Stripy timeline

18 April 2004

First article of the Stripy Nanoparticle series published in Nature Materials Spontaneous assembly of subnanometre-ordered domains in the ligand shell of monolayer-protected nanoparticles


Predrag Djuranovic, student at MIT in FS’s group demonstrates that the stripes are an artefact. He has to leave the group. The secret stays within MIT. Seven years of imaging artifacts: What gives?


19 January 2007

Science publishes “Divalent Nanoparticles”, the third article of the series.  

7 Feb 2007

I submit a technical comment to Science. Science requests a response from FS. The technical comment does not address the existence of stripes, only the evidence for the existence of “poles”

7-20 Feb 2007

FS responds  

20 Feb 2007

Science decides not to publish the exchange  


17 July 2009

Stripy Nanoparticles Revisited submitted to Nature Materials The accompanying letter to the Editor contains specific recommendations to ensure a fair reviewing process.

13 August 2009

Nature Materials asks us to resubmit in a different format, i.e. as a correspondence with 1000 words limit.  

14 August 2009

Stripy Nanoparticles Revisited submitted to Nature Materials as a correspondence  

18 August 2009

Our ms is sent by Nature Materials to FS for a reponse  

2 September 2009

Our ms + the response is sent by Nature Materials to external referees  

5 September 2009

Having seen the response, we send a short note to facilitate the work of the referees and the editorial process 13 September 2009: Nature Materials publishes a third “stripy” article: The effect of nanometre-scale structure on interfacial energy; (#12 in the “stripy” series)

18 September 2009

Nature Materials rejects our ms On the basis of two referees reports which contain factual errors and are written by scientists who are not SPM experts. One of the reason for rejection is “Additionally, Referee 2 comments that the issues raised are unlikely to be of interest to the wide audience of Nature Materials.  Consequently we must be of the opinion that the Correspondence is unsuitable for publication.” That comment is particularly ironic given that Nature Materials had just published a third article on stripes (and has now published a fourth).

18-21 September 2009

Robust exchange of views with Nature Materials highlighting the flaws in the evaluation process.  


17  November 2009

Submitted Stripy Nanoparticles Revisited to Nano Letters Nano Letters has not published any article in the series and did not have a duty to consider the article…

24 November 2009

ms assigned to Editor  

28 November 2009

ms rejected and it did not.


3 December 2009

Stripy Nanoparticles Revisited submitted to Small Letter to the Editor similar to the one for Nature Materials

3/12/09 to 28/05/10

Jose Oliveira, Editor of Small, tries to get independent referees reports on our ms 25 April 2010: Direct mapping of the solid–liquid adhesion energy with subnanometre resolution; Nature Nanotechnology (#14 in the “stripy” series)

28 May 2010

Two referees reports communicated to us but no decision made: Jose Oliveira is waiting for at least one more report. Referee 1 concludes: “Overall, I think we should try to avoid “Schoen catastrophes” where possible. Rapid dissemination of possible irreproducible data is desirable.  

I think it is worth publishing this paper.”

28/05/10 to 19/08/10

Jose Oliveira still tries to get at least one more independent referees reports on our ms.  


While Jose has not obtained a third report, following a conversation on the phone, he allows us to submit a revised version addressing the concerns of the first two referees  


Submission of revised version (R1) and response to the first two referees  

20/08/10 to 24/11/10

Jose Oliveira sends our revised version to the first two referees as well as additional new referees “to ensure a sufficient yield of reports”  


7 referee’s reports received (!); EDITORIAL DECISION: minor revisions requested  

24/11/10 to 30/01/11

We work on improving the ms in line with the referees comments and writing the response to the referees. January 5, 2011: Ordering Surfaces on the Nanoscale: Implications for Protein Adsorption; JACS (#15 in the “stripy” series)


Submission of revised version (R2) and response to the seven referees  

11/02/11 to 05/04/11

11/02, conversation with Jose; the ms is unofficially accepted: it won’t be sent again to referees; it will now be sent to FS for a response. It will only be officially accepted at the same time as the response. March 9, 2011: Direct Investigation of Intracellular Presence of Gold Nanoparticles via Photothermal Heterodyne Imaging; ACS Nano  (#17 in the “stripy” series)


Conversation with Jose; he has received FS response; later that week, he decides to send the ms to referees.  

05/04/11 to 24/11/11

Jose Oliveira tries, unsuccesfully to obtain referee’s reports on FS’s response. 3 JUN 2011: Mixed-Ligand Nanoparticles as Supramolecular Receptors. Small (#18 in the “stripy” series) 16 June 2011: Striped nanowires and nanorods from mixed SAMS; Nanoscale

(#19 in the “stripy” series)


26 OCT 2011: Oligonucleotide Delivery by Cell-Penetrating “Striped” Nanoparticle; Angewandte Chemie(#20 in the “stripy” series)

24/11/11 to 12/12/11

Jose Oliveira offers to publish both ms back to back, including the “strong language” in FS’s response. I accept but with conditions, but Jose backtracks.  

12/12/11 to 6/03/12

Jose Oliveira tries to obtain referee’s reports on FS’s response. Feb 2012: Dynamic Cellular Uptake of Mixed-Monolayer Protected Nanoparticles; Biointerphases (#21 in the “stripy” series)


Jose Oliveira has three reports but would like one more.  

6/03/12 to 9/07/12

Jose obtains one more report, asks FS to submit a revised version; revised version submitted on the 9/07/12  


Both ms are accepted  

13/08/12 to 23/11/12

Proofs are produced, reviewed and accepted. Why did this take again over three months? Between 13 August 2012 and 23 November 2012, the list of “stripy” articles expanded further:

  • Determination of monolayer-protected gold nanoparticle ligand–shell morphology using NMR; Liu et al, Nature Communications, Received 06 March 2012 (Accepted 21 September 2012 Published 13 November 2012) (#23 in the “stripy” series)
  •  Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles; Eun Seon Cho et al; Nature Materials Received 15 September 2011 Accepted 20 July 2012 (#22 in the “stripy” series) Published online 09 September 2012
  • Amphiphilic amino acids: a key to adsorbing proteins to nanopatterned surfaces? Andrew Hung et al; Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 928-937


  1. 1. Interested in the poles criticism. Has this been published, resolved?

    1.5. Would be nice to get a little of the juicy details of the NPG exchanges. Was Pep involved directly? Did he get copies of the exchanges (from the head editor)?

    2. seven referees!

    3. Very interesting to hear a reviewer make the remark about Schon. You’ve avoided that, but others in science see some similarities to Schon, to arsenic DNA. It’s not exactly Schon (who fabricated data), but it is cherrypicking and refusal to consider if he is wrong (and a tendancy to publish one thing after another, emphasizing every sexy science that the magic fairy dust can do). It sort of reminds me of CBS News with the Rathergate episode. First impulse was to defend. To try to support the initial hypothesis…rather than really consider the criticisms. At least CBS only took a couple weeks (although it was a firestorm of ridicule which eventually moved them on…and some of them still never accepted that they were wrong).


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