Chemical Informatics Letters

Volume 9, Issue 1; July 2004

Editor: Jonathan M Goodman

Chemical Informatics Letters now available via RSS, which can be viewed on a web browser here, using the RDN's viewer, or by loading into any RSS reader. It has been suggested that Google is considering RSS, but it currently prefers Atom.

Statistics can be wrong
This paper in the BMC Medical Research Methodology concludes that statistical practice is generally poor, even in renowned scientific journals.

Scientific Publications: Free for all?
The Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament has published its report on scientific publications. It concludes that the current model of publishing is unsatisfactory and encourages the creation of institutional repositories.

PubChem and the NIH
The NIH has announced the establishment of a Chemical Genomics Center, which is the first component of a network that will produce chemical tools for use in biological research and drug development. To support this a repository of chemical compounds will be established and deposited in a central database, called PubChem (powerpoint presentation), which will be managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and will be freely available to the entire scientific community as part of its Molecular Libraries initiative.

Open Access
The US House of Representatives have recommended that the NIH provide free access to all the research it funds. Elias A. Zerhouni, the director of the NIH, has asked the publishing executives to tell him how best to manage material so that the public can freely use it. Alan Leshner chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was concerned about releasing articles immediatedly, but not worried about releasing them after six months. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS) now has an open access option, whereby authors can pay a thousand dollars to make their article freely available on-line. PNAS is already freely available in over 140 countries.

Changing use of .edu
The .edu suffix used to be a clear indication that a site came from a university in the USA. However, this is no longer the case. Non-USA institutions with a .edu suffix include:

Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) is a freely available dictionary of small molecular entities, from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI).

The Challenges with Substance Databases and Structure Search Engines
This article by Helen Cooke (Schofield) and Damon Ridley (Australian Journal of Chemistry, 2004, 57(5), 387-392) outlines the limitations of the use of connection tables to describe chemical structures. These cannot easily cope with polymers or catenanes, for example. It the describes how some search engines deal with the problems.

Biomedical Acronyms
This database of biomedical acronyms, constructed in the Garner Group at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was created in an automated process from MEDLINE and contains over two hundred thousand acronyms.

The International Centre for Diffraction Data is a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to collecting, editing, publishing, and distributing powder diffraction data. The Powder Diffraction File contains 279,864 unique entries. Site licensing is available.

Computer Science Bibliography
This index of articles has over half a million entries, and so a search for 'chemistry' has many hits.

Is chemistry getting easier?
The June 2004 list of the top 500 supercomputers has a diagram showing subject areas. Chemistry is getting less attention than it was, relatively speaking. Does this mean the subject is getting easier, or the problems easy enough for supercomputers have all been solved?

© 2004 J M Goodman, Cambridge
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