Angewandte Chemie International Edition
© WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Very Important Paper or Very Important Person?
My immediate reaction to the Editorial, the Appeal, and the four referee reports is: "Would we be reading this Appeal and even writing a comment if the authors had been Reiher, Bickelhaupt, Koch, and Frenking?". I tend to believe that the answer would be "No" or "Maybe, after major modification". Three of the four referee reports mention the prominence of the authors as an important point, and taken together with the Editorial I feel tempted to ask: "How much 'VIP' (very important person) is there in 'VIP' (very important paper)?". In this particular case I cannot escape the impression that the VIP component is significant.
Many points raised by Hoffmann, Schleyer, and Schaefer apply quite generally to all types of theoretical studies and not only to those reporting on the stability of transient species. This is what makes the Appeal generally relevant. However, I have to agree with Gernot Frenking that most of these points concern the basics of theoretical studies and therefore belong in a computational chemistry class rather than an Angewandte essay. That theory papers, in part, grossly violate these simple guidelines might also reflect the fact that most high-impact chemistry journals (including Angewandte Chemie) leave this point quite open in their editorial guidelines for authors. A modification of these guidelines might actually represent the best end to which the current Appeal can be taken.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtität München (Germany)