Free Chemistry Databases on the Web: Creating a Comprehensive Guide

May 07, 2007

One of Depth-First's more popular articles is a summary of free databases titled Thirty-Two Free Chemistry Databases. Clearly there is a need to link the producers of free chemical databases (developers) with the potential users of these services (chemists). Chemistry is slowly emerging from a decades-long period of over-reliance on a single supplier of information. As new players enter, they'll need some way to have their message heard.

The Problem

As evidence of this need, I'm getting more requests to list additional services on the Thirty-Two Databases article - or to provide an updated review of a service already there. This is wonderful!

One approach would be for me to simply research and write an updated article reviewing the new additions myself. The problem is that thirty-two is already a very large number to deal with. My guess is that there must now be well over sixty or seventy free chemistry databases. That's far too many for one person to research properly on their own.

On the other hand, the Web is all about collaboration, so why no try to use it that way?

An Idea

Here's the idea: if you run a free database or other online chemistry service and would like to promote it, post a comment to this article containing a link and brief description of what makes your service different/useful. If you've used a free chemistry database, feel free to provide your thoughts on it. If there's a free database you wish existed but doesn't yet, feel free to write about that. Unlike the other articles on this site for which comments are closed after two weeks, this article's comments will remain open indefinitely.

After some period of time, I'll use these comments to write a new article highlighting the new material.

Notice the use of the word "free". A free database can be used by any member of the general public without fees or a lengthy registration process. This includes both free speech and free beer services. There are more restrictive definitions that could be applied, but let's not worry about those just yet. Free beer is better than no beer at all.

Links can either be in HTML or Markdown. Here's one example of each:

<a href="http://megamolecules.com">MegaMolecules</a> (HTML)

[MegaMolecules](http://megamolecules.com) (Markdown)

The Outcome

I have no idea what kind of response this experiment will generate. But if past experience is any guide, large numbers of chemists are keenly interested in free chemistry databases. All they need is a link.

Image Credit: Kate and Dave Hugh