careers of innocent researchers get ruined because their work is based on falsified data. I’d rather have people speaking up about this in a public forum than have the same garbage continue, where you aren’t even able to trust papers from well-established groups!

  185. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ girl in industry…mind your words !!! I am putting my point. If you dont like them, just dont comment anything on ‘traits’. Let your boy friend face such allegations and see his reactions. He will turn into real ‘sissy’ behavior.

    I am still in support of the targeted person in this post. Anyone can speak any thing against me. I dont care. My stance is NEVER gonna change.

  186. Just Some Chemist Says:

    Anyone who supports what Bruno Anxionnat did with his data shouldn’t be in science, period. What Cossy did in letting Anxionnat upload his own SI without first reviewing that exacy SI that was to be uploaded, was dangerous and irresponsible and it burned her. I sincerely hope she learned from her error, and I hope other do too. As I mentioned before, I met Cossy, heard her talk, and I have respect for her as a scientist. That doesn’t change the fact that she needs to address blatant issues in her research group.

  187. Idontunderstand Says:

    I know this will fall on deaf ears… This guy Bruno falsified data and then published it for all to read and (maybe) even try to repeat. Someone finally looked at it critically and discovered his deception. How do you defend that? If you’re going to cheat, don’t get upset if you get caught. Don’t get upset at the guy/girl who uncovered the dishonesty.

  188. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @Just Some Chemist and Idontunderstand , I am again repeating. I am not in support of any cheating.

    I am just telling that why only one person is targeted?
    Also, when the author of this post informed the editor of the OL about it, why did he want to make it International?

    He wanted to prove that the data is falsified. Fine. Good. He did it by telling it to Editor. No problems. That is good.

    But what was the need to make it public? To get some attention like a small kid who gets a ‘star’ on a report card, shows it to all?

    The author of this post I think is mature enough that such public display will destroy lives.

    This I am repeating in every post of mine.

    Again: I am not against the author of this post pointing out the mistake. However, making it public and posting it at a place where everyone can get their frustration out on one single human being is an ‘in human act’.

    Fine, someone committed a mistake, it does not mean we start showing the whole world.

    I still agree:

    a) Showing mistake to editor was great thing
    b) Displaying the mistake to the world media, was an utter rubbish decision which can destroy and devastate any human being.

    Point a) was done for science. I respect that.

    Point b) was done for self gratification, selfish motive to progress ones career. Defame someone openly, become a Martyr in the scientific field and get more good stuff in personal career.

  189. nord Says:

    “3) If you faked data, your career is toast. Accept it, and find a different career. Nobody will hire someone who fakes data. Basically, you have to accept full responsibility.”

    come on, this just isn’t true, however much “we” might like it to be. out of all the “scandals” reported in org chem, what happened to the perpetrators? give the guy a second (fifth nth whatever) chance, cry the employers current and future.

  190. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @nord, write whatever u want…my ‘humanity’ stance NEVER gonna change…

  191. täuschen Says:

    Anonymous Says:
    September 3rd, 2013 at 4:17 PM
    Paul Bracher Says:
    Just Some Chemist Says:
August 26th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
    @ Toki: I took a look at it,……
    Does anyone understand anything ?

  192. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ nord: You really think so? I personally know a professor who honestly unintentionally self-plagiarized, and his research career ended with it. He was barred from receiving grant money for five years – well, there goes his grad program, and any research he could use to attract anyone. Consider Bengu Sezen – do you think any (American or European) employer will give her a chance? I honestly don’t. It’s been a bloodbath out there for us synthetic Ph.D.’s, and I don’t believe “second chance” has been in most employers’ vocabulary the past five years. In this system, the moment you burn the people who control whether or not you can even get a job, you’re done, unless you already have a job that happens to be secured.

  193. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ troll: So what if C&E News or Chemistry World initially picked up the story instead of Paul? Would you still be crying foul? Paul’s being a blogger basically means he’s an independent news source, and that appears to be how he’s been treating his blog – reviews, commentary, opinion columns, news, etc… To top it off, scientific dishonesty has been a boiling pot for a long time – stuff like this NEEDS to be reported on, because if it is kept quiet, people like Bruno Anxionnat will continue to doctor data and think it’s okay. The sciences are already plagued enough with fraudulent data and lazy photoshopping of data. It’s about time somebody started paying attention to it all.

