My earliest publication

…was at age 2.


I’d be tempted to add it, but:

Slavic Review (Impact Factor: 0.58).”

Facile, Easy, Novel

Journal paper titles are generally long and full of buzzwords. One of the ones that really gets me is facile.

facile definition

It seems that people just use facile in place of easy, cause it sounds more technical and scientific. As you see in the above definitions (Merriam-Webster), it’s not exactly the same thing. The inaccuracy doesn’t bother me much, mostly the overuse.

Here are charts from Scopus on the frequency of facile/easy in article titles:




People use facile about three times as much as easy. Facile bothers me because of overuse, but the one that really gets me is novel. If you’re publishing a research article, it’s probably going to be novel, why else would you be publishing it?


Over 30,000 uses in 2014. (Thankfully maybe it’s on the decline?) And now for the papers I really hate:

facile novel

If I’m ever asked to review a paper with either of these in the title, let alone both, they will definitely be getting a comment. Especially if it’s not novel, see: shit my reviewers say:



Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh


If you’re not reading Compound Interest, you should be.


Publication Speed: Most Cited Papers of the Decade

Mitch posted on C&EN a list of the most cited papers from the last ten years:

  1. grapheneElectric Field Effect in Atomically Thin Carbon Films. Science, 17,793 citations.
  2. Iron-Based Layered Superconductor La[O1-xFx]FeAs (x = 0.05−0.12) with Tc = 26 K. JACS, 6,435 citations.
  3. Graphene-based composite materialsNature, 4,475 citations.
  4. The M06 suite of density functionals for main group thermochemistry, thermochemical kinetics, noncovalent interactions, excited states, and transition elements: two new functionals and systematic testing of four M06-class functionals and 12 other functionalsTheoretical Chemistry Accounts, 4,133 citations.
  5. GROMACS 4:  Algorithms for Highly Efficient, Load-Balanced, and Scalable Molecular SimulationJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 3,899 citations.

So what’s big? Graphene, high-temperature superconductors, and modelling.

I was curious how long it took to publish these papers:

  1. 58 days
  2. 70 days
  3. 138 days
  4. Data N/A
  5. 125 days

How does this compare to most papers? Björk and Solomon did a study, The publishing delay in scholarly peer-reviewed journals. For chemistry, the average time from submitted to accepted is 4.73 months.

3 and 5 are fairly average, and 1 and 2 were pretty quick. Does this mean they were recognized quickly as higher impact papers? More than 4 data points are necessary to say for sure, there are too many factors in terms of editorial speed, reviewer speed, authors response time to edits, etc.

Schlenk in a bottle



Bad Santa!

bad santa

[Twitter: 12]

Periodic #tbt

Today’s not Thursday, this wasn’t posted on a Thursday, but maybe the textbook was published on a Thursday? The periodic table from 1933.

periodic table


Critique of Journal RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are how I skim journals and stay up to date. Some journals do RSS feeds better than others.

Here’s an example from Thin Solid Films, from Elsevier.
Title, Journal Title, Authors (just initials, ugh)
Terrible. Admittedly some Elsevier journals don’t have TOC images, like this one, and the ones that do, do show them in the RSS, but all journals should have them.

RSS Elsevier

Science, from AAAS:
Article Type, Title, First Author, One Sentence Summary, Authors
A one sentence summary is better than nothing, but why not the full abstract?

RSS Science

Journal of Materials Science, from Springer:
Title, Abstract
No authors, really?

RSS Springer

IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, from IEEE:
Title, Abstract
Same as Springer, c’mon!


Nature, from Nature Publishing Group:
Title, First Author, Title, Journal Title, DOI, Authors, Abstract
Some redundancy, no image, but at least the abstract, acceptable.

RSS Nature

Langmuir, an ACS journal:
Title, Authors, TOC image, Journal Title, DOI.
Not bad.


Journal of Materials Chemistry A, from RSC:
Title, First Author, Journal Title, DOI, Authors, Abstract, TOC image, Citing Information, Copyright Information
Good, but definitely some extraneous information/text.


Advanced Materials, from Wiley:
Title, Authors, Abstract, TOC image.

RSS Wiley

So you can tell that I’m a chemist/materials scientist, and don’t have any physics or bio journals, but I think I have a pretty broad range of publishers here. Who did it best? I listed them from worst to best, so definitely Wiley does RSS best. The only other thing I would like to see (that nobody does that I’ve seen) is the institution with the author names.

RSS editorial boardAnother rant; things which are unnecessary to show in your RSS feeds:

Table of contents: That’s what this whole feed is, you don’t need it all listed separately. Especially if you don’t actually list the contents in RSS clip itself (which nobody does).
Editorial board: I understand they do a lot of work, good for them, but just a link to your editorial board without even listing them in the RSS clip? Not helping anyone.
Cover images: Great, no problem with having these in the feed, but don’t link to a page which is just the cover image, link to the actual article it’s about.

Would be great if I could get publishers to read this and change their ways…