Sisyphus

Phantom IRM
Cumulative numbers of citations for the three seminal papers on nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy (NOESY). The initial slope and sigmoid shape (reminiscent of second-order effects) imply that these classic papers did not significantly contribute to the impact factors of the journals. Black circles represent the work of J. Jeener, B. H. Meier, P. Bachmann, R. R.Ernst, ‘Investigation of exchange processes by 2-dimensional NMR spectroscopy’, J. Chem. Phys. 1979, 71, 4546. Red triangles the paper of A. Kumar, R. R. Ernst, K. Wüthrich, ‘A two-dimensional nuclear Overhauser enhancement (2D NOE) experiment for the elucidation of complete proton-proton cross-relaxation networks in biological macromolecules’, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 1980, 95, 1.Green squares represent the work of A. Kumar, G. Wagner, R. R. Ernst, K. Wüthrich,‘Buildup rates of the nuclear Overhauser effect measured by two-dimensional proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy – implications for studies of protein conformation’, J. Am. Chem. Soc.1981, 103, 3654.
Abstract:
As a punishment for his trickery, King Sisyphus was made to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself. Today’s scientists also pay a heavy price for their hubris and narcissism. They try to trick the editors of a few ‘top’ journals by peppering their papers with glitter and ‘bling-bling’, making overblown promises, and giving minimal credit to their predecessors. The editors wield their Olympian authority by making today’s scientists endlessly push their weighty boulders up steep hills. By bowing to this implacable ritual, we scientists confer undue power to a handful of popular but irresponsible journals.


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