A presentation at Research Square: The Benefits of Participation in the Social Web of Science

31 Oct

Yesterday I had the privilege of giving a presentation at Research Square in Durham. In terms of an audience, and an environment to present, it was certainly an ideal environment and very recipient audience….but how could it not be with their mission being to provide “research communication without roadblocks”. As the MC for the day commented about when she joined Research Square “I thought “I’d found my peeps””. So many of the conversations over lunch were about commonality of views..and it appears…our networks are so similar….yup, definitely my type of peeps. 🙂

If you don’t think you know Research Square then maybe you know some of their brands? Rubriq, Journal Guide and American Journal Experts.

The Benefits of Participation in the Social Web of Science

With the flourishing environment of platforms for sharing data, establishing an online profile and engaging in scientific discourse through alternative modes of publishing and participation, there are numerous potential benefits. However, while many scientists invest significant amounts of time in sharing their activities and opinions with friends and family the majority do not make use of the new opportunities to participate in the developing social web of science, despite the potential impact and influence on future careers. We now have many new ways to contribute to science outside of the classical publishing model. These include the ability to annotate and curate data, to “publish” in new ways on blogs and micropublishing sites, and many of these activities can be as part of a growing crowdsourcing network. Our efforts in this area are already being indexed and exposed on the internet via our publications, presentations and data and increasingly we are being quantified. This presentation will provide an overview of the various types of networking and collaborative sites available to scientists and ways to expose their scientific activities online. Many of these can ultimately contribute to the developing metrics of a scientist as identified in the new world of alternative metrics. Participation offers a great opportunity to develop a scientific profile within the community and may ultimately be very beneficial, especially to scientists early in their career.


About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.


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