Posts Tagged ‘Royal Society of Chemistry’

Open Access journal publishing debates – the elephant in the room?

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

For perhaps ten years now, the future of scientific publishing has been hotly debated. The traditional models are often thought to be badly broken, although convergence to a consensus of what a better model should be is not apparently close. But to my mind, much of this debate seems to miss one important point, how to publish data.


The history of Alizarin (and madder).

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The Royal Society of Chemistry historical group (of which I am a member) organises two or three one day meetings a year. Yesterday the October meeting covered (amongst other themes) the fascinating history of madder and its approximately synthetic equivalent alizarin. Here I add a little to the talk given by Alan Dronsfield on the synthesis of alizarin and the impact this had on the entire industry.


Publishing embargoes.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Publishing embargoes seem a relatively new phenomenon, probably starting in areas of science when the data produced for a scientific article was considered more valuable than the narrative of that article. However, the concept of the embargo seems to be spreading to cover other aspects of publishing, and I came across one recently which appears to take such embargoes into new and uncharted territory.



Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The title of this post refers to the site  which is in effect a license scraper for journal articles. In the past 2-3 years in the UK, we have been able to make use of grants to our university to pay publishers to convert our publications into Open Access (also called GOLD). I thought I might check out a few of my recent publications to see what makes of them.


A computed mechanistic pathway for the formation of an amide from an acid and an amine in non-polar solution.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

In London, one has the pleasures of attending occasional one day meetings at the Burlington House, home of the Royal Society of Chemistry. On November 5th this year, there was an excellent meeting on the topic of Challenges in Catalysisand you can see the speakers and (some of) their slides here. One talk on the topic of Direct amide formation – the issues, the art, the industrial application by Dave Jackson caught my interest. He asked whether an amide could be formed directly from a carboxylic acid and an amine without the intervention of an explicit catalyst. The answer involved noting that the carboxylic acid was itself a catalyst in the process, and a full mechanistic exploration of this aspect can be found in an article published in collaboration with Andy Whiting's group at Durham.[1] My after-thoughts in the pub centered around the recollection that I had written some blog posts about the reaction between hydroxylamine and propanone. Might there be any similarity between the two mechanisms?



  1. H. Charville, D.A. Jackson, G. Hodges, A. Whiting, and M.R. Wilson, "The Uncatalyzed Direct Amide Formation Reaction - Mechanism Studies and the Key Role of Carboxylic Acid H-Bonding", European Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol. 2011, pp. 5981-5990, 2011.

Computers 1967-2011: a personal perspective. Part 2. 1985-1989.

Friday, July 8th, 2011

As a personal retrospective of my use of computers (in chemistry), the Macintosh plays a subtle role. (more…)