Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Carbon copies? Authors retract paper from leading chemistry journal

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jacsat_v135i031.inddThe authors of a 2008 Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) paper have retracted it after a structure was “mistakenly assigned.”

The article, “Highly Enantioselective Radical Addition to N-Benzoyl Hydrazones Using Chiral Ammonium Salts,” was written by Doo Ok Jang and Sang Yoon Kim, chemists at Yonsei University, in Wonju. According to the abstract (which includes this molecular schema):

Abstract Image

In the presence of a protonated cinchonine derivative, radical addition reactions proceeded efficiently, affording addition adducts in high yields with an extremely high enantioselectivity. The chiral ammonium salt was recyclable after a simple aqueous workup. The reaction provides environmentally benign reaction conditions.

But, whoa there! says the retraction notice:

The structure of compound 1, the major compound, in the manuscript was mistakenly assigned. As a result the authors withdraw this publication.

Chemistry blogger See Arr Oh, who was first to report this retraction, walks through what appears to be wrong with the description of the compound: A figure suggests there are one-and-a-half times as many carbons as the formula would suggest. The retraction is also the subject of a debate on reddit.

The paper has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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