  194. täuschen Says:

    @Just Some Chemist : then it’s about time to finish with Cosy and Bruno; so many others waiting to be … uncovered!

  195. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @Just Some Chemist…joined recently in PhD course kiddo? Give ur articles to the author of this post, and get a certification from him that ur articles (I doubt you have any) are not faked ones….tc

  196. OldGuy Says:

    I am impressed that people are taking the time to try and reason with RTTMIP. But s/he has made it quite clear that a logical argument is of no interest to him/her:

    “write whatever u want…my ‘humanity’ stance NEVER gonna change…”
    “No one can stop me in taking some stance which I know can spoil many lives”
    “Anyone can speak any thing against me. I dont care. My stance is NEVER gonna change.”
    “No arguments can change my opinion.”

    Seems quite an unscientific stance to me, but the message is clear. Logic and reason is of no relevance to RTTMIP. Perhaps if we all ignore him/her, s/he will wander off elsewhere? Just a thought!

  197. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ Old Guy…u find my stance illogical since u are not the person who is the talk of this post….and yeh….my stance is still gonan be the same….

    Y dont you get involved in some controversy (which has been made international by the author of this post) and then post these things which you have written.

  198. PedroS Says:


    This is basic justice. Feelings have nothing to do with it: if you see a crime going on, do you report it or do you keep shut, so as not to embarass the perpretrator?

  199. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ Troll: Guaranteed I have more legitimate high impact pubs than you. I love how you resort to insults after being exposed to not only being an idiot but also an apologist for scientific misconduct. Go spread your venom elsewhere, asswipe.

  200. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @Kiddo Just Some Chemist… u have more high Impact pubs then ME? you get a cookie for it…..If telling truth is ‘venom’ then yes, I am spreading venom…Venom has been spread by the author of this post to progress his career…….btw now its weekend kiddo, so prepare some long lengthy abuse for me……MY STANCE IS STILL THE SAME……this post is just written to ‘defame’ some ‘xyz’ person for progressing one’s own career… my stance again, Kiddo?

  201. mime Says:

    hi, reply to the most idiotic post ever. I am just wondering whether you have changed your stance this morning after sleeping on it. or whether it is still the same. looking forward to your update.

  202. Chemical JUSTICE Says:

    Ok I see it gets into anonymous personal feud…

    The point is that the scientific community should’t do it. We are here in order to cope with scientific dishonesty.
    Isn’t it?

    I do agree with a topic starter and many of you here, that we should make it public and discuss these issues (though it is not pleasant) at least for the sake of future science, which we will hand over to the young scientists. They should be aware that fabricating the data, will never be tolerated at any form, whether it is altered NMR or other spectral data, the same goes with imaginary EA analyses (Dorta’s situation, still no light was shed on this misconduct???) etc. If some doesn’t care about this, than we again publishing not real experimental data-which cost an arm and a leg to reproduce as well as wasting public money which predesignated for research, period.

    One more nice example, I had some private discussion with group of distinguished PI’s about the ethics they teach their grads, so outcome was shocking… 30% of them left the discussion, saying some cheap excuses that it is not possible to control grads (what is shocking that these PI’s had good profiles in terms of publication records as well as scientific achievements). The rest 70%, who were participated in the conversation up to the end, were very active in the discussion, bringing a lot of their own examples, how they manage these issues in their groups. So it IS a WAY to make any scientific misconduct a public issue, in order to fix it by the help/advises of other colleagues. Personally, I admire the Paul’s job running this blog and allowing us to bring a constructive solutions for these unplesant&smelly reports.
    I do not share the same ground of spattering the names and crippling the careers, but if some groups do a competent job, why other can’t?

  203. Just Some Chemist Says:

    @ troll: Glad to know I got under your skin. Someone like you has no business here and no business in science. Get lost and get a life. 😉

  204. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ Kiddo Just Some Chemist….such a small reply? I was honestly expecting you would write 2-3 page long reply…..but you just could not reply anything more to my honest posts…..okiez…ur wish….tc

    (The author of this post has spoiled lifes of many people!!! He must be happy doing it!!!)

