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My Spoiler Alert about Netflix and the House of Cards

This is NOT about chemistry. If you are expecting chemistry stop here and move on. If you are a watcher of House of Cards on Netflix I may ruin your enjoyment of the show if you read further. You choose…

I work a lot of hours. I generally start my day at around 6am, work a 8-9 hour day during normal working hours and then when my boys are in bed (or on the days I don’t have them)  I commonly get back in front of my computer between 8pm-midnight/1am. Doing this I have an opportunity to get involved outside of my normal work acitivities to work with collaborators to do some exciting science (specifically with people like Sean Ekins, Alex Clark and Gary E. Martin). I also spend a lot of time looking at what is going on with social networking tools and data sharing platforms that may be of value to scientists.

While I am working at night I consume a lot of movies and series via Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have cut off cable TV to the house, put up a digital antenna (well, my very skilled friend did) and use cable internet almost exclusively for entertainment now.

Both Netflix and Amazon now have specific programming that doesn’t make it to general TV channels. For example Orange is the New Black and House of Cards on Netflix and Alpha House and Bosch on Amazon Prime. I have enjoyed them all. Amusing, intelligent, edgy and shocking covers the general flavor of what these programs have as entertainment value.

It took me a couple of episodes of House of Cards to really get into it but with Season 3 just around the corner I am excited to see whether or not my interpretation of many scenes, acts and  breadcrumb clues throughout the show are right. The relationship between Frank and Claire Underwood is really what this show is about…everything else around it, the manipulations, the espionage, the nastiness and the supposed harsh realities of Washington pale in comparison to the farce that is the relationship between Frank and Claire. And it makes for addictive TV for sure.

I am not going to drag out why I have come to this conclusion as there are sooooooooo many clues. I may be totally off base here but here’s throwing out my judgement of the shocker that will show up one day for House of Cards…and I find no evidence that this is suggested anywhere on the internet.

Frank and Claire are brother and sister (or at least family)

Think about all their “rendezvous” with partners outside of their marriage, and even one with their security man/driver. But notice they never rendezvous with each other…EVER (that I recall). They definitely love and respect each other, they are both hungry for power and for what it brings, and there are lots of stories about their history but with no evidence for how they met, their backgrounds etc. I think they are working together to get to ultimate power…and the Presidency is that for sure.

I am either way off base but it would be a great ending to a show…or maybe I applied my analytical skills in a good way. Time will tell..I love a good puzzler, a good story and a shocking ending. It happens in some of the science I do occasionally! Always fun.



Amazon and the management of my Author Profile

I have authored or co-authored a number of book chapters with friends and collaborators over the years and have been privileged to do so (see the book chapter section in my CV). I have also been involved with authoring or editing a number of books and one is presently in press and two will hopefully be finished by end of year. They are listed below.

IN PRESS Computer-based Structure Elucidation from Spectral Data: The Art of Solving Problems with ACD/Structure Elucidator, Mikhail E. Elyashberg, Antony J. Williams, Springer Link

Modern NMR Approaches for the Structure Elucidation of Natural Products PART 1 by Gary E. Martin, David Rovnyak and Antony J. Williams, in preparation, Royal Society of Chemistry Link

Applications of Modern NMR Approaches to the Structure Elucidation of Natural Products PART 2 by Gary E. Martin, David Rovnyak and Antony J. Williams, in preparation, Royal Society of Chemistry Link

I really like the Amazon Author Page for keeping all of this information integrated. My page is here: and I update it with book chapters and books as they come out.

Yesterday I commented on the issues of poor name searching related to the Chemtrove article published recently. When I added the Springer book to my profile today I took a look at the capabilities of Amazon assuming that things would likely be a lot better. In order to do this I found the Springer book here:

and clicked on the name Antony J. Williams listed as shown here:

Click on the name Antony J. Williams to find related books

Click on the name Antony J. Williams to find related books

The result set is shown here. Only two of these books are mine, the rest are shown below and yes, the one entitled “I Hate Sex” remains on my list. I did NOT write it! I couldn’t see why the Granular Materials book is listed against me until I looked at all 30 editors/contributors for the book here and saw that Antony and Williams (very much separated) were shown in the list. The All Hallows book makes more sense as it has David Williams, Antony Oldknow, but the last one about dinoflagellates has the same issue as the granular materials book…Antony and Williams in the list of authors.

