Friday, January 8, 2010

what kind of horseshit is this?

I was reading my ASAPs today and happened upon K. N. Houk and N. K. Garg talking about indoles. I've had a couple of projects about them, and I'm always interested to see what people have to say about installing things at the 4-position. It's a difficult position to access, and a lot of drugs and natural products are functionalized there. The first table dealt with just that:

They didn't label which isomer was preferred in the yield column, so I assumed that it was left number to left product, and right number to right product. It also makes sense since the C-5 substitutions are almost always preferred over the C-4. My eyes drifted to the "C-5 preferred" in the far right column before I had read what the column actually was. I was confused, since C-5 is generally preferred, and it seemed like every other case showed C-5 preference. Momentarily excited I thought that maybe all the other cases were C-4 specific, and this was the lone C-5 in a very poorly labeled table! I saw the superscript b , looked to the bottom of the table to see what it denoted, and wonder of wonders it says "Attack at C-5 is favored (see the SI)." That amount of unneeded and uninformative redundancy is among the stupidest things I've seen lately.

Nowhere else does it give any real information about the reactions, or what the table really means, however ti does say to look at the "SI" elsewhere. Two superscript references to the same thing. How efficient, and vacuous.

I got the "SI", which I assumed was the supporting information, and found the following jewel:

What the fuck is that? Why would you even do that? How hard would it have been to put it in anyways? Why wouldn't you just put the number for the reference right in table as opposed to the completely uninformative "b"? The reference is already mentioned in the paper and wouldn't have even needed any additional text.


edit: Forgot to put Garg's name in the initial link to spread the blame.


sam said...

ha! wild goose chase, anyone?

scientist 1 said...

I did feel like someone was going to jump out, yell "gotcha!", and laugh at me.

Jim said...

So maybe I am missing something here, but the reference in the table referring you to the SI is for the conditions for the benzyne reaction, it looks to me that those experimentals are there. The reference in the SI is for how to make all the starting triflates, and everyone does that. I will agree though that if you are publishing a method there should be a general experimental in the paper and not just the SI.

scientist 1 said...

The main thing I was interested in was whether this had any 4-position selectivity at all.

The poorly annotated table says no, as far as I can tell, but I wanted to be sure, so I went to look up an experimental. I don't care about the general experimental procedure so much as the results.

Of course the experimental details weren't there, but they could have been or the table could just have had a "see ref. #" comment. Or, ideally, been annotated better.