  205. Responsible PI Says:

    As a responsible PI: if I would be involved in such a story, the OL paper as well as the two others would be withdrawn on the spot and I would assume the entire responsibility of the story. In my opinion, this is the only possible answer for a responsible PI.
    How can you trust the data (yields, spectra …) provided by such a student? I would have always big doubts about everything. If the work is really of interest, we would repeat it and I would carefully check the spectral data (something that I’m anyway doing on a weekly basis, in my opinion a PI is not just spending his time in an office and on trips, he should in principle follow the work of his students and teach them how to do science).
    I guess that 3 papers less on Cossy’s CV would not change anything for her, it is still time to withdraw the papers. That would be the best answer and would clearly show to everybody that she is a great Scientist.

  206. Santi at Mestrelab Says:

    Hi, everyone. I have read this post today with interest and a bit of dismay. I am sorry that some people seemed to think in the initial comments that problems with Mnova functionality when rendering to PDF could be responsible for selective editing of impurity peaks in spectra 😉

    If anyone has examples of poor PDF rendering from Mnova, particularly @mumm, please pass them to us.
    @OMFG Dihydrogen Oxide, you are absolutely right, the signal suppression in Mnova is carried out on the FID. It is a commonly used data processing routine based on either convolution or wavelets and it is similar to the functionality implemented in spectrometer software. It has its uses and it is a powerful tool when used in the right way (for example, to analyze signals very close to the ones you are removing, when overlap is getting in the way of the analysis). Like any tool, it could potentially be used unethically, but that is not the software’s fault or responsibility, in my opinion, rather the responsibility of the authors and reviewers/publishers. Every data treatment tool implemented in software has a bona fide usage. Interestingly, the author clearly felt that the tools in mnova could not be used to hide these signals and therefore decided to do it by using white rectangles.

    As for bad results on 13C spectra, please share those with Mestrelab if you have them and we will try to improve the algorithm, as we always do.

    To abound on other comments on the thread, I think BOTH the raw data and the processed data should be included with SI. This would allow anyone interested in the work to check its legitimacy quickly and easily. It would also allow reviewers to check at the point of review. The processed data could and should include a full processing history, which is already fully supported by all processing softwares I am aware of, and therefore would allow anyone reviewing the SI to arrive at the same results quickly. All the tools to facilitate this are available to the publishers and I really think it is high time that they assume the responsibility of demanding these from authors.

  207. PedroS Says:

    @RTTMIP said:

    “(The author of this post has spoiled lifes of many people!!! He must be happy doing it!!!)”

    He DID not. Bruno Anxionnat spoiled is own life by erasing the inconvenient parts of his NMR spectra. Dorta soiled his reputation by writing the “make up the EA” line, etc. The author of this post did not make them do anything wrong or unethical. He simply showed it to the world. If they did not want to be shamed publicly, matbe they should have played clean in the first place.

    PS: Your accusations hurled at Paul Bracher really do remind me of the joke about the lawyer of a kid who had murdered his own parents: “Please have some heart: the boy’s an orphan, by Christ’s sake! “

  208. Just some chemist Says:

    What I love is how the troll is trying to save face by calling me “kiddo.” That’s just like an idiot to resort to responding “Bu uh uh …. YOU’RE A LITTLE KID!” Please. As if that’s supposed to upset anyone who’s busted their ass through 5-6 years of graduate school, riddled with humiliating sessions in front of professors drawing mechanisms or proposing synthetic routes to compounds nobody would EVER want to make, not to mention having to deal with the immense pressure to produce something publishable to talk about by the next group meeting. I’m done humiliating this piece of shit.

  209. Gaia O'Neill Says:

    @PedroS RTTMIP is not completely wrong. Think about poor Emma. Though as far as I’m concerned it’s selfish fraudsters and irresponsible PIs who spoiled other people’s lives. (And perhaps I shall add illogical netizens?)

  210. Not-A-Chemist Says:

    “This is basic justice…if you see a crime going on, do you report…”. Yeah, very basic justice indeed. The justice of goode olde time: when witnessing a crime, (i) report to your friends of the KKK/blog/brown shirts, (ii) erect flaming crosses/write flaming posts/wave swastikas, (iii) chase Blacks/PIs/Jews in the name of the purity of the race/science/race. Don’t waste time with serious investigations, fair trials and all that nonsense: self-appointed judges (one of the participants of the thread calls himself Justice, nothing less) and self-appointed experts are much quicker and efficient. If PIs join the chase on your side because they are so smart and hardworking that no student would ever fool them, it’s even more fun.

    A stupendous intellectual effort might provide a different solution, though: when witnessing a crime, report to the police. In the present case, write a letter to the editor in chief with cc to the authors and let them do their jobs. In case of a clear cover-up attempt, make it public. Not only would that have been fair: it would have been a well-designed experiment with an instructive outcome. Instead you have a foul-smelling post, whose smell starts diffusing to other fields.

