Making Open Science Sustainable for Chemistry

Published on June 22, 2017

Interview with Ian Bruno: Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, Cambridge, UK,
recorded at the  BEILSTEIN OPEN SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM (22 – 24 May 2017).

Ian Bruno is discussing making open science sustainable with Martin Hicks. Ian makes the point that simply making data sets available is not sufficient, they need to be discoverable and re-usable. He outlines how the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC) started producing the Cambridge Structure Database over 50 years ago, and over time have had different models to ensure its sustainability. In the internet era, the challenge has been to provide a level of free access, whilst generating income through the value added services and software that work on top of the database. Sustainability is not just an issue of financial support, but is also driven by the user base. Here the CCDC set up a network of national affiliated centers, responsible originally for the distribution of the database – then on tapes. Nowadays this network helps in attracting funding for local academics to receive the value added services. The driver of sustainability of a resource is its scientific value. Ian discussed the idea of the scholarly commons and different ways of communicating science, in particular looking at the underlying research objects that contribute to a story. To improve discoverability we need to address the issues of publish and perish paradigm, and develop workflows that are much more closely related to the research that people are doing. Here we need the appropriate levels of documentation or meta-data associated with those research objects so that people are able to find them. In terms of standards for chemical structures, Ian notes that people are currently using de-facto standards and have built workflows around them, and thus they will be reluctant to change. There are currently discussions underway, to ensure that the specification of these formats and extensions are made openly accessible.

Please have a look at our other videos with some speakers and their standpoints on Open Science:

Challenges for Scientific Databases
Frédérique Lisacek: Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Geneva, Switzerland

The Open Source Chemistry Lab
Matthew Todd: The University of Sydney, Australia

Transfer of Metadata from the Bench to Databases
Henry Rzepa: Imperial College London, UK

Uncertainties in Chemistry
Jeremy G. Frey: University of Southampton, UK

Fly-by-Wire Chemistry
Lee Cronin: University of Glasgow, UK

The European Open Science Cloud
Klaus Tochtermann: Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Kiel, Germany

Libraries in Transformation
Leah McEwen:  Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

Discussion: Retro- and Prospectives on Open Science
Ian Bruno, Stuart Chalk, Martin Hicks, Carsten Kettner, Leah McEwen.

Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, Data Sharing and Big Data are examples of buzz words that are used to describe the new opportunities and demands for sharing and reusing the results of scientific research. This symposium brought together research scientists, data scientists, publishers, funders and other interested parties to review critically current publication practices in chemistry and related sciences.

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