My article on “Internet-based tools for communication and collaboration in chemistry” was published today in Drug Discovery News.

The abstract is given below:

“Web-based technologies, coupled with a drive for improved communication between scientists, have resulted in the proliferation of scientific opinion, data and knowledge at an ever-increasing rate. The availability of tools to host wikis and blogs has provided the necessary building blocks for scientists with only a rudimentary understanding of computer software science to communicate to the masses. This newfound freedom has the ability to speed up research and sharing of results, develop extensive collaborations, conduct science in public, and in near-real time. The technologies supporting chemistry, while immature, are fast developing to support chemical structures and reactions, analytical data support and integration to related data sources via supporting software technologies. Communication in chemistry is already witnessing a new revolution.”

doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2008.03.015

Another article I wrote on “Public Compound Databases” will appear in DDN shortly.

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One Response to “My Article on Internet-based tools for communication and collaboration in chemistry”

  1. Clark D Jeffries says:

    I think the author makes an excellent case for the positive and substantial impact in biocheminformatics of “open source.”

    Background reasoning: Sometimes a change is quantitatively so great that it is qualitative. The moveable type printing press in the 1450s made recipes, songs, bawdy stories, and religious tracts available to all who could ~read. People did not need to know a teacher to learn from his experiences and reasoning, or even to live contemporaneously with the teacher. The durability of printed works in effect endowed the new, common brain with immortality–but low-speed transmission rates.

    A second such advance was the advent of TCP/IP (1970s) that made email and WWW possible. I regard TCP/IP as the greatest invention (by Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn) of the 20th Century. Among others credited with enabling the technology are a guy who in the early 1980s had the foresight to fund Internet research with government money (Al Gore), and the various guys who were smart enough to imagine, design, and implement the services it could support (among the foremost is Tim Berners-Lee). Also key was the development of convenient human-machine interfaces (as predicted by J.C.R. Licklider).

    In effect, humans now have one, giant, immortal brain with high-speed transmission. In many ways the development of the Internet was “open source” in the sense that its creators did it mainly because it was interesting work, with perhaps some inklings about its eventual global employment and usefulness.

    I hope that open source biocheminformatics will become one of the best organized and most comprehensive manifestations of the phenomenon.

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