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Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Forensic chemistry/archive1

The following is an archived discussion of a featured article nomination. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the article's talk page or in Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates. No further edits should be made to this page.

The article was archived by Sarastro1 via FACBot (talk) 21:54, 6 January 2017 [1].


Forensic chemistryEdit

Nominator(s): Majora (talk) 20:47, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

The various forensic disciplines are tasked with providing valid scientific evidence during the legal process. Forensic chemistry is the discipline that helps investigators determine the identity of unknown materials found during the course of an investigation. Forensic chemists use a variety of instrumentation and methods in the course of their work and follow strict standards and guidelines in order to ensure that their results are valid and admissible in a courtroom.

Today, I bring forth forensic chemistry as a featured article candidate. I rewrote the entire article last year and brought it up to GA status. Since that time, there has been little needed maintenance showing its comprehensive nature. This is my first FAC and I hope that you all enjoy reading the article. I look forward to answering any questions regarding it. --Majora (talk) 20:47, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

Comments from JimEdit

Welcome to the bearpit! I'm a chemistry graduate and a former expert witness in a different field, so this caught my attention. Before I go any further, two issues regarding comprehensiveness.

  • I get little sense of a global perspective here. The only standards agency given is the US one, and I see no mention of any other jurisdiction. Should this be moved to Forensic chemistry in the US?
    I'm not really seeing what you are seeing I'm afraid. I tried to keep everything as general as possible and avoided getting too specific with any one country. All of the methods and standards are international. SWGDRUG is an international society comprised of scientists representing multiple different countries and the UN. They were created in the US but they work towards international standards acceptance not just US acceptance (see [2]). The history section takes into account the various international scientists that made forensic chemistry the way it is today. Moving it to Forensic chemistry in the US would really not be truthful as the information in the article is valid for any country. --Majora (talk) 16:53, 9 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Although you link to expert witness in the lead, I don't think that's sufficient. The lead is meant to be a summary of the main text, but I see nothing in the body of the report regarding testifying in court. The whole point of any forensic work is that at some stage you may have to be cross-examined on what you have written, and you need to explain in your text more about the role of a forensic expert in court. As it stands, you don't mention anywhere the need for independence, FRE rule 702, how experts are paid, or anything else regarding the role of an expert witness in the US (assuming that's where we are staying).
    I can definitely go into more about testifying and what is expected of an expert witness. It would fit nicely into the standards section anyways. But I don't think we should be going too far into FRE/Daubert/Frye standards since those are definitely US specific and would requiring going down to state level differences that would probably be too much. --Majora (talk) 16:53, 9 October 2016 (UTC)

At first glance, the article otherwise looks pretty good, but I'm reluctant to go through in detail until we have discussed or resolved the comprehensiveness question. Jimfbleak (talk) 16:07, 9 October 2016 (UTC)

OK, fair enough, ping me when you're ready Jimfbleak (talk) 07:43, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
@Jimfbleak: I just want to apologize for the delay. Things got a little hectic during the last couple of days and I haven't had the time to finish off the requested text. It is still being worked on and I should have it done either today or tomorrow. Thanks for your patience. --Majora (talk) 11:38, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
@Jimfbleak: All set. Let me know what you think. --Majora (talk) 00:13, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

This looks to be a very good and comprehensive article, so the following are just minor nit-picks before I support Jimfbleak (talk) 05:49, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

  • can provide directions for investigators to look in—Call me old-fashioned, but I don't like the final proposition, rejig?
    Rejigged. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
  • In the Role in investigations section, there is some repetition, eg "For example","would tell"
    Fixed. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Just for info, there are repeated links to strychnine, arson and retention factor— not enough to matter, so you can ignore if you wish
    Fixed. One of those strychnine links was changed to the article on the alkaloid instead of to the one on the tree. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Stas' method—is there an article to link to?
    Not that I'm aware of. I can redlink it if you think that would be appropriate or go into more detail about it. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
  • a unique spectrum when exposed to a specific wavelength of light—doesn't make sense as written, you can't get a spectrum from a single wavelength
    That was a typo. Should have been plural (wavelengths). Fixed. And I also fixed an inaccuracy that I missed before. --Majora (talk) 02:01, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
  • examine the plant proteins that make up chlorophyll—I'm not convinced that chlorophyll is a protein, it's a pigment like heme
    Sort of. Chlorophyll by itself is a pigment. But it doesn't exist that way in plants. It is attached to a protein. Just like heme is part of a hemeprotein. The section on this in the chlorophyll article explains it far better than I ever could. "The identity, function and spectral properties of the types of chlorophyll in each photosystem are distinct and determined by each other and the protein structure surrounding them." is the relevant part of that section. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Certain aspects that forensic chemists must be aware of—here and elsewhere, the tone is a bit WP:How to, maybe Factors that forensic chemists might consider or similar. Please check for similar
    I see what you mean and I like your suggestion for the fix there. I have changed out the line (and made sure to give you credit for the idea Face-smile.svg). I'll go through the rest of the article but I would appreciate it if you could point out where you see that just to make sure I get it all. --Majora (talk) 02:01, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
  • behalf of the prosecution or the defense—In the English legal system at least, experts can be jointly instructed by both sides
    Added a little bit on how an expert can be called as a "court's witness". --Majora (talk) 02:01, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Is it worth mentioning that experts' remuneration cannot be dependent on outcome?
    It would be hard to find a source that is all encompassing that would say that. Experts that work for the prosecution are going to be paid regardless since testifying is part of their job requirements. For the defense experts and judge appointed experts I can see what I can find. --Majora (talk) 02:01, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
  • attorney—would lawyer be better than the more specifically US term?
    Fixed. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
  • You don't need to give retrieval dates for on-line versions of real publications like journals, just for web-only articles which might change
    I wasn't aware of that. I always just put it for everything since it acts as a time frame to look for on archive.org if/when the link goes dead. I can remove them if that is a sticking point. --Majora (talk) 18:29, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
I'm now happy to Support. I fixed a typo, otherwise happy with tone and content. I'm not too concerned with the retrieval dates, but obviously other reviewers might comment. Good luck Jimfbleak (talk) 05:43, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Support on prose per my standard disclaimer. These are my edits. As always, feel free to revert my copyediting. - Dank (push to talk) 15:02, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Comments by Mike ChristieEdit

A few points, but generally this looks to be FA quality.