Four of the books found searching against Antony J. Williams

Four of the books found searching against Antony J. Williams

Having added the book to my profile however made a dramatic difference as it now links to my author page and lists all of my books rather than performing a loose search. This is a good overall solution but DID need my participation to claim my book. To date the evidence suggests that Google really have their act together in terms of being able to automatically associate articles with my profile but for other platforms such as Kudos, ORCID and Amazon Author Pages the author is best to stay involved with CLAIMing their articles to ensure good association and high quality data.

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Hosting public domain chemicals data online for the community – the challenges of handling materials

This is the presentation I gave at the Opportunities in Material Informatics meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

Hosting public domain chemicals data online for the community – the challenges of handling materials

The Royal Society of Chemistry hosts one of the worlds’ richest collections of online chemistry data that is free-to-access for the community. ChemSpider presently hosts over 30 million unique chemical compounds together with associated data and accessible via a number of search techniques. With almost 50,000 unique users per day from around the world the site offers scientists the ability to investigate the world of small molecules via property searches, analytical data and predictive models. The challenges associated with providing a similar platform for “materials” are manifold but, if they could be addressed, would offer a valuable service to the materials community. This presentation will provide an overview of how ChemSpider was built, our efforts to expand the capabilities to a more encompassing data repository and some of the challenges faced to embrace the diverse world of materials informatics and online data access.

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Speaking at “Opportunities in Materials Informatics” workshop

Those of you who have been following my blog over the years are likely very aware of some of the work that we have done working on ChemSpider, ChemSpider SyntheticPages, OpenPHACTS, PharmaSea and the Chemical Database Service. We have many years of investment in the ChemSpider projects of course but our primary focus now is working on the data repository project that we published an early outline of last year. The majority of projects that we have focused on have focused on small organic molecules primarily and, I judge, we have been successful in addressing many of the challenges around the informatics challenges…many, but certainly not all! For sure, when we started ChemSpider over 7 years ago we were not aware of some of the issues we would face as we developed ChemSpider and there has been so much learned in the process. For sure we have been able to spend time with, collaborate with and push forward with some of the best minds in cheminformatics…and to them we are grateful.

Tomorrow I will give an overview of our work in the field of building small molecule databases for the community – with a focus on ChemSpider of course but also knitting together many of the other areas I have been connected to. I am privileged to have been invited to participate in the “Opportunities in Materials Informatics” workshop in Madison, Wisconsin. There are many experts in the field attending (see list) and I am sure I will learn WAY MORE than I will be able to share in terms of wisdom! In some ways I will be out of my depth and hearing about some of the approaches people are taking to develop informatics platforms for materials data. I will put up my slide deck when it is finished in the usual place on Slideshare when its ready. Follow the twitterfeed for the workshop at #matinformatics2015.

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Pacifichem Symposium #173: The Evolving Nature of Scholarly Communication: Connecting Scholars with Each Other and with Society


Pacifichem #173 graphic REV 4

Scholarly journal publishing is now web based and web first, but this migration to the Internet has brought with it other changes as well. Scientists are now collaborating with each other globally in ways that would not have been possible even ten years ago. Some researchers are using social media, such as blogs and twitter, to comment on and recommend articles, and in so doing establish a reputation beyond journal article publication and citation. Some scientists are posting research results directly to the Internet, where other scientists can analyze the data and discuss its meaning. Tools and algorithms to deliver the right content to the right person help researchers navigate the ever increasing amount of scholarly content.

