Copyright©2008 Antony Williams
As ChemSpider has grown into an important part of the online community for providing access to information and data to chemists to assist them in their work there are many subjective criteria by which to be measured. We set some objectives early on in regards to how we would measure our own successes in the first couple of years. These included:
1) A result of >500,000 in a Google search (we have been at this number for over a month I believe)
2) Acknowledgment by our “peers”, another subjective criterion, by comments made in the blogosphere, recognized by invitations to speak, participate in panel discussions etc. No shortage here.
3) Reach 5000 unique users per day in our first year (already achieved)
4) Be reviewed in a mainstream publication (the Nature article written about ChemSpider does that)
5) Have over 150 data sources feed ChemSpider. We are close…145 data sources at present and more in the pipe to feed in shortly
6) Be indexed by Chemical Abstracts Service.
CAS has been indexing a number of web resources for a considerable time. Until today I didn’t know that we were one of these sources. It actually makes a lot of sense that we should be indexed. We have unique chemistry on our site since we host Open Notebook Science from groups such as that of Jean-Claude Bradley at Drexel University. But, we also have spectra and assignments from research compounds being deposited onto the database and are establishing relationships with Open Access publishers to index their chemical compounds connected directly to their articles. So, being indexed makes sense.
There has been a murmuring in the community that what ChemSpider is doing will collide with CAS. I have reiterated many times that I believe CAS offers the crown jewels in terms of quality and curated data. With what amounts to likely 1000s of person years of investment in building the registry we are unlikely to surpass CAS’ breadth of knowledge. Rather we are focused on providing a service to the community so that the community can participate in developing and growing the databas. I believe CAS and ChemSpider are synergistic and have much to offer by being connected in this way.
Inserted above is a screen grab of part of a record showing the ChemSpider database as the source of the structure. CAS have rigorous expectations regarding how they select what chemical entities should be inserted into their database. While I don’t know this list of definitions this structure clearly meets it. The structure above is on ChemSpider here. We’re very happy that we are being indexed now in the CAS registry and will continue to enhance our “unique structure collection” working with chemical vendors, publishers and scientists to grow our database.