  • I wouldn't oppose over this, but you might consider moving the "Role in investigations" section down below the "History" section.
    When I first added it, I thought about doing that. I put it above after thinking how someone who knows nothing about the topic may want to read it. After the intro reading about what forensic chemistry actually does in investigations seemed like the logical choice. If they want to continue, then the history section and the rest of it. I can certainly change it around if you think that would be received better. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
    No, that's fine; I can see your point. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:14, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • "there is a specific blood alcohol content cutoff where penalties begin or increase": shouldn't this be "there are specific blood alcohol content cutoffs where penalties begin or increase"?
    Fixed. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • "A bottle of strychnine extract was easily obtainable in apothecaries": as far as I can see you don't make this point in the article text, so I think you should cite it in the caption. I'd also suggest making this "was once easily obtainable".
    So, I've been thinking about this and the source would be the image itself and the catalog page [3]. Is that what you were looking for? The fact that it came from an apothecary is on the bottle. "Manufacturing Chemists" is an alternative term for them. I changed it to say was "once" easily obtainable. As for the source, did you just want me to use the link above? --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
    I'm not going to let this hold up my support, but I think ideally we'd use an explicit written source. Google Books has Wildlife, Land, and People: A Century of Change in Prairie Canada by Donald G. Wetherell, which includes the phrase "Good-quality strychnine could now be had cheaply everywhere", which I think does it. That particular book is one of those weird Google Books transcriptions that has no page numbers, so it would be annoying to cite, but you could use that if nothing else can be found. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:14, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • "The wide range of instrumentation for forensic chemical analysis also started during this time period": suggest "began to be developed" instead of "started".
    Sounds good. Changed. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • "GC-MS is also capable of quantifying substances which can be used by forensic chemists to determine the effect the substance would have on an individual": I initially misread this as saying that GC-MS is used to quantify some substances, and those substances are used by forensic chemsists to ...", so I'd suggest rephrasing. Perhaps "GC-MS is also capable of quantifying the substances it detects; forensic chemists can use this information to determine the effect the substance would have on an individual".
    Done. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • There are some uncited sentences in the "Standards" section, at the end of each of the first two paragraphs.
    Fixed. I reworded it a little so please let me know what you think. It sounded right in my head but who knows what it sounds like to others. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm not knowledgeable about this area, so I can't really tell if this is comprehensive or not, though it seems thorough. However, I was wondering if a short section about reference material or professional publications might be in order? Are there standard references that could be listed, or professional journals that are regarded as central to the field? This is only a suggestion -- don't feel obliged to follow it if there's nothing that fits this description.
    They do have reference standards for comparison purposes and calibration. The phrase "NIST traceable" is common in all US forensics. I'm not sure what other countries use though. I would have to research some things to see. As for the publications, it looks like a forensic chemistry journal was just launched in March by Elsevier [4]. Whether or not that is going to be the go to journal for this field is to be seen. Currently most research in forensics is shared at conferences and published in a wide range of different journals and magazines. The Journal of Forensic Sciences being a big one (but not specific to this field). So central to "this" field? Not at this time that I am aware of (at least not until Forensic Chemistry gets a little bit more time to circulate). Central to forensics in general? Sure. But I am not sure that is what you are asking for. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
    It sounds like we're fine with what you have; I was just checking. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:14, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

-- Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:19, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

@Mike Christie: Responses made. --Majora (talk) 05:47, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

Support. I think the referencing on the image caption for the strychnine bottle could be improved a little, but since, as Majora points out, the availability is reasonably evident from the label visible in the image I'm not concerned about it for FA status. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:14, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for the support Mike Christie. In the interest of being complete I added a ref to the book you mentioned. The URL I put in is a direct link to the passage in question. The citation is just going to have to live without the page numbers at this point as it is hard to determine what it would be without actually counting. --Majora (talk) 21:16, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

Coord notes -- hi, unless I missed them we still need the following checks:

  • Image licensing.
  • Source formatting/reliability.
  • Spotcheck of sources for accurate use and avoidance of close paraphrasing as it's Majora's first FAC.

All these can be requested at the top of WT:FAC, unless any of the above reviewers would like to have a go. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:37, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

Whoops. Sorry Ian Rose. Wasn't aware I had to actually request those things. Thanks for the heads up. All done. --Majora (talk) 18:52, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
Don't worry, you'll get used to it....! Image and source reviews are required for every nomination, spotchecks for new nominators and for older hands who haven't had one for a while. Sometimes people just do them off their own bat much earlier in the review process, but when it looks like a nomination has decent support for promotion, and they've not been done, the coordinators invite you to request them. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:23, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
@Ian Rose: Please excuse my ignorance but is it normal for it to take this long for someone to do a source review on a nomination? I just don't want this to be archived for lack of that necessary check. --Majora (talk) 22:00, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Image reviewEdit

  • File:Punuk.Alaska.skulls.jpg: Free image on Commons. Seems at least moderately germane to the topic as deaths are often investigated as potential crimes. The license checks out.
    This one is just part of the {{forensic science}} template. It is easily changeable per article but I couldn't think (or find) anything that would be really specific for this field (unlike say forensic firearm examination that has a photo of a bullet). --Majora (talk)
  • File:Oklahomacitybombing-DF-ST-98-01356.jpg: Free image on Commons on an event discussed in the section. Source link is broken.
    Is the source link necessary? I can change it to an FBI story on the matter but I can't seem to recover the original source. It isn't in the archives and apparently the DoD requires an access card now to search through the images at the current link. Just to note that this image has already appeared on the main page. So its provenance already checked out. --Majora (talk)
  • File:Bottle of extract of nux vomica, London, England, 1794-1930 Wellcome L0058630.jpg: Free image on Commons, license checks out on the source page. It's a bit unclear what the image adds to the section, though.
    I agree that this one is more tangentially related than the other ones. It is more of an example of "early history" than anything else. The fact that you could easily buy such poisons in shops in the past and there were no accurate way to determine if someone died of poison made it a much more common form of murder. --Majora (talk)
    I think this one is worth keeping; it illustrates the easy availability of poisons in the past. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:52, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
  • File:GCMS open.jpg: Free image on Commons. Marked as "own work", defective EXIF, present elsewhere on the web but always postdating the upload. It shows a machine discussed in the section.
  • File:ATR FTIR of Hexane.png: Free image on Commons. Marked as "own work", it seems like a machine-made image though; what was it created with? It shows the output of a process described in the section.
    I honestly can't remember what software I used to make that or the one below. I did them back in college and it was whatever was installed on the computers that ran the instruments at the time. There is nothing copyrightable there anyways. I self'd it instead of PD-simple because I took the photo of it but I can change it to PD-simple if you think that is more appropriate. I also updated the author parameter to my current username (it was my previous one before my rename). --Majora (talk)
  • File:HPLC readout for APAP, ASA, and caffeine mixture.png: Free image on Commons, same considerations and question as above.