  211. Nic Says:

    Cossy’s attitude is ridiculous. Why to fight for these papers? The work is a piece of sh..
    She wants the glory out of “her” papers done by others but when there is a problem, she is trying to escape from her responsibility. What a shame for a PI.
    As mentioned in an early post, the only way for Cossy to honestly solve the problem is to retract all the papers concerned in this story. If not, how can we still trust all the other papers from the same group?

  212. MadeOneUp Says:

    The most disturbing is that original data is still in the pdf file and can be retrieved by removing the white boxes that cover up the contaminants (in AcrobatPro).

    Look at the link.

  213. Cu-NHC Says:

    @Nic Wow, some people here want to see blood spilled.
    To me, the chemistry itself doesn’t appear as bad, to the extent that I don’t see the point in whiting out the spectra – most of the removed “impurities” are actually solvents or “grease”, and I even doubt that another column would have been necessary for many of the compounds. If the chemistry works and can be of future use, why should the paper be withdrawn altogether? If one or two compounds cannot be purified due to stability or co-elution issues, it should have been honestly stated in the SI. It is a difficult problem how to salvage it now though. Obviously most of the “isolated” yields are way off, and I wonder if the PI has enough money (and incentive) to repeat all dubious reactions with another student to fix them.

  214. Nic Says:

    @Cu-NHC: not at all, it is just a question of ethics
    Cossy just wants the glory of the work she does not even follow seriously…. sorry but as stated by responsible PI, a boss has to assume his responsibility.
    Another issue: if the student is putting white boxes to show that the compounds are more pure than they are in reality, how can you trust the rest of the work. Not sure that he gave the correct yields and conditions, not even sure that he obtained the products.
    In some labs, there is also too much pressure on the students to provide data to prepare papers… that’s pushing weak students to behave in this way. Science should be fun, not simply production. A student is also preparing a PhD to learn something, he is not only a slave!

  215. Responsible PI Says:

    @Nic: happy to see that we have the same opinion….
    @Cu-NHC: we don’t want to see blood, we want to see good science done in a fair way and … more importantly we want to see students happy to learn something and to do science, that’s something Cossy has forgotten.

  216. Dr. Barracuda Says:

    The thing with this paper is that the science is still there – you can’t trust the yields now, at all, but the evidence still shows that the science works. I’d suggest retract the paper, clean up the data, and re-submit, if that’s even kosher. ALternatively, make a big addition/correction for the SI? I dunno – Cossy dug herself into a hole by letting Anxionnat submit his own SI without checking it… She’s got a lot of damage control to do, but I doubt it will end her career.

  217. Reply to the most idiotic post ever Says:

    @ Kiddo Just Some Chemist…ty for ur another post……but why are you writing less man? Make a 2-3 page of abuse against me…..I am still of the stance that the author of this post wants some quick respect in scientific field without hard work and thus has defamed someone on a public forum to gain quick fame…..

  218. Responsible PI Says:

    @Dr. Barracuda: the science is still there, are you really sure that we should still call that science? In my opinion, that has nothing scientific anymore. A PI that is just interested by glory, a PhD students providing publishable data to please his boss, just bull shit, sorry but not science.
    Anyway, if OL is logic with their editorials, the papers should be withdrawn. No other options. I’m still amaised that Cossy did not retract these papers as soon as the problem was clearly demonstrated. As an associated editor of OL, this is for her the only reasonable way to definitively solve the problem.

  219. industrial chemist Says:

    This guy should gain some experience in an industrial process development lab where cheating in yield and purity is excluded, or he will have serious problems with production and quality department.
    Is he still working for the famous Scott Denmark (friend of Cossy?)? I’m wondering how professors are selecting post-doc students. My believe is that there is quite some corruption.

