Today, January 2nd, the National Chemical Database Service went live. What we deliver will, we hope, be a good first step to the development of the new Chemical Database Service that the Royal Society of Chemistry will be hosting for the next five years. This first release will provide access to a series of databases and services commonly utilized by the UK academic community. A number of these have been accessible previously through earlier variants of the CDS but new resources are already available through the new release and this will be expanded moving forward. What we deliver today will have been assembled in just a few short weeks with the holiday season in the middle as a potential disruptor. Next up is the inclusion of other database resources that we were not able to squeeze in at the end of the year.
From this point forward we get to architect the system we intend to deliver to the community for the next five years. For clarity we should declare that the CDS that we are rolling out is not simply a matter of continuing the previous incarnation. What we will deliver will start with providing access to a series of commercial databases and services but will include development of a repository capability allowing chemists to host their data, under embargo if necessary. It will allow sharing of data between individuals, groups and institutions. It will embrace the data policies of EPSRC as a funding body and evolve as they and community practice change with time. We are at a time when the expectations regarding accessibility to data are changing and we will support the needs alongside the community. We can imagine that new data may become the basis of structure-activity relationship building, that new algorithms can be derived and existing algorithms be tweaked, all to deliver more tools, capabilities and value. We envisage a time when the investments made in the generation and analysis of chemistry data across the United Kingdom can benefit not only the UK but the entire scientific domain of chemistry, giving even greater recognition to the contributions of British Chemists.
What the CDS service will look like in five years is tough to define in detail. Technologies, expectations and levels of community engagement will surely change. In any case we believe we will break new ground to ultimately provide a revolutionary chemical database service to enable and support chemists in the UK. We expect a long and exciting journey and encourage your feedback, participation and engagement, not only as users but as contributors!
For now please find below a general introduction to the new service and some of our hopes for the future.