In-article images have all ALT text. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:22, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

@Jo-Jo Eumerus: Responses made. --Majora (talk) 20:10, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
On the source link question, Webarchive-searching the link indicates that it once led to a search function. That should be brought back, if searching for "F-3203-SPT-95-000023-XX-0198" yields the image. I am wary of diagrams like these being marked as PD-simple, a court could quite reasonably consider it involving creative choices. I am not sure if it's cut and dried whether the creators of the software in question would own co-copyrights to its output. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:27, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: I'm still trying to recover the source link but the archived search isn't bringing up anything. I'll keep trying other avenues. As for the diagrams, I understand that the software itself can be copyrighted provided there are enough elements there to make it pass the threshold of originality (although if I recall correctly the software on these instruments were basically a blank screen and some minor buttons). However, the readouts can't be "original" because of their nature. Take the FTIR image. All FTIR images of hexane will always produce the same result. They have to. Else it would make searching for them in a database moot. There are no original elements in the readouts because there can't be. If the readouts were copyrighted it would also present issues in court as the other side would not be able to effectively retest/rebut the evidence (which is a current problem with some expert systems being used in DNA analysis). --Majora (talk) 21:46, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
Update: I found a book link that shows the bombing photograph, the photographer, and his DoD affiliations. I have added it the file page. --Majora (talk) 23:18, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: Thoughts? --Majora (talk) 22:43, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
I have a small concern that these diagrams may have a "selection and arrangement" copyright belonging to whoever wrote the software used to create them. Best to ask commons:COM:VPC on this, probably. One of the less endearing aspects of copyright screening. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:00, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: Asked and answered. The graphs are fine. --Majora (talk) 00:10, 23 November 2016 (UTC)
Seems like the images are OK, then. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:18, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

Passing thoughts from BencherliteEdit

I'm a lawyer based in the UK rather than a chemist, so that's my starting point, and I'm looking solely at the section about testimony.

  • "The standardized procedures for testimony by forensic chemists are provided by the various agencies that employ the scientists as well as SWGDRUG." No, in England and Wales for instance the procedures for testimony (giving evidence in court) are provided by rules of court, not by the agencies employing the expert / the party instructing the expert. This sentence is not universal.
  • "In some jurisdictions, experts can also be called by the judge to act as a "court's witness" thereby making the expert appear more impartial to the jury." Two problems: (a) checking the reference, "some jurisdictions" turns out to be supported only by a reference to the US Federal Rules of Evidence; (b) even under the US Federal Rules of Evidence, the relevant rule would appear to be Rule 706 ("Court-Appointed Expert Witnesses") not Rule 614.

Hope this helps. BencherliteTalk 21:51, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

Bencherlite, as a former expert witness, I raised this issue myself earlier, but failed to pick up that the response wasn't entirely satisfactory. FWIW, the relevant guidance in England and Wales is Part 35 of the CPR Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:58, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
@Bencherlite: I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make with SWGDRUG (and perhaps the sentence needs to be reworded). SWGDRUG is essentially an ethics board. Standardized reporting/testimony standards are what SWGDRUG publishes and what all forensic chemists are expected to follow. Yes, the court sets the courtroom procedures and, in the end, decides who can be an expert witness. But the standards of how the person testifies, and what they can and can't testify to, is published by SWGDRUG. For example, if during cross the witness is asked a question about something they haven't been proficiency tested and certified in (it happens) the procedure for that is to not even attempt to answer it but explain that you can only answer questions directly related to the areas you are proficient in (even if you are confident that you know the answer). That rule is an ethics things and comes from SWGDRUG, not from the courts as the courts aren't asking the questions (generally). Again, I think the sentence just has to be reworded to be clearer, which I will do when I have some time to think after the holiday.

I fixed the reference. Thank you for catching that. It is appreciated. As for the "some" jurisdictions, how many citations would you like? The UK one would be Rule 35.7 of the Civil Procedural Rules [5]. I can look up and cite as many jurisdictions as necessary but I didn't want to overkill the citations so I just listed one. --Majora (talk) 03:55, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

You've misunderstood CPR 35.7 - the court isn't instructing or calling an expert itself, it is telling the parties that they are to choose an expert between themselves to be jointly instructed by the parties, rather than have one expert per side. This is generally done in lower-value cases where the costs of having two experts would not be proportionate to the value of the claim, or for less important issues in large cases. The parties give the instructions to the expert, not the court. As for referencing "some jurisdictions", you need a reference that this happens in "some jurisdictions", not just one. As for the ethics point about not answering questions outside your area of expertise, with respect, that rule did not originate from SWGDRUG and is not exclusive to forensic chemists or to SWGDRUG. Never having heard of SWGDRUG before this nomination (although I don't practise in this particular field) I'd be interested in seeing something that says that forensic chemists in the UK (to take a particular example) are expected to follow its reporting and testimony standards. It seems to be a very US-orientated body, not something to which a UK forensic chemist would defer when reporting and giving evidence. BencherliteTalk 09:19, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
I think we are working off of different definitions of "court's witness". Joint instruction by both sides and an obligation to the court, as oppose to the "dueling experts" that is otherwise common, is the definition I am working with. I understand that the UK's CPR says that experts are always obligated to the court first and that is true in the US as well. But that isn't really how it happens. Experts with alternative opinions happen all the time. That is the whole point of being declared an expert. You can give your opinions in regards to evidence. I can certainly change the sentence to whatever you want it to say to be more clear on this but I think we need to agree to a definition first.

