ChemSpider: Building a knowledge-based community for chemists using social and data networking technologies

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In less than 2 years ChemSpider has become one of the primary online resources for chemists providing access to an unsurpassed aggregate of free-access knowledge and data. ChemSpider was developed …

In less than 2 years ChemSpider has become one of the primary online resources for chemists providing access to an unsurpassed aggregate of free-access knowledge and data. ChemSpider was developed with the intention of providing a structure centric community for chemists that would be enhanced by data depositions, curations and annotations by the community. The system presently hosts over 21.5 million chemical compounds from over 200 data sources. Working with a network of advisors, collaborators and data providers ChemSpider has created a unique resource of integrated information for chemists. These efforts have enabled us to support the curation of the Wikipedia chemistry pages, the production of a community supported Open Access chemistry journal and provision of web services integrated to spectrometer systems distributed around the world. This talk will provide an overview of how ChemSpider utilized social and data networking to create a community for chemistry.

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  • 1. ChemSpider: Building a knowledge-based community for chemists using social and data networking technologies
  • 2. What is ChemSpider?
    • ChemSpider is:
      • An online database for chemists
      • A link farm for over 21 million compounds integrated to 200 data sources
      • A curation platform for the public to assist in improving the quality of data online
      • A deposition platform for the public to annotate and extend the data
      • A “Community for Chemists”
  • 3. Search Cholesterol
  • 4. How Was ChemSpider Built?
    • ChemSpider was a “hobby project”
    • Housed in a basement and running off three servers – one bought, two built
    • Sensitive to weather and power stability
    • Went live at ACS Spring 2007 in Chicago
  • 5. By June 2009…
    • By June 2009 > 6000 users/day initiating over 80,000 transactions per day
    • We had a significant following in the “internet Chemistry” community
    • We were linked to from many other sites – Wikipedia, other online databases, from commercial software packages
  • 6. How did we leverage the internet?
    • “ Leveraging the Internet to Advance your Position in the Market”
    • The internet IS our market – the website is self-leveraging if:
      • 1) It does what it says it does
      • 2) We can get people to the site to look
      • 3) We stay honest in our intentions
  • 7. That growth curve…
    • Very difficult to say why we saw growth: new resource, diverse data, focus on quality, all-inclusive approach to chemistry
    • And the spike?
  • 8. The Benefits of Blogging
    • Blogs allow passions, opinions, critiques, data and other “stuff” to be shared with the public
    • Blogs are a low cost way to “do good” as well as “cause harm” – anyone can blog
    • ChemSpider was a disruption to the status quo, at a very interesting time
  • 9. Interesting Time Point…
  • 10. PubChem as a domain darling
    • Internet chemistry advocates adored PubChem
    • Lots of questions regarding “why another PubChem” when ChemSpider came online
    • Our purpose was different…
    • Interesting comments in the blogosphere
  • 11. The Monkeys at ChemZoo
    • http://wwmm.ch.cam.ac.uk/blogs/murrayrust/?p=261
  • 12. Blogs Can Educate Us All…
    • What is logP versus logD?
    • Calcium carbonate IS soluble
  • 13. Partially Soluble isn’t Insoluble
    • When experts say it’s ok: http://www.chemspider.com/blog/calcium-carbonate-logp-predictions-and-chris-lipinski.html
  • 14. … and so into the Blogosphere
  • 15. Blogging
    • Gives a voice to your passions, intentions, advances, features and gathers feedback
    • Visible to your community – if you do work to connect with your community
    • Is time-consuming, can be challenging but more pluses than minuses
    • After 6 months of blogging: http://tinyurl.com/plrrcj
  • 16. Network Yourself
  • 17. Engage the community
  • 18. “ Allowed” Wikipedia Presence
  • 19. Present Yourself: Slideshare
    • http://www.slideshare.net/AntonyWilliams
  • 20. Really Present Yourself: SciVee TV
    • http://www.scivee.tv/node/9267
  • 21. Other Social Networking Tools
    • ChemSpider presently has a presence on:
      • The ChemSpider Blog
      • The ChemSpider Forum
      • LinkedIn
      • SciVee TV
      • YouTube
    • Antony Williams, ChemSpiderman is on
      • LinkedIn
      • The ChemConnector Blog
      • ResearchGate
      • SlideShare
      • Twitter
      • Others….
  • 22. Grow Your Business
    • Being discoverable on a web search is only part of the plan nowadays
    • Be an expert in your field and be vocal: network online, challenge the status quo, be honest and upfront, take a stance, it’s your reputation to gain/lose
  • 23. So we did something right…
  • 24. ChemSpider at RSC
    • ChemSpider is now a part of RSC
    • What helped us gain the attention?
      • Honorable and ethical in the public eye
      • Demonstrated competence in our domain
      • Gathered a good following from the community
      • Defined a unique position as a crowd sourced platform for the betterment of science
      • Very public face through networking and online participation
      • Offered something different but complementary
  • 25. The Internet and You
    • The internet is a powerful means to expose and market yourself but..be careful
    • RSC colleague “not obviously crazed”
  • 26. Acknowledgments
    • Twitter, LinkedIn, SciVee, Friendfeed…
    • Royal Society of Chemistry – David James, Richard Kidd, Graham McCann and an enormous team behind them
    • Valery Tkachenko, Sergey Golotvin and Will Griffiths
    • The ChemSpider advisory group
  • 27. Thank you BOOTH 1810 [email_address] Twitter: ChemSpiderman www.chemspider.com/blog