At the same time, both scientists and funding agencies are interested in the broader impact of their research on society. A growing contingent of scientists and science communicators from academia, government, and industry are utilizing social media tools and platforms to communicate their chemistry beyond the traditional audience. This mechanism of science communication can potentially lead to benefits to society in the form of identifying and building new and existing business relationships, helping to resolve some of the challenges of the digital classroom, and expand the science communication channels formerly limited to onsite participation at Universities or scientific conferences. Examples include use of YouTube, blogs, Twitter, Wikipedia, and scientific apps.

This symposium will examine how traditional publishing models are changing as a result of the impact of social media, as well as how social media are being used to foster new models of communication and engagement with society.

We welcome contributions that examine ways in which researchers are engaging in new communication models, as well as ways in which journals and publishers are responding to these new models.

Contact us:

Corresponding Organizer: Jennifer Maclachlan, PID Analyzers, LLC (USA), @pidgirl
Brenna Arlyce Brown, Mitacs, (Canada), @BrennaArlyce
Kazuhiro Hayashi, NISTEP (Japan),
David Martinsen, ACS (USA),
Antony Williams, RSC (USA), @chemconnector


Abstract submissions will be accepted from January 1 – April 3, 2015 at

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The Application of Text and Data Mining to Enhance the Royal Society of Chemistry Publication Archive

I just found the video of my presentation given at the 2014 Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing™ Seminar

The Application of Text and Data Mining to Enhance the Royal Society of Chemistry Publication Archive

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is one of the world’s most prominent scientific societies and STM publishers. Our contributions to the scientific community include the delivery of a myriad of resources to support the chemistry community to access chemistry-related data, information and knowledge. This includes ChemSpider, a compound centric platform linking together over 30 million chemical compounds with internet-based resources. Using this compound database and its associated chemical identifiers as a basis the RSC is utilizing text and data mining approaches to data enable our published archive of scientific publications. This presentation will provide an overview of our technical approaches to text and data enable our archive of scientific articles, how we are developing an integrated database of chemical compounds, reactions, physical and analytical data and how it will be used to facilitate scientific discovery.

Both the SLideshare presentation and my presentation are posted below:

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Beyond the paper CV and developing a scientific profile through social media, AltMetrics and micropublication

This is a presentation that I gave during a UK tour in Sept/Oct 2014 at a number of UK universities

Beyond the paper CV and developing a scientific profile through social media, AltMetrics and micropublications

Many of us nowadays invest significant amounts of time in sharing our activities and opinions with friends and family via social networking tools. However, despite the availability of many platforms for scientists to connect and share with their peers in the scientific community the majority do not make use of these tools, despite their promise and potential impact and influence on our future careers. We are being indexed and exposed on the internet via our publications, presentations and data. We also have many more ways to contribute to science, to annotate and curate data, to “publish” in new ways, and many of these activities are as part of a growing crowdsourcing network. This presentation will provide an overview of the various types of networking and collaborative sites available to scientists and ways to expose your scientific activities online. Many of these can ultimately contribute to the developing measures of you as a scientist as identified in the new world of alternative metrics. Participating 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.


Who knew I would get here from there and how I became the ChemConnector. #ACSsanfran

This was my fifth talk at the ACS meeting in San Francisco…..

Who knew I would get here from there. How I became the ChemConnector.

As the ChemConnector and one of the people responsible for creating ChemSpider I have become well known in the chemical information world. I get to connect with some of the brightest minds in the domain, have participated in meetings with Microsoft, Google, various government institutions and with some of the top chemical and pharmaceutical companies. While my path to this point feels at some times like a random walk, and certainly I never set a trajectory to become a chemical information specialist as I am a spectroscopist by training, I look back upon my career with a lot of satisfaction. We are now at a time when information is becoming so important to support and guide the discovery process. At the same time the opportunity to communicate your science to the masses is upon us. I will discuss how I became the ChemConnector, my Twitter handle, and why I believe entering the field of cheminformatics at this time holds incredible potential for influence.

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RSC eScience heroes rewarded through Microsoft prize

A press release from today….I hope to say more after the week at ACS New Orleans….

Last year, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Antony Williams was given the Microsoft Jim Gray eScience Award, recognising his pioneering contribution to ChemSpider, the free chemical structure database.