SWGDRUG is an international organization with representatives from multiple different countries as well as the UN. When the UK had a forensic science services department they were represented by Dr. Sylvia Burns (who is still part of the organization as part of a private lab since FSS dissolved). At least as long as Brexit is on hold the UK is also represented by Dr. Michael Bovens of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes. SWGDRUG is mentioned many times in the publications put out by the ENFSI including in the use of reference samples/spectra in the proper identification of unknown substances [6]. The standardization of these things primarily has to do with accreditation. Any lab is free to do whatever they want. That is true globally. But only if they follow a specific set of guidelines would they be accredited, which is what matters. Again, I am open to suggestions as to the improvement of that section but saying that SWGDRUG is a US-orientated body is simply not true. --Majora (talk) 18:28, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Is is the "called by the judge" part? As I read more of the CPR that seems like the most offending part. Perhaps, In some jurisdictions, experts can act as a "court's witness" whose duty is to the court as opposed to the prosecution or defense. These experts can be questioned or cross-examined by both sides thereby making the expert appear more impartial to the jury. --Majora (talk) 20:37, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and made this change since there hasn't been any comments in a few days regarding it. If there is still issues let me know. --Majora (talk) 00:36, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Sorry, I got distracted by work. This is still wrong. You don't understand the Civil Procedure Rules for England and Wales. You are using "court's witness" in a sense unknown to the E&W system. All experts in E&W owe duties to the court, and also owe duties to the party instructing them (where that is not in conflict with their duty to the court). There is no jury in civil cases here (save, very rarely, in defamation or police malpractice claims). And you are still saying "some jurisdictions" by citing two sets of rules, primary sources to boot, and apparently making a generalisation from that to "some". The article doesn't actually need the two sentences In some jurisdictions, experts can act as a "court's witness" whose duty is to the court as opposed to the prosecution or defense. These experts can be questioned or cross-examined by both sides thereby making the expert appear more impartial to the jury (nor the words in the previous sentence can be called on behalf of the prosecution or the defense and), as they're not specific to forensic chemists and so I suggest that you remove them. BencherliteTalk 00:42, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

@Bencherlite: Seeing as I was asked to include the point by Jimfbleak I am now getting conflicting requests from two different FA reviewers. Kinda makes this whole process a tad challenging when that happens. You also seem to be committing the same error by only taking into account the UK's version of law. I can simply change the citation to be that of Australia or any number of other countries that allow the same practice. Hence the "some" part of the "some jurisdictions". Obviously I'm not going to find and list every single country in the world that allows such a thing. That would be madness. As for knocking the fact that they are primary sources. Of course they are. The policy on the matter clearly states that Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reputably published may be used in Wikipedia. I don't see how I am in violation of that in any way as I am not interpreting what is clearly written in the Federal Rules of Evidence of the United States. If I misunderstood the UK's version that is my mistake and I apologize. --Majora (talk) 01:55, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
The very fact that you are misinterpreting a primary source (the civil rules for England and Wales) shows the dangers of using primary sources here. Your Australian link shows that the systems for expert witnesses vary in its nine separate jurisdictions, so saying Australia allows this or that in terms of expert evidence isn't terribly helpful (your article even says that "Three jurisdictions have specific provisions in respect of the appointment of a single expert by the court or the parties"). But I really don't see why the article needs a couple of sentences explaining that legal systems have various different procedures for expert witnesses. It adds nothing of value to our understanding of forensic chemistry evidence. Perhaps Jimfbleak can chip in again? BencherliteTalk (using his alt account Bencherheavy) 13:26, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
@Bencherlite: Sentence removed. --Majora (talk) 00:40, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Sorry for the late reply. Good luck. I don't have the time to provide a full review. BencherliteTalk 07:43, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Comments from Graham BeardsEdit

Oppose - There are numerous unsourced statements. Graham Beards (talk) 15:02, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Graham is quite right; not sure how I missed that in my review. I guess I was focusing on the prose. I'll leave my support in place for now on the assumption that this will be fixed shortly; I'll return in a couple of days to take another look. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:12, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
@Graham Beards and Mike Christie: Could either of you be more specific please? Obviously, I think it is well sourced else I wouldn't have put it up for this and unsourced statements are an insta-fail even at the GA level, which this passed. And if numerous people missed it, which seems to have happened, then saying that there are "numerous" errors such as this confuses me. So I'm going to need more to go on than "numerous unsourced statements". Thanks. --Majora (talk) 21:37, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Majora: here are the ones I see. I'm sure these can all be sourced, but they don't currently have a citation.

  • Last three sentences of the first paragraph of the body.
    Not entirely sure that needs a citation per WP:BLUE. Death from A, you look for A or the precursors to A. That seems pretty straightforward to me and frankly I'm not sure I can find something in a published anything that says that since it is straightforward.
  • Last sentence of first section.
    Also seems mildly BLUEy but less so than the first one so, sourced.
  • Last two sentences of "Early history", starting "The ability to separate..."
  • Last sentence of next paragraph, starting "AA analysis can..."
  • Last two sentences of Spectroscopy section, starting "AAS is useful..."
  • Last three sentences of first paragraph of Chromatography section, starting "This solution is called..."
  • Last sentence of next paragraph.
  • Last four sentences of "Forensic toxicology".
  • Last two sentences of "Standards".

-- Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:57, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict):::Hi Majora, nice to meet you. The standards for FAs are much higher than those for GA. We expect every statement to be verifiable by a citation to a reliable source. A minimum requirement is a citation at the end of every paragraph that verifies the proceeding text. Clearly, your nomination falls short on this. Part of the FA review process is to check this, and to spotcheck for close paraphrasing of the sources used. I don't want to litter your commendable article with {{citation needed}} tags, but I can if you want me to. You are clearly an expert on this subject but sadly this carries no weight (and some would argue that this is a problem with Wikipedia). If you use PubMed, this link [7] can be useful. But ensure that you don't use primary sources, review articles are preferred. I enjoyed reading your article. I hope you did not object to the few edits I have made today. Please note my oppose is only provisional. Best wishes. Graham Beards (talk) 22:07, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

