Sigmund Fraud and the Case of the Supporting Information

Disclaimer: the following article is pure irony sarcasm (like the rest of the blog).

Due to the recent “ambiguous” discoveries in literature (strange NMR, even stranger TEM and well, I don’t know how to call this Supporting Information) I guess it’s the proper time to laugh about it:


1 – NMR

Why the hell are you still putting the NMR scan in the supplementary information? No one is going through it anyway, not the referees nor the editor(s). So, why bother in using paint to remove the nasty solvent peaks? Why that white tape of the impurities? Do just one thing: hand draw it, nothing better than a good old hand drawing, no paint required and almost impossible to detect as fraud.

IMG 22231H-NMR (400MHz) of compound X.

Yes, yes, I hear you. You are not an artist and you don’t want to lose time in hand drawing something. Then just put a random NMR picture in the supplementary information. Classy and scientifically correct:

400NMRNMR (400MHz), compound X inside.


2 – Elemental Analysis, Melting Point

Nothing here works better than a good old set of D&D dices. Only pay attention to the 20 faced dice, having a melting point of 6456 C may be suspicious. If you don’t like dices, you can alway go for the I Ching (in the uncommon possibility that you don’t know what is the I Ching, ask one of your Chinese colleague, or even better read “the man in the high castle”). God doesn’t play dice with the world, nobody asked him to fill in the supporting information.


3 – UV, Fluorescence and so on

As the NMR, the best option is to hand draw it. If lazy you can go for your favorite mountain (here for example the Vesusio). Don’t even think about labeling the axes, no one really care and referees hate it. For the IR just turn it upside down and add some random peaks.

VesuvioUV-Vis of a never-really-purified compound


4 – Imaging, AFM, TEM

That’s the easiest part. Just pick up the phone from your pocket and start making random pictures, they will come handy when writing the supporting information:

IMG 2225AFM of a functionalized surface. It’s clear that the roughness is more than acceptable (less than few nanometers)


IMG 2226AFM of nanoparticles on the same surface. The nanoparticles are spherical but they look distorted because of artifacts.


IMG 2227TEM of fibers (Uranyl Acetate staining)


IMG 2228Cryo-Tem



“if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” –
“If there is a fraud in the supplementary information and no one is around to read it, is it still a fraud?”

I guess that we all should thank Chembark for bringing those weird literature cases to the light.
Thank you!


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