It is a little ironic that just as science fiction authors have managed to excise most of the science from science fiction, scientists are transforming professional peer-reviewed published science into science fiction:
A recently published ASAP article in the journal Organometallics is sure to raise some eyebrows in the chemical community. While the paper itself is a straightforward study of palladium and platinum bis-sulfoxide complexes, page 12 of the corresponding Supporting Information file contains what appears to be an editorial note that was inadvertently left in the published document:
“Emma, please insert NMR data here! where are they? and for this compound, just make up an elemental analysis…”
This statement goes beyond a simple embarrassing failure to properly edit the manuscript, as it appears the first author is being instructed to fabricate data. Elemental analyses would be very easy to fabricate, and long-time readers of this blog will recall how fake elemental analyses were pivotal to Bengu Sezen’s campaign of fraud in the work she published from 2002 to 2005 out of Dalibor Sames’ lab at Columbia.
One commenter notes: “It should also be noted that this made it through at least three reviewers and an editor.” Of course, it’s easy to justify the invented compound. Clinical equipoise. In fact, that’s now my go-to excuse for everything. If Spacebunny asks me why I didn’t take the trash out on Trash Day, I just shrug and say, “hey, baby, clinical equipoise.”