@Graham Beards: In fact I would like you to go right ahead and {{cn}} away if that is what it is going to take. If you don't tell me what to fix, I can't fix it. They will be temporary anyways. --Majora (talk) 22:12, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
I'll stop dealing with Mike's part while you do that to avoid conflicts. Please let me know when you are done Graham Beards --Majora (talk) 22:16, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
Majora, I'd be surprised if Graham's list was much different from mine -- in case Graham doesn't respond quickly I'd suggest fixing the ones I noted above, and you may find that fixes Graham's points too. I can mark them with {{cn}} if you prefer. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:30, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
@Mike Christie: If you could that would be great. I have to step out for a few hours but I will fix everything you mark tonight. --Majora (talk) 22:43, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
Majora: I think I got them all. I put one on each sentence, but in many cases I would guess you can place a single cite at the end of several consecutive sentences, if it covers all of them. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:51, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
@Mike Christie: I wouldn't want anyone to come along later and say that the sentence is unsourced because it was at the end of consecutive sentences. So, they are being all marked. In regards to the very first one. I responded to it above but asking that a citation be provided for that is like asking for a citation that the sky is blue. It isn't really practical to ask for a citation for something that is unarguably common sense. If you find ricin, you look for ricin. If you find strychnine, you look for strychnine. You aren't going to find ricin and look for strychnine. So I'm not really sure what you want me to do with that one. --Majora (talk) 00:54, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
There is also the last one you noted. For example, the GC elution times would be compared to known values along with the MS spectra. If both of those match a known substance, no further tests are needed. Why would that need a citation? It is an example of the previous sentence, which is cited. I can use the same citation again, but it doesn't explicitly say that. No where would it explicitly say that since the, already cited, guidelines already say that. I guess I am a little confused as to why that would need a citation at all when it is just restating the previous sentence with a filled in example. --Majora (talk) 01:08, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
There are two questions here, I think: why cite something so obvious? and how? It used to be the case that fairly obvious statements didn't need to be cited, but the expectation now is that anything that is not logically obvious without any prior knowledge of the given field should be cited. Mathematical deductions, for example, are not always cited; and there are a couple of other examples. It may seem crazy, but that's the expectation -- I think what has happened over the years is that it was found that leaving loopholes encouraged vague statements, so the standard kept tightening. How to cite is generally pretty straightforward. For example, the sentence you quote is obvious to anyone who reads that source (the SWGDRUG recommendations), so I moved the citation to the end of that group of sentences. You can cite each sentence individually, and some editors do that; I don't, because it leads to just the sort of illogicality you're complaining about -- sometimes a set of statements taken together are all cited to the same source; citing each sentence can lead to putting individual cites on short sentences. But it's your choice.
I fixed a couple of instances where I had access to the source and could tell that a given source covered the point at issue. For the ones that are left, can you either add a cite or give details as to why you can't? I can work with you to get the remaining ones sorted out. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:00, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
Fair point on the citing every sentence thing. Thank you for the fixes. It is appreciated. The only requested cite I really have an issue with is the first one, in the "Role in investigations" section. I could find a news article that says, "they found x poison in body and found y precursor in the suspect's house". Those things happen all the time. But that isn't directly citing the A->B relationship that the sentence says. You find ricin, you look for castor seeds. You find arsenic, you look for rat poison (or something else high in arsenic). To me that is logically obvious to the point that "if you find x look for the x or the precursors to x" doesn't need a citation. If you think that the news articles I mentioned above would do it, I can add those right now. Otherwise, I don't think I can cite that sentence in the manner that you want and it will have to be removed. --Majora (talk) 02:13, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
I see your point, but from the point of view of a reader that knew nothing of the topic before they started reading, there's actually new information there. (I am such a reader!) I'd never thought about the need to search for precursors; I didn't know there was such a thing as a strychnine tree, and I didn't know that castor oil seeds could be used to make ricin. A quick hunt around on Google found this, which might be useful; it talks about the need for forensic chemists to search for precursors. Actually it mentions the possibility of identifying precursor batches, which you don't cover; is that worth including? Seems like it might be. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:22, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Mike Christie: Chemical tracing is not something that most forensic chemists do. I would consider that more of a subspecialty than a separate field (much much smaller than toxicology). I could of course add something, perhaps to the end of the "modernization" section? Not really sure though since it is something that only a small subset of forensic chemists would even be involved in. I don't think having it in its own section would be doable. But back to the requested cite at hand. Would something like, [8] work? Investigators found castor seeds in the husband's car (planted there by his wife) so it shows that they were looking for such a think during the investigation. --Majora (talk) 02:58, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Any reason not to use both the news source you found, and the cen.acs.org one I link above? That one explicitly talks about precursors. As for the tracing, I think it's worth a sentence -- it's there in a reliable source, and it's interesting and seems relevant to me. By the way, I found this book while searching for something to cite; is this a source you've consulted? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:32, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough. All requested citations are now done (or the sentence removed) and the line about chemical tracing has been added to the end of the modernization section. Please let me know what you think. Hopefully when Graham logs back on everything will be fixed to their satisfaction as well. --Majora (talk) 02:41, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
That looks good to me. Since I've supported above I should say for the benefit of the FAC coord that I don't feel competent to judge Bencherlite's comments, so my support shouldn't be taken as a disagreement there. Essentially I'm supporting as a lay reader, so I can't assess comprehensiveness and thoroughness of research (FA criteria 1b and 1c) for example. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:06, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Source review from Imzadi1979Edit

In general, a good citation needs to list the following, if applicable:

  • Author (may not be present for news articles published without a byline, for example)
  • Date of publication (sometimes absent, especially with online-only sources)
  • Title of the source
  • Title of the publication, if the cited source is an article or chapter contained within a larger work
  • Location of publication, normally only for books, but also generally for newspapers which do not contain the city in the name of the paper. (A citation to The New York Times wouldn't include that, but a citation to The Mining Journal would note that it is published in Marquette, Michigan.)
  • Name of the publisher (although newspapers and other periodicals generally omit this)
  • Access dates for online works (technically optional for online sources unlikely to change, but really mandatory for undated online sources)

There are other things that make up a good citation, but those are the basics. Beyond that, the citations in a FA-quality article need to consistently format citations so that they all look similar, and similarly polished, in composition. To wit:

