In the fine chemicals industry, reaction screening and optimisation are essential to development of new products. However, this screening can be extremely time and labor intensive, especially when intuition is used. Machine learning offers a solution through iterative suggestions of new experiments based on past experimental data, but knowing which machine learning strategy to apply in a particular case is still difficult. Here, we develop chemically-motivated virtual benchmarks for reaction optimisation and compare several strategies on these benchmarks. The benchmarks and strategies are encompassed in an open source framework named Summit. The results of our tests show that Bayesian optimisation strategies perform very well across the types of problems faced in chemical reaction optimisation, while many strategies commonly used in reaction optimisation fail
to find optimal solutions.