  220. Dr. Barracuda Says:

    @ Responsible PI: Considering you can’t trust most yields in papers these days anyway, yep. The data, once unmasked, shows that Anxionnat still made the product, but it had gobs of solvent in it he was too lazy to remove. Either that, or it shows impurities that he was too lazy to run another column on. That’s about it. Can I trust the yields from the paper? Nope. Can I say I believe they made what they made, but it just needs another go at purification? Yes for some examples, and a maybe for others. I agree with you that the whole business of photoshopping the data is bullshit, though – there’s no excuse for that kind of laziness. I still have nightmares of running column upon column in grad school to get my material pure by HPLC in addition to it already being pure by NMR and GC…

  221. mime Says:

    hi, reply to the most idiotic post, thanks for clearing that up about your stance. I was wondering whether you would have changed it since reading my post, but I am glad to hear that your stance has not been changed.

    actually I change my stance all the time: I read someone’s post, change my stance, read another post, change my stance, read a third post, change my stance. you understand it has been quite intellectually exhausting in a thread of >220 posts. For me, it means that the person who has the last word in the argument always wins me over.

  222. Fat is Life Says:

    ” Yeah, very basic justice indeed. The justice of goode olde time: when witnessing a crime, (i) report to your friends of the KKK/blog/brown shirts, (ii) erect flaming crosses/write flaming posts/wave swastikas, (iii) chase Blacks/PIs/Jews in the name of the purity of the race/science/race. Don’t waste time with serious investigations, fair trials and all that nonsense: self-appointed judges (one of the participants of the thread calls himself Justice, nothing less) and self-appointed experts are much quicker and efficient. If PIs join the chase on your side because they are so smart and hardworking that no student would ever fool them, it’s even more fun.”

    Look people!!! We have finally reach the Godwin point!! Took 200+ comments though, I expect better next time!!

  223. French chemist Says:

    After Judge Isaac C. Parker (Hanging Judge), there is Prof. Paul Bracher (Hanging Prof)
    Back to the old west on the web: maybe be guilty, should be killed.
    Not sure that playing that game and killing your colleagues will help you in your academic carreer. Who are you? Like the Blues Brothers, stupid and in mission for God, pffff
    Do as much science as Cossy did, then we may discuss. Too easy to destroy the reputation of people, first do something by yourself and then you may judge others.
    Just go in your lab and do science with your students, that’s the only way for a scientist to be known. Sorry but so far you are no one and you have done nothing by yourself.

  224. Just Some Chemist Says:

    French chemist = elitism at its finest!

  225. French chemist Says:

    The French touch… top class
    Seriously, some colleagues told me yesterday about all this story… I had a look by curiosity, just a piece of shit. Paul feels important, I think his pathetic.
    I go back to the real world, this virtual one is just ridiculous….

  226. Just some chemist Says:

    Yeah, the data in that Cossy paper is shit.

  227. Just some chemist Says:

    By the way, I’m taking bets on you being Parisian, French Chemist, because you are one grade A asshole, just like most Parisians.

  228. French chemist Says:

    Good bet, but who are you to insult people? Controversy is a good driving force in academia and this does not prevent people to behave in a gentle way.
    I guess that the problem of Bracher is that he is thinking that after having spent some time in a prestigious lab in Harvard, he’s as smart as his former boss. Sorry but that has nothing to do with Chickenpox!
    Well, George is a very critical guy (I spent some time in his group, thus I know him pretty well) but first towards himself. Don’t forget that Georges has a very long experience in this business and his way to answer questions is through science. Commenting something during group meetings or informal discussions is different from doing it on the web.
    So, Bracher, first do as much as your former boss did and try to be a pioneer in a new field, then you will allowed to be critical towards others. Be also aware that many colleagues will look at your work. Hope that all your future students will be as smart as you think you are, you are not allowed to make any mistakes now, we will be there to highlight them.
    My advise to Batcher is just to cool down and to behave as a faculty should. Stop thinking that you are perfect and respect your colleagues if you want to be respected.

  229. Nic Says:

    It seems that you have a new good friend Paul!

  230. Just some chemist Says:

    French Chemist, it’s not an insult when it’s the truth!

  231. OldGuy Says:

    IP check on RTTMIP and French Chemist might be interesting. They seem to speak with a very similar voice.

  232. Paul Bracher Says:

    Since @OldGuy asked…

    There are comments from “Nic”, “French Chemist”, and “Responsible PI” that trace back to the same IP address.

    There are also comments from “Dr. Barracuda” and “Just Some Chemist” that trace back to the same IP address.

    Commenter “Reply to the most idiotic post ever” appears not to use other usernames.

    ChemBark’s comment policy asks that users stick to one name for comments, especially in the same discussion thread. Please don’t use multiple names to make it appear as though your opinions are more widely held than they are.

    Of course, if multiple people happen to be posting from the same exact IP, then having one name per individual is fine.