  • Note 1 lacks any author, publication date or publisher information.
    • Added publisher. The other information you asked for is not stated on the source. "The authors" thank contributors to the publication but they aren't the authors and I don't see a date. All of the references listed have an access date in 2013. (Probably know the answer to this but) do I assume that that is the publication date? --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
      • Not all sources, as I note above, have stated authors or explicit dates of publication, and where they aren't stated, we can't really include them. Imzadi 1979  00:23, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Note 2 omits the newspaper name.
    • Fixed. --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
  • In note 3, "The National Counterterrorism Center" would be a publisher, not a published work. There are others that have this issue, and generally a publisher is not noted in italics.
    • I guess I am confused here as to the proper time to use which parameter. I fixed the one that you mentioned. --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
      • A publisher is a company, organization or agency. The "National Counterterrorism Center" fits that definition, so it's the publisher of its website. Not all websites have names. For example, the news website published by WLUC-TV is called Upper Michigan's Source, but WBUP-TV's website has no name of its own. The TV stations would be listed as the publisher (along with their |location=), but only a news article from the former example would have a |work= or |website= noted. (Technically, parameters like |newspaper=, |journal=, |magazine= are all aliases of the |work= parameter.) The New York Times is the name of a newspaper published by The New York Times Company, so the paper is a work, and the company, which would wouldn't include normally, is the publisher. Imzadi 1979  00:23, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • In note 6, the newspaper name is being listed as a publisher, so it's not in italics. Please audit other citations with the same issue.
    • Confused here too. Cite #6 does have T.C. Forensic in italics. Where you talking about a different one? --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
      • Note 6 is for an article from The New York Times website. Like the name of its print paper, that name would be a work and rendered in italics. Imzadi 1979  00:23, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
        • Well I feel silly. My brain took the #3 from the above bullet point and applied it to this one. Whoops. Fixed per guidance below. --Majora (talk) 05:18, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Note 8 omits the "The" in the name of the paper. Now some citation guide say to drop any article that the start of a newspaper's name, and others say to retain it. We're somewhat agnostic about that, so long as we do so consistently.
    • Fixed. --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Note 9 uses the ISO-style date format for the publication date, while other notes use spelled out dates. (Also, book citations usually use just the year, not a full date, and usually include the publication location, although this may be optional.)
    • You may want to add |via=Google Books to note that the book was retrieved through that website, to enhance the WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT-ness of the citation.
      • Weird. I certainly didn't do that. Looks like a bot did. Corrected to the same date format and added via parameter. --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
        • Probably a bot pulling metadata from Google Books, however I still don't know where Google gets the full dates for books because libraries only index them by publication year, and print books almost always only print the copyright/publication year alone on the copyright or title pages. Imzadi 1979  00:23, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
          • I would guess so. There is a slight discrepancy on publication date which may be a problem. Google Books has it as October 1st while Amazon has it as September 29th. Not quite sure what to do with that one. --Majora (talk) 05:18, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Notes 5 and 11 are citing similar kinds of sources, but the former looks to be using {{cite magazine}} and the latter {{cite journal}}. The difference is that the former prefixes the parts with "Vol.", "no." and either "p." or "pp." as appropriate, and the latter uses a more compressed format. Neither is wrong, but they should match up.
    • That is because one is a journal and one is a magazine. At least that is how they bill themselves as. Chemical & Engineering News is a weekly trade magazine and the Journal of the American Chemical Society is a peer reviewed scientific journal. --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
      • They're both periodicals, and it's odd to me to handle academic journals and popular magazines in citation formatting like that. In working with MLA, APA and Chicago citations in academic writing contexts, you can draw a distinction between the two types of periodical. If you're going to treat magazines apart from journals, magazine citations typically lack the volume and issue numbers, and it would be appropriate to see the page number(s) alone prefixed with either "p." or "pp." like a newspaper article citation. Journals would list the volume and issue numbers, and could either use the compressed style from {{cite journal}}, or the more verbose style given by {{cite magazine}} (which is similar to how Chicago would render a journal).

        In short, if you're treating them as different types of source, drop the volume/issue from the magazine and add the missing volume/issue information to any journals lacking it. If you're treating them as simply just periodicals, then either they all use {{cite magazine}} or they all use {{cite journal}} instead of mixing and matching. Imzadi 1979  00:23, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

In general, you should give the various citations a quick re-read looking at consistency and completion. It is hard to evaluate the reliability of incomplete citations, which is the other part of a source review. Imzadi 1979  07:24, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

@Imzadi1979: Thank you for doing this review. I do appreciate it. I guess I am going to need a little bit of guideance on the particulars. As mentioned above, I guess I don't really understand the difference between the website and the publisher parameters in the cite templates. And I guess I really don't understand when it is appropriate to use either one. I've read the documentation and I think I may have fixed the issues. But honestly, I don't know. --Majora (talk) 22:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
I tried to answer some questions above. In short, if the name of something corresponds to a company/agency/organization, it's a |publisher=, and if it's the name of a newspaper/journal/magazine/website, it's a |work=.

The New York Times, Mental Floss (note the space and capitalization), How Stuff Works, Easy Chem, Just Chromatography, Quartz, and the various journal names are all works. On the other hand, the World Health Organization, McGill-Queen's Press, New Mexico State University and the National Institute of Justice are organizations that are acting as publishers.

Another thing to note, but it's better to spell out the initialisms of agencies, so "UCLA" should be "University of California, Los Angeles" and "FBI" should be "Federal Bureau of Investigation"; don't assume your reader will be an American or someone who otherwise knows the full names. Imzadi 1979  00:23, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Thank you Imzadi1979. That is very helpful. Especially the breakdown between publisher and work. I think I got them all. I also expanded the acronyms. I'll go over it again next time I am on (after I get some sleep). Thanks again for the explanation. --Majora (talk) 05:18, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
Imzadi1979 Any further thoughts? --Majora (alt) (talk) 21:25, 26 December 2016 (UTC)
@Marjora and Majora (alt): things look pretty good.

I'd like to see the authors of the two university-hosted webpages included. I assume they're professors in their respective fields, but we should clear up the attribution there.

I'd drop the full date on that one book down to just a year though. As I said, the books themselves normally only print the year of release/copyright, and that's how most libraries catalog them. Amazon and Google are probably working off different exact release dates, but neither will really help a reader locate a copy of the source in a library.

For note 16, the word "corporation" isn't capitalized, and it looks odd. I might suggest also adding the word "vol." or "Vol." in front of the volume number, something I do on book citations to clarify what would otherwise be a boldface number in the middle of the citation without context. (The extra characters also shut of the bolding.)

Spectroscopy Online is the name of the web site, so it should be the |work=.

One last comment, and it's been somewhat optional around here in other reviews I've seen, but I tend to harmonize the case of titles. APA style says to use sentence case in titles, and others say to use title case. The former capitalizes an article title as if it were a sentence, while the latter capitalizes the first word, the last word, and basically any word over 5 characters in length, plus all nouns/verbs. There's something to be said for faithfully copying the titles as published, but it just looks better to use the same scheme across all of your citations, to give it that extra bit of polish. Honestly, if that's the only quibbles I have, you're on the right track now for formatting consistency. Imzadi 1979  22:15, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

All fixed here. I switched everything to title case and I believe I got them all. --Majora (talk) 01:51, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Reliability review—there are a few sources that should be replaced to meet the requirement of "high quality reliable source".

