Alright, so you spent most of the day nailing down a certain reaction, and just in time you found a promising lead in the literature. The only thing left now to be able to run your desired reaction is going through the details. It is then you don’t want any of these.
1. Questionable purity and identification
“Pale yellow” may be somewhat of a bad sign, but in most cases not a deal-breaker. However, purity according to TLC is quite disturbing, especially in the year of 2013.
Org. Commun. 2013, 6, 95-101. (No DOI – thank Heaven – but full version here)
2. Yield by GC
Has anybody ever seen a better yield after work-up compared to a GC estimated yield on the crude material? Rhetorical question, guys. Yield by GC sucks, and nothing in the world can change that.
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 11487-11490. (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201207148)
3. No experimental details, and a reference to nowhere
Tetrahedron Letters doesn’t have the best of reputations when it comes to experimental details, but contrary to mainstream opinion, I don’t think the journal is entirely shit. Maybe because I happen to have a couple of papers in it 🙂 This example, however, is shit.
Tetrahedron Lett. 2005, 46, 8391-8394. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2005.09.156)
4. Journals no-one has access to
Can you access this figure? Congratulations! You belong to the <.1 % of scholars who can. I had to go to great lengths to lay my hands on this.
Heterocycles 2009, 77, 1185-1208. (DOI: 10.3987/COM-08-S(F)97)
5. Outdated or unintelligible methods
Here is a favorite. Patents, especially older ones, are littered with techniques, which I assume few living chemists are able to reproduce today. How about this one, for example?
US Pat. 3,784,571, 1974 (full version here)
I’m sure you can name a number of additional annoyances. Hit me hard!