ChemSpider, the open access chemical structure search engine, has been bought by the Royal Society of Chemistry

ChemSpider, the open-access online database of structure-searchable chemical information, has found a new home with the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry. The move is hoped to enable ChemSpider to expand in scope and become a primary resource for online chemistry data.

The acquisition of ChemSpider builds on an existing partnership between the two organisations, which last year saw the launch of a web-based resolver for the IUPAC’s International Chemical Identifier (InChI) and its more streamlined cousin, the InChIKey, which allow chemical structures to be associated with strings of text. 

Graphical representations of chemical structures, while a valuable means of communication between human chemists, cause massive headaches for software that attempts to catalogue and search the associated data. This means that simple, text-based systems for relating structures to searchable data, such as InChIs and InChIKeys, are essential to providing an effective means of locating structure-related information online. ChemSpider takes advantage of these systems to enable chemists to easily search that data.

Graham McCann, in charge of the ChemSpider project at the RSC, explains that the aim of the acquisition is to ’secure the future of this service for the chemistry community. By adding stability and resources, we want to create a platform to engage people and encourage collaboration and sharing of information that’s accessible to everyone.’

The database now holds information on nearly 21.5 million unique structures, from over 200 different sources. McCann adds that his team are in negotiations with other publishers to enhance the data and services offered by ChemSpider, through initiatives to link to their online content from the structure database, for example.

The ChemSpider website is due to be re-launched later in the year in its new form, and will be enhancing its services and looking to forge collaborative links within the chemical science community

Phillip Broadwith