  • There are a pair of web pages that appear to be published in the personal web spaces of university professors or departments (notes 29, 31). It would be a good idea to investigate finding potential replacement sources that come from more traditional published media, like an academic journal or a (text) book, either online or strictly in print.
    Both switched to book sources. Could you check #31 again? It was a little bit more complex than I'm used to since the book is part of a series. --Majora (talk) 01:51, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
  • The T.C. Forensic source (note 3) is borderline; I'd also advise replacement if possible. Ditto Waters (note 22) and Techmed (note 30). The reasoning here is that these are commercial web sites that wouldn't need to demonstrate the same level of editorial control as a journal or book editor, nor the reputation for quality of the journal or book publishing house.
    Note 3 is actually a repost according to the site. It was originally posted in Southeast Asia Fire and Security in November 1995. The problem is I can't find any proof of that online. I'm guessing the journal went defunct a long time ago and there just isn't any online record of it. Not quite sure what to do with that. Note 22 was replaced with a book. The new note 31 mentioned above also covered note 30 so that was condensed. --Majora (talk) 01:51, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
  • The Just Chromatography source (note 34) appears to be a personal blog from the "About" page on the website. That fails the FA Criteria.
    Well that's a shame. It covered everything in that paragraph. Had to replace it with multiple references to cover everything but done. --Majora (talk) 01:51, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

If you can find a few replacement sources for the items above, you'll be in good shape. Imzadi 1979  22:15, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

@Imzadi1979: Everything expect that T.C. Forensic repost has been replaced. --Majora (talk) 01:51, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
As I noted, the T.C. Forensic source is borderline; however if it is a faithful reproduction of a previously published journal article, that changes things a little. It would be nice to reproduce the original journal citation and use the T.C. Forensic page as courtesy link/republication like the Google Books copies. {{cite journal |last = Stern |first = Wal |date = November 1995 |title = Modern Methods of Accelerant Analysis |url = http://www.tcforensic.com.au/docs/article5.html |journal = Southeast Asia Fire and Security |volume = |issue = |pages = |via= T.C. Forensic |access-date= October 28, 2015 }}

I did tweak a few |volume= calls in a few books for consistency, so otherwise everything looks good to go, Majora. Imzadi 1979  03:00, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

That works. I went ahead and switched it to a journal citation with the |via switch. I'll keep looking for all the rest of the info (volume, issue, etc.) but I've pretty much already looked everywhere I can think of (online at least). Thanks for all your assistance and for the review as a whole Imzadi1979. It is appreciated. --Majora (talk) 03:10, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Looks good for now, and hopefully you can find the missing details. (It might be worth checking http://www.worldcat.org/ to find a library that may have the journal within its holdings. From there, you may be able to contact a librarian or university staff member who can look up the journal article for you. I've done similar at times to request newspaper clippings from remote libraries.)

If this review was helpful, you may want to review the prose on other nominations, like mine to help out other nominators. Imzadi 1979  03:57, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Coordinator note: There's quite a lot going on here, so I think it's worth just checking how we are doing. Bencherlite how are things looking from your viewpoint now? Also, Imzadi1979 are we all clear on the source review, and did you do a source spot-check at all? If not, we will still need someone to do that. Sarastro1 (talk) 13:50, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Just a source review, not a spotcheck. Imzadi 1979  21:26, 30 December 2016 (UTC)
@Sarastro1: Would you be able to perform the spot check? It shouldn't take you long. I wouldn't have made it this long on Wikipedia if I violated CLOP. It would be appreciated. I don't know what else to do at this point. I already posted at the requests place and that was back in November. --Majora (talk) 05:12, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
@Sarastro1:, I'm happy with the testimony section but don't have time for a full review. Sorry for not revisiting earlier. BencherliteTalk 07:43, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Some spotchecksEdit

He helped develop tests that could determine the presence of blood and was one of the first to use microscopy in the analysis of blood and semen.[13]

  • He helped to develop tests for the presence of blood in a forensic context and is credited as one of the first people to use a microscope to assess blood and semen stains. Perhaps too close paraphrasing?

Modern HPLC instruments are capable of detecting and resolving substances whose concentrations are as low as parts per trillion.[22]

  • Today, compounds is trace concentrations as low as low as parts per trillion [ppt] may easily be analysed.

AAS is useful in cases of suspected heavy metal poisoning such as with arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium. The concentration of the substance in the sample can indicate whether heavy metals were the cause of death.

  • I can't find where this information is explicitly given in the source cited.
    • The information is spread out throughout the entire paper. So, the cadmium section is on page 273. It states that 1600 nmol/g of cadmium causes irreversible renal damage. For mercury that is on page 285. And so on. For the "AAS is useful" claim that is both in the introduction where it states that most metals are usually measured using atomic absorption techniques and in the laboratory investigation section on page 280 where it talks about lead analysis and how the creation of AAS marked a major development in the determination of blood lead levels. --Majora (talk) 20:23, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
OK, I'm happy with that. Thank you. Graham Beards (talk) 21:13, 1 January 2017 (UTC)

Laboratories also tend to keep in-house databases for the substances they find locally.[43]

  • forensic users find the need to return to the AAFS library or their own locally constructed databases to supplement these sources.

Toxicologists are tasked with determining whether any toxin found in a body was the cause of or contributed to an incident, or whether it was at too low a level to have had an effect.[38]

  • These results can be used to make inferences when determining a substance's potential effect on an individual's death, illness, or mental or physical impairment. For example, the results of a blood analysis from a driver involved in a car accident can be used to determine if the individual was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This is a comparison of the article and the sources cited. No issues apart from those in bold. The second one is sourced to a long paper and it is possible I have missed it. Please clarify. Graham Beards (talk) 20:00, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
@Graham Beards: Thank you for doing this. It really is appreciated. Responded to the second one above. As for the first one, I'm not entirely sure how else I would state his accomplishments and his significance to the field. --Majora (talk) 20:23, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
How about something along the lines of:
A pioneer in the development of forensic microscopy, Orfila contributed to the advancement of this method for the detection of blood and semen. Graham Beards (talk) 21:13, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
@Graham Beards: I had to think about that because of the term "forensic microscopy" which is oddly phrased (and not technically a field by itself but a tool) but just saying regular "microscopy" wouldn't be truthful. I guess it is alright. I replaced the sentence with your suggestion. --Majora (talk) 22:49, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
It's a term in common use. See [9]. Graham Beards (talk) 23:09, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
I know. But it is like saying forensic HPLC or forensic PCR. Tools don't generally get that prefix. At least not within the actual practicing forensic community. Not that big of a deal. --Majora (talk) 23:19, 1 January 2017 (UTC)

Comments from Cas LIberEdit

Just reading through...

