Copyright©2010 Antony Williams
We will shortly be locking down the code for ChemSpider SyntheticPages (CSP) and continue testing prior to our release at the ACS meeting in San Francisco in March. As we have done with ChemSpider over the past three years we look to our users for feedback to enhance the system. We will continue to tweak the code, add functionality, enhance the work flows and, ultimately, enhance the database. We believe that the CSP platform that we will roll out will be a good start but ultimately it will not be the platform that makes ChemSpider SyntheticPages a success, it will be the level of participation.
Participation can come in different forms but let’s draw an analogy with Wikipedia for a moment. MediaWiki is used by thousands or even tens of thousands of people worldwide to populate the worlds best known online encyclopedia with data and information. Relative to many web platforms that are out there I judge that MediaWiki, as functional and as well-used as it is, is not a “glitzy platform”. It’s not particularly fancy, some would say rather plain, but it is the foundation of housing the world’s knowledge for all to share in. One of the main reasons Wikipedia is so successful is that the mission they have is appropriate and an enormous community of contributors have participated in adding articles, performed fact-checking, validating references and expanding the coverage of the content.
Both ChemSpider and ChemSpider SyntheticPages are platforms. But clearly ChemSpider wouldn’t have much value to the community, would not be answering many questions for its users, or wouldn’t receive the acclaim from our community were it not populated with data, information, links and content of value. While we have obviously done a lot of heavy lifting ourselves over the past 3 years we owe a debt of gratitude to the growing community of users who have been depositing new structures, spectral data, links to articles and so on. We thank those users who have been curating data, removing erroneous data and relationships. ChemSpider is a much better resource as a result.
When ChemSpider SyntheticPages goes live we will go live with a series of synthesis procedures from the original SyntheticPages.org site. Our intention is to also add in other procedures from journal articles and other sources. Our hope is to build a rich public resource for synthetic chemists with many tens of thousands of validated syntheses. We will add on the semantic markup capabilities and linking to ChemSpider to provide a linked platform. While we will be able to expand the database we are looking to the community to help us. This is a call to action to you, the community.
If you are a synthetic chemist we want your contributions. If you are a chemical vendor making chemicals your contributions to the community via the CSP platform can be invaluable. Whether you are an academic researcher, a government researcher or an industrial researcher, if you have published your syntheses in the literature please add them to ChemSpider SyntheticPages. If there are example syntheses that you have repeated from the primary literature, from some other database or blog, then deposit your data to CSP. We are interested to know whether you will be willing to contribute to our project so let us know on this blog or email us at supportATchemspiderDOTcom. We need your help to make CSP the world’s richest resource of free synthetic procedures online.Stumble it!