Blog Syn – the site publishing crowdsourced verification of synthetic procedures – is only 3 investigations old but is already showing signs of maturing into a valuable resource for the synthetic community.
Their 3rd investigation into the reliability of IBX oxidations of arylmethanes detailed some disappointing results in attempts to repeat published procedures. To their credit, the (high profile) authors of the original work engaged the contributors in a discussion of the variables in the experimental procedures.
In a follow-up post to the discussion, the Blog Syn contributors propose that the active species in the oxidation is actually a hydrated version of the IBX oxidant and that the presence of water is critical in the reaction.
This is fascinating stuff. The site had come under some heavy criticism recently for questioning peer-reviewed results without subjecting itself to the same process. But here’s the real beauty of a community-based discussion – we can all learn something new, and maybe even improve our understanding of chemistry.