Forensic specialists in this field have a wide array of methods and instruments to help identify unknown substances. - "Forensic" redundant here as you've already said the field is "forensic chemistry".
Fixed. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
Specific methods common to the field include... - unnecessarily wordy - why not just "These include.."?
Fixed. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
The work performed by forensic chemists is bound by a set of standards that have been proposed by various agencies and governing bodies, including the Scientific Working Group on the Analysis of Seized Drugs. - if the standards are in use and binding then the agents have done more than just proposing, why not "set down" by etc.?
They aren't technically binding. They are "highly recommended" and necessary to be accredited. Labs are fully within their right to ignore them completely and private labs have their own standards. The employees of private labs can still be called as expert witnesses (provided they get passed voir dire) so to call them "binding" or "set down" would be inaccurate. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
Okay then, does that mean you have to change the "bound" above? (8th word in...) Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:43, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
...Fair point. Would "follow" be a better word to use? Forensic chemists follow a set of standards... That way it is less "bound" by and more flexible towards what the particular agency sets. --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Yep, that verb works for me. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:19, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Forensic chemists' analysis can provide investigative leads for investigators - "investigative " redundant, or can change to "leads for investigation" or something
Removed investigative. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
To ensure the accuracy of what they are reporting, forensic chemists routinely check and verify that their instruments are working correctly and are still able to detect and measure various quantities of different substances. - umm, isn't this true of most machinery and lab equipment everywhere? This doesn't strike me as very specific to this job...
Probably is true for other things. But due to the nature of the work, the end result of which can take someone's freedom, I wanted to emphasis this point. Also, the forensic community quality checks their instruments and materials with every lot of chemicals, every minute change in protocol, etc. So yes, it probably isn't specific, but it is an extremely important part of the forensics field in general. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
ok, I'll pay that...Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:43, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
In cases where an unknown material is found at the scene, the identification of the substance can tell investigators what to look for during their search. - I am not sure what the point of this sentence is..
The next sentences explain the point. Different explosives have different origins, different poisons point to different things to look for. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
Still strikes me as wordy, how about, "The identification of the various substances found at the scene can tell investigators what to look for during their search. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:43, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
That works with me. Changed --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

@Casliber: Responses made. --Majora (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

To maintain a high level of professionalism within the forensic fields,... - puffy. I'd remove it.
Removed. --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
guidelines have been set up by various governing bodies regarding the standards that should be followed by practicing forensic scientists. - I'd avoid the word "should" as it sounds like it is the article's opinion.
Phrase dropped. regarding the standards that are followed... The standards set by the community as a whole are typically followed by everyone. I don't want to give the impression that every lab is off making up their own standards and not following recommendations. While it certainly can happen, like I said there is nothing to stop them, it needs to be emphasized that standards are paramount in forensics. That is how we know that the protocols and procedures are arriving at the "right" answer. That is also how evidence becomes admissible. It is following a set of previously established, and accepted, guidelines (at least in the US). --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Am not a fan of see also lists - these should for the most part either be included in the main article or dropped. Trace evidence is an obvious one for incorporating into the article.
Eh, only one of those wasn't already in the side bar anyways. Remnant of before I rewrote the whole thing. Removed. Trace and chemistry are completely separate fields that deal with completely different things. I do plan on rewriting the trace article eventually (it is on my list) but to put it here would be mixing specialties. --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Otherwise looks okay prose wise Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:53, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

Actually come to think of it, a comprehensiveness query - how does one become a forensic chemist? Is there a specialized degree, if so, when (and where) was it established?
I guess it depends? Quite a few places now offer a general "forensic science" degree. That is what my masters is in (I'm actually a DNA analyst, I'm saving that article for last). Other places will accept a general chemistry degree. Still others want a more focused chemistry degree (like "applied chemistry") but it depends on the agency and their standards. It also depends on what level you are looking to get into. My agency has technicians, scientists, technical leads, etc. that all have different education requirements. I also can only really speak about the US (and really specifically about my agency) without doing more research as I really don't know what other countries require (although it is probably similar). I'm also not really sure I can find secondary sources that would cover the whole thing. I can get primary sources (job listings) that would tell you what specific labs want. But it is not a one-sized fits all deal. --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Is there any source that discusses this? That would be good to add. If nothing then we can't do much about it...Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 15:05, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
@Casliber: Was that what you were looking for? --Majora (talk) 03:40, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Yeah sort of...I'd replace the "should" so it doesn't sound like a how-to manual....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:27, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
Alright, word removed and a little bit more added regarding on-the-job training. --Majora (talk) 23:57, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

@Casliber: Responses made. --Majora (talk) 00:43, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Comments from JohnEdit

Great little article and I can't see any major problems. The word "advancement" is used repeatedly; is it the same as "advance" and if so, would we prefer the shorter word? Also there are three "however"s in the article which I feel we could manage without. That, along with the minor formats I did just now, constitutes my first read through. I will probably have other comments later. --John (talk) 19:32, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

@John: I removed one of the "however"s as it wasn't necessary. I feel like the other two serve a purpose as they provide segues into the next sentence. The "advancement"s are in the history section where numerous advancements are discussed. --Majora (talk) 00:06, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Well that's a good start. --John (talk) 00:14, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Could you be more specific please? After a three+ month open review it seems a little much to just say "that's a good start". Is there anything that precludes this from being a featured article? --Majora (talk) 00:31, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
For me it's been two days. Are you unable to parse my comment of 19:32, 4 January 2017? I don't think the howevers and the advancements help the article. They fail the prose criterion. As I said, I will have other comments. As I said, this is a start. --John (talk) 00:42, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

Coordinator note: The nominator has asked to withdraw this nomination, so I am regretfully archiving it. Sarastro1 (talk) 21:53, 6 January 2017 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this page.