Archive for December, 2012

ChemSpider SyntheticPages is one of those projects we support for which I have particular affection. For those who haven’t yet taken a look at it – please do so, it is a community resource made by chemists for chemists and is free to access – you don’t even need to register to look at the articles.

The original concept of SyntheticPages was brought to life by a group of academics who developed the original platform and format (and of course the members of the research community who embraced it and submitted articles). When ChemSpider became part of the RSC the concept of a community resource for reactions seemed like a complementary partner to the database of chemical compounds that we had established. With this in mind we were fortunate to collaborate with the hosts of the original SyntheticPages platform and, combining our resources and visions, we provided a new platform for submission. A short presentation about CSSP is online here.

CSSP today is quite well known within a small community of chemists but comments from the audiences that we expose the work to are very positive on the value of the platform and the way that we have developed it to date. Certainly the authors can get 10s of thousands of hits on their articles based on the published statistics! The “Leaderboards” are all available online for anyone to review.

We believe that everyone can see the value of building a directory of reliable, robust reactions that can continue to evolve through feedback and questions. But more that that, we see the potential benefits for:

  • Young scientists as a portfolio of their work that can enhance a resumé
  • Building systems that can contribute to Alternative Metrics  – Already people are developing platforms, such as Impact Story. CSSP presents the perfect opportunity to build such online contributions will become increasingly visible and important for a scientist in parallel, of course, with the present metrics for contribution and reputation.

We are presently working on a new system for “rewards and recognition” for contributors to our online databases and we will be rolling this out in more detail in the near future. It will be our way of recognizing the contributions of our users for their commitment to communicating science to the community using our platform as one of their vehicles to do so. As part of this activity we are also choosing to recognize present and future authors for their contribution of 5 or more SyntheticPages to CSSP. We will be contacting previous authors to ensure that they receive a brand spanking new, off the press, CSSP Lab coat to thank them for making their syntheses available!

Discussing the project to recognise and celebrate the top contributors to CSSP, Dr James Milne Managing Director RSC Publishing said the following:

“The ChemSpider SyntheticPages lab coats are a great idea, as they highlight a number of fantastic contributors, and also the role of CSSP within the broader publishing context. RSC Publishing strives to serve the needs of researchers worldwide, through publishing and disseminating high quality content, and this database of practical synthetic procedures certainly adds to this knowledge base.  I’d personally like to thank these contributors for supporting CSSP through their publications.”

If you haven’t already qualified for a CSSP lab coat by submitting 5 or more procedures; What’s stopping you? We look forwards to reading your submissions…….


Okay, I’ll admit it, that the title of this entry is not quite what Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – but it does sum up this post pretty well.

Image taken from Wikipedia (

Water is one of those chemicals that we tend to take for granted until it reminds us; usually because we have too much or too little of it. In one way or another, water seems to have insistently nagging me this year. In the Spring in the UK there were talks of water restrictions and droughts, while now the many places are flooded, and only a few weeks ago in the US, Hurricane Sandy proved that water could be as formidable a force as the winds.

Don’t forget water is a chemical!

Water has a huge impact on the chemical sciences – after all it is one of the most common chemicals in the world. And as such, Water features in many of the activities of the RSC, to list just a few recent examples….

Well, what about this webinar?

When I was still a bench chemist I have to admit that I only thought of water as something used in extractions, or to be excluded from reactions (and occasionally in tackling the mountain of dirty glassware that I’d accumulated). But looking at the title of the latest Chemistry World Webinar – it looks like there are still many aspects of water that I have to learn about. The webinar is free, if the details below pique your interest; you only need to follow the link and sign up to watch the live Webinar. If you can’t watch at that time or are reading this post after the Webinar has taken place – don’t worry you can access the archive of all of the Chemistry World Webinars at:

The importance of water quality in the laboratory

4 December 2012, 13:00 – 14:00 (GMT)
Free webinar

Speaker: Dr Estelle Riché – Senior Scientist, Merck Millipore

How are water contaminants affecting your lab results?

Join us for our next live and interactive Chemistry World webinar to learn why and how water is purified to yield the various water qualities used in the laboratory.

By the end of this free one-hour knowledge-share, you will be able to:
• identify the different contaminants potentially present in laboratory water
• understand the potential impact of these contaminants on laboratory applications such as HPLC, LC-MS, etc.
• understand how various water purification technologies remove these contaminants from laboratory water
• make better choices for the water you use in your laboratory work
Click here to find out more and register for free
This webinar is brought to you by Chemistry World in partnership with Merck Millipore.