Blogs and Chemical Communication

Blogs and Chemical Communication
Steven M. Bachrach
Trinity University
[email protected]
What is a blog?
“web log”
 Series of posts
 More dynamic content than a web page
 Began in late 1990s and come into its
own in early 2000s as part of Web 2.0
Chemistry Blog types
 Opinion
and News
 Teaching
 Article
 Original Research
petermr's blog – Peter Murray-Rust
In The Pipeline – Derek Lowe
Chem Bark – Paul Bracher
Chemistry Blog – multiple authors
Master Organic Chemistry - James Ashenhurst
Totally Synthetic – Paul Docherty
Computational Organic Chemistry – Steven Bachrach
Henry Rzepa
Finding Blogs
◦ Chemical Blogspace
◦ Computational Chemistry Highlights
Chemical Blogspace – Egon Willighagen,Peter Maas
Chemical Blogspace - Zeitgeist
Computational Chemistry Highlights - Jan Jensen
Computational Chemistry Highlights
Blogging as Peer review. I.
“Reductive and Transition-Metal-Free:
Oxidation of Secondary Alcohols by
Sodium Hydride” Wang, Zhang, Wang, JACS,
2009, DOI: 10.1021/ja904224y
Blogging as Peer Review. I.
Blogged in Totally Synthetic
◦ Included repeating experiment
◦ Picked up by readers who also failed to
reproduce results
◦ Consensus suggestion that oxygen
contaminants, either from air or within
or upon NaH, are responsible for
Summarized in RSC blog
Blogging as Peer review. II.
“Evidence for the Likely Origin of
Homochirality in Amino Acids, Sugars, and
Nucleosides on Prebiotic Earth,” Ron Breslow,
JACS, 2012, 134, 6887–6892, DOI:
Dinos in Space!
◦ "An implication of this work is that elsewhere in the universe
there could exist life forms based on D amino acids and L
sugars...Such life forms could even be advanced versions of
dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have
the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth.
We would be better off not meeting them."
Blogging as Peer Review. II.
Plagarism and exaggerated claims highlighted in Chem
Bark, In the Pipeline, Curious Wavefunction, and others
Stuart Cantrell’s (Chief Editor of Nature Chemistry)
Twitter pics demonstrate many paragraphs that were
lifted whole (
Why I blog
Altruism only goes so far
 Survey the computational organic
literature to
◦ A) provide currency to my book
◦ B) assist in writing the second edition
◦ C) forms the basis of a series of review
articles for RSC
Demonstrate the use of blogging in
chemical communication
Chemistry-enabled Blogging
Technical Considerations
Blog software
◦ Wordpress
Blog-specific hosting
◦ Self-hosting
◦ Commercial blogging service
, (now google),
Remote host
 MediaTemple
The Future of Blogging
Pressure from other social media
◦ Hard to envisage Twitter as an effective
chemical communication medium
Need to establish professional benefit to
◦ Alt.metrics
Current most promising candidate:
Journal review overlay
Peter Murray-Rust
 Henry Rzepa
 Jan Jensen
 Wiley, RSC
 Dustin Bachrach

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