Sunday, January 11, 2009

ahh, bad schemes

During the literature's never ending assault on my time and already waning desire to continue being a scientist I stumbled on the following gem:

I was momentarily fooled, after only a passing glance, by the symmetric grid layout, and read on. I was interested in the fluorination step at the outset and looked for the conditions ... step g?

I looked back to see if I had somehow missed "a,b,c,d,e,f", or the more likely "a-f", but no they started with g. I then looked a little closer and noticed the diagonal arrows, arrows going up, curved arrows, and one molecule radiating arrows like a starburst. Ugh.

I emailed the link to Herr Professor Doktor Schatzi and he said "HAha, its awesome!! Looks like traffic directions....".

It seems odd to me that so many people have so much trouble with basic scheme layout. We all read from left to right, one line at a time, and then proceed down to the next line all of our lives; well westerners do, anyway. For some reason when synthetic chemistry related ideas are to be presented in graphic format along with the text people suddenly want to be Quentin Tarantino and reinvent the scheme. Like clarity and easy of use are secondary to the whim of the author. I would hope most authors have more than a touch of concern for the ability of the unknown reader to be able to access the information with little to no difficulties, but I suppose that's asking too much.

After all who gives a shit as to whether anyone reads you pub anyway? Wait, everyone cares. That's the whole point of publishing it. Why not spend 2 years or more on a project and follow that with a hastily written and poorly proofread manuscript to show the community just how little you care for the dissemination of ideas.

Maybe authors should spend a little more time a) making the info readily accessible and available, b) spell check, and c) continuous consistent formatting throughout the article and schemes would be nice.

Perhaps the only major faux pas this scheme lacks is the random flipping of molecules (front to back, left to right, or rotated >90 degrees) that everyone seems to hate, and yet makes it into a few papers virtually every journal printing.


Mike said...

If you want to see THE WORST scheme ever published, please see:
JACS(2002)124,11,2781-2789. Scroll down to page 7 and enjoy!!

Mike said...

Correction: page 6 (p. 2786). I hate that ACS is putting these "cover pages" on their pdf messes my shit up and wastes paper if you still print out articles (which I don't b/c I am saving the environment).

scientist 1 said...

My god, that's absolutely amazing! It may be the worst scheme I've seen, but it is a truly beautiful abstract art piece.

Dr. Miller said...

What do you expect from the faculty at UGA? Schaefer and Schleyer are badasses they can fuck up as many schemes as they want.