Monday, December 10, 2007

Surfing Web2O Article on the Chemistry Blogosphere

Richard Van Noorden of Chemistry World recently published a nice little review of Web 2.0 applications in chemistry. He introduced our UsefulChem project in a creative way:

As chemical reactions go, it was a complete failure. 'Contents of the reaction flask decomposed. Aborted', Drexel University chemist Jean-Claude Bradley and students recorded the day after an attempt to synthesise a catechol aldehyde from adrenaline on 24 January 2006. But the experiment has acquired a peculiar honour: Bradley chose it to be the first written in his group's new online laboratory notebook, in which all experimental data is made public and freely available to web users - a concept he later christened 'Open Notebook Science'.

Bradley's idea is simple: most failed experiments are discarded, yet their data could be useful to someone else. Even published papers don't always sufficiently explain the workings behind a successful experiment. In contrast, all Bradley's research and raw data is now documented transparently and almost in real-time. Anyone can see it, comment on it, and use it; and the internet is the perfect vehicle for hosting it.

There are many other examples in the article - a must read for the new generation of chemists.

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