12/09/2006

JACS: copy editors needed?

Confession: I am a bit of an English nazi.[1] Certain things really drive me nuts. Confusing plurals with possessives, "its" with "it's," little misspellings...all of these things make my left eye twitch a little. It's one thing to see it in a hastily written email or IM or blog post. It's painful, but survivable, to see it on a sign advertising for a newspaper. When you're publishing a paper on transistors, though, and you can't spell "transistor," I go a little nuts. That's just a single-letter lapse of thought, though.[2] There are worse things you can do.

Quick! Before they fix it! This paper isn't really bad at all. There's a cute little crystal structure in there. But there is one grievous error. See the table?


"Something times ten to the fourth" cm2/Vs is not something you usually see for the charge carrier mobility in an organic semiconductor. Most people are very, very happy if they see a mobility of, say, 4 cm2/Vs...and that's kinda pushing it, since a lot of compounds don't see past the 0.1-or-so range.

So this looks like a really big deal. EXCEPT for this little sentence:

As expressed in Table 1, the hole mobility of 1 deposited at 22 °C was found to be 1.5 10-2 cm2 V-1 s-1, which was 100 times as high as that of 2 under the same condition.
In other words, don't panic. Someone just left out a minus sign or two in there.[3]
Maybe, just maybe, JACS should look things over a little more carefully before they're published.

Sometime after finals week I'll maybe do a series of posts covering transistors in plain English.


[1] NOT to be confused with an actual nazi. Nor am I English.
[2] A quick search for "transister" anywhere in the article from the ACS site got two hits. Two too many.
[3] Simple mistake. Happens to me whenever I see that curly S of death.[4]
[4] Curly S of death = integral sign

8 comments:

Mitch said...

Many times it's not the author's fault, but happens on the publisher's side.

Mitch

Mike said...

I assume that's one reason why the royal society encourages submission of papers via LaTeX. They just need to adapt the layout to their standards and everything is fine.

sks said...

with mitch on this, i came across this freaky incident where the editorial office of the journal somehow specifically made the accent stars in the figure's bargraph disappear. That is the weirdest thing i have seen/heard.

Excimer said...

I can make FET's with charge carrier mobilities of 10^4. I'm just awesome like that. :-P

Ψ*Ψ said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the authors here. That thing with the stars disappearing? That's just strange.

Anonymous said...

Or stuff like arrows missing in your carefully drawn ChemDraw schemes, and bonds that simply disappear from chemical structures... in this case I actually disagree with your opinion, it may well be the authors' fault. It would have been to the referees to spot the mistake. But anyway, do referees even read papers anymore? tssk tssk

Paul said...

Nice catch...you should e-mail the authors. You might get a shout out, or even a hyperlink, in the correction.

Ψ*Ψ said...

Not really interested in publicity. I might not have read the paper if someone else hadn't mentioned it to me, anyway. You can contact them if you want, though...