Today is my last day of employment for the Royal Society of Chemistry. It will be almost six years since I joined RSC when ChemSpider was acquired. While ChemSpider was initially a “hobby project” and attempt to create a disruption in terms of access to chemistry data, crowdsourced contribution and data validation, it has gone from strength to strength and now serves ca. 40,000 unique users a day from around the world. It won three awards in the first few months that we joined RSC and was catalytic in RSC winning three grants to allow us to participate in the Open PHACTS project, the PharmaSea project and become the host of the UK National Chemical Database Service. Based on the feedback I have received over the years ChemSpider is much-loved and appreciated as a contribution to the scientific community and is recognized as one of the key players in the free chemistry resources arena. I am proud to have been associated with it.
We also got to set up the ChemSpider SyntheticPages micropublishing site and tried to get the community sharing syntheses that would likely not make it into mainstream papers but were still of value to science.
During my six years at RSC I have been involved with many discussions regarding the following areas of work, study and research and how they would benefit publishing, the society and, of course, the chemistry community at large. The list includes, in particularly random order:
- Chemistry databases – both commercial and free- and how to best mesh, commercialize and license data
- Data quality in publications and databases and development of tools for data validation
- Open Data, Open Access and Open Notebook Science
- Text-mining of the RSC archive to extract & mark up compounds, reactions, property data and analytical data.
- The potential of semantic web applications to scientific publishing
- Encouraging the use of Open Identifiers – especially ORCID and InChI
- The future of Micropublishing in the chemical sciences
- Analytical data and building an open spectral database for the community
- Social networking approaches to build online profiles – especially for young scientists
There are many, many more things of course but these are the big ones and, for me, bring clarity to what my interests are – chemistry data and making it available to the appropriate communities. It is with this in mind that I am excited to join the Environmental Protection Agency next week in the National Center of Computational Toxicology.
With every move forward into a new job we leave behind our old one. And I leave RSC with some sadness that I am leaving and excitement for the new opportunities. I have had the chance to work with so many good people at RSC, to engage with collaborators such as ACD/Labs, Mestre, NextMove, EBI, ChemAxon, Accelrys (as they were then), iChemLabs, Dotmatics and on and on. Apologies if you are not named but the list is very long. Thanks to everyone for your support, encouragement and opportunities to engage. It has been a blast.
And for everyone at RSC who catered to my strange diet of potatoes only…so long, and thanks for all the spuds.