  233. Dr. Barracuda Says:

    Guess I work with Just Some Chemist?

  234. Fat is Life Says:

    Tank you Paul, you sure are an efficient snitch

  235. Gaia O'Neill Says:

    [off topic] Checking IP is not very useful for multis with amateur computer knowledge. Proxy, DHCP and onion are all they need.

  236. 123 Says:

    To French Chemist and others who bark and CHEM BARK-

    1. We need people like Paul to keep our field clean, and reproducible
    2. Lots of research done by federal funds is irrreproducible, thanks to the pressure to publish for survival and to show the “proof of principle” /preliminary data to the funding agencies
    3. I heard Paul has been supported by NSF/some agency to do what he is doing- we need such whistle blowers. (If he is not supported, he should be!)
    4. Do not threaten him to follow the trodden path and respect.
    He has gotten a faculty position by providing research plans, and by proving his scientific attitude and capabilities. What have you achieved?
    He does not have to be caliber of George to say what is incorrect as per the standards.
    5. He was forced to hibernate for a while; we should be glad that he is back and more determined. Let him do what he is doing.

    I can go on and on…..

  237. frank Says:

    I have seen similar effects- when “innocently” using drawing packages to make axes more legible. However the results look suspicious & indeed invite suspicion upon the heads of innocent parties. So one should not rush to judgement regarding the integrity & motivation of the authors but take the golden opportunity to repeat the work & then expose any fraud if fraud there be.

  238. justme Says:

    something I noticed to support the idea of modified spectra is that over two different journals we have the errors and the same
    person is involved in both ie Anxionnat, B.
    either that or there using the same software that is at fault.
    surely if the second reason is the case one of the many people working on these two papers would have noticed it and then got
    there work analysed else were.

    still it makes me wonder if some one was to modify spectra would they not just right the base line in them selves.

  239. Cu-NHC Says:

    Just a quick follow-up on the topic. Well…
    Edited-out impurities in the NMR spectra from Carreira group:
    A bunch of erased solvents (and impurities) from a Japanese (!) group here:, here:, here:, here: and here:
    And of course, from Indian guys:
    And these are only those who got caught very recently. Apparently the problem with a certain “post-processing” of NMR data is much more common than one would have thought.

  240. GiantOctopus Says:

    These unusual spectra were reported by ChemBark on August 19th 2013 and subjected to Editorial Review by Organic Letters. It is currently March 29th 2014, meaning that the authors have had the whole of September, October, November, January, February and March to find the appropriate fid files, or repeat all of the experiments reported and collect new data if required. If we discount December because nobody does any work during that month, and we grant a certain amount of extra time to account for the fact the French always go on strike meaning lab productivity stops, that is still 4 entire months to respond to this problem. I think this is enough time for the authors to respond to something as important as an Editorial Review, and I would have thought the authors (and to a lesser extent, the journal) would have made dealing with this problem a priority since it is their reputation on the line. The group has published other articles in the meantime, so I cannot see any other acceptable reason why they might have to delay. The Organometallics paper has been corrected, and some Japanese groups have corrected their spectra in Organic Letters so I think that these articles should be next.

    I would suggest that, where inadequate data are found for reactions that supposedly work, an unwritten rule that the lab has 3 months to correct them or face losing the article should be unofficially accepted by all groups and enforced by all journals so that PI’s have enough time to solve problems, but only if dealing with these problems is made an absolute priority. It also means that in future PI’s will run their groups in a way that data don’t get scattered throughout time and space across the lab. I would strongly apply this rule to all articles submitted on or after April 1st 2014, so that PI’s who might have gotten into bad habits whilst the various group members come and go can make a fresh start on how they keep their lab data to avoid this happening again. This situation differs from the Prof. Tobin Marks paper (whom I defended) because that paper was retracted, rather than this slow moving process.

    The authors and the institution have had enough time to respond, we are now starting to enter the time when the journal should be making a decision. I hope to hear something from someone soon.

  241. GiantOctopus Says:

    Spectra updated. Well done the Cossy group.

  242. wolfgang robien Says:

    Bad news: Some ‘strange’ assignments from C-NMR can be found on

    Good news: Automatic verification of C-NMR data is available (BTW: since 4 years !)

    (its free of charge, registration before usage is necessary)

  243. nnb123 Says:

    I really can not see any suspicious manipulation in the Carreira paper….can you help me?

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