Now, Tony has chosen to pass on the $20,000 prize money to recognise eight colleagues who have made contributions to eScience through their own research.

Tony explains that, as the first non-academic to win the award, where traditionally the monetary prize has gone to the winner’s institution to invest in research, as he works in the publishing wing of his organisation, this needed a different approach.

Tony says: “I wanted to reward and recognise the efforts of the many people I’ve worked with and whose data, systems and services I have used over the years – every one of them has contributed in some ways to my own work in this area.

“In science you commonly stand on the shoulders of the giants that come before you. In eScience it is very possible to benefit from the efforts of others and implement, and I am fortunate to be able to take advantage of the brilliance of others.

“This is my giveaway in recognition of what they do and my thank you to them.”

One of Tony’s choices is Jean-Claude Bradley, Associate Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, who has pioneered work on Open Notebook Science. Tony Williams is deeply impressed with Jean-Claude’s approach, saying “I believe we will look back at what he’s doing as being hugely important – he really has his finger on the pulse of the future”.

Jean Claude feels equally strongly that a more open approach to science is vital for the acceleration of science and chemical projects. When asked about the importance of receiving the extra financial support, he said: “It’s fantastic, I’m very honoured by the award and certainly we don’t have any government funding for this so it’s very encouraging.

“Crowd funding and these kinds of initiatives, I think there are situations where it really works, so it definitely means a lot.

“ChemSpider itself has been key in the technical components of our work because we use ChemSpider IDs as our primary key for the molecules that we track and it has a lot of useful web services you can use, so working with Tony and the tools available from ChemSpider has been fantastic”.

Another recipient is Professor Martin Walker who, as well as teaching organic chemistry at the State University of New York at Potsdam has worked on improving the chemical compound pages on Wikipedia Chemistry. That work is “incredibly important”, according to Tony Williams. He adds: “Martin came in to work with the RSC for a year, so he’s someone I know and respect hugely. I also worked with him at Wikipedia Chemistry and he’s co-ordinated some incredibly important work”.

In turn, Martin Walker says “I admire Tony Williams immensely, and his award was certainly well deserved. I feel very honoured that he has chosen to recognise my work in this way.”

The award winners are recognised for their contributions as described in Tony’s own words below:

1) JC Bradley –Open Notebook Science: He coined the term Open Notebook Science and has set the vision for its applications to chemistry.

2) Martin Walker – Wikipedia Chemistry. Leads and coordinates many efforts around Chemistry on Wikipedia contributing a significant number of the chemistry articles:

3) Bob Hanson – Jmol: Leads development of the Jmol applet, one of the most useful tools for chemistry on the web:

4) Robert Lancashire – JSpecView: Project lead for the JSpecView Applet, an enabling component to allow for display of spectra data on the web:

5) Egon Willighagen – Open Source Chemistry: A contributor to the world of Open Code for Chemistry, especially to the Chemistry Development Kit and semantics for chemistry.:

6) Igor Pletnev – InChI: the InChI software manager and sole developer of all enhancements to the original InChI software code:

7) Daniel Lowe – Nomenclature conversion and Open Reactions. Daniel managed the development of the OPSIN name-to-structure conversion software for 3 years and has contributed hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions to the world of Open Data.

8) Peter Corbett – Text-mining: Peter developed the OSCAR3 open source package for chemistry text mining and also was the original developer of OPSIN.

Press release online

More information

Edwin Silvester

Media Relations Executive

Royal Society of Chemistry,

Thomas Graham House, Science Park,

Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0WF, UK
Tel +44 (0)1223 432294, Mob +44 (0)7825 186342


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How ACDLabs Software Tools are used by the Royal Society of Chemistry

At RSC we are involved with a number of projects utilizing components of Advanced Chemistry Development software including nomenclature, physchem prediction and spectroscopy integration. This presentation was given at a small ACD/Labs user meeting in Loughborough, England in February 2013. I couldn’t make it and the presentation was given by Valery Tkachenko.The slide deck is on SlideShare here.

An associated movie is available on YouTube here:

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