For whatever reason, at the end of the year I get kind of thoughtful regarding what I have done over the past year and what is coming in the year ahead. I’ll hopefully get some time to review what’s gone past in 2012 but in reality I will likely be spending a lot of my spare time over the holidays working with my colleagues on the Chemical Database Project that RSC has been funded to deliver by EPSRC.
The first page is up already here (http://cds.rsc.org) and declares what we intend to deliver on January 2nd 2013. At that time we will have been working in the initial delivery for about 5 weeks only and will, in my experience, have gone through some of the best team experiences I have gone through in many a year. We will have negotiated prices and reviewed contracts, integrated a series of commercial databases and some of our own resources, built out an infrastructure to host the system and navigated many challenges around timeliness, delivery of heterogeneous software platforms and databases, debugging of many tens of thousands of lines of code and working across multiple time zones within our team. I have the privilege of working with some great people committed to getting it done!
The vision of the project, as we see it now, is outlined at a very basic level on the Chemical Database Service blog so I will not reiterate it here. Suffice to say we have outlined a project and future for the CDS that was appropriate to have us be awarded the tender. It includes not only the integration of a series of commercial databases and prediction services but also the development of a data repository for UK chemists that will allow embargo-based storage of user-defined licensed data at a personal, group and institutional level. The repository, as it is built out, will include storage of chemicals, syntheses, analytical data, property data etc. The project is still being scoped out and will engage the community of users and collaborators in defining how it should be implemented and the priority of development to deliver greatest value as the project progresses. We have five years of development ahead. It’s going to be challenging, entertaining, motivating and important. It’s going to be a tiring holiday season to meet the January 2nd deadline but that is just the start. Next year the fun really starts!