As a member of the PIUG Vendors and Producers Committee, I act as "monitor" for databases and other sources not in the patent database mainstream. I'm opening this forum to promote discussion and to gather input for an article in the PIUG newsletter. Please add your input on this diverse topic.
Patent searchers not only need to search sources covering patents but others covering non-patent information about science and technology of interest. Of course, information and data in these or any other published source have importance to patent searchers, especially in the realm of prior art.
Just as a number of free patent files have become available, free and "open" sources of more generalized chemical information are appearing. Challenging the perceived domination of databases from Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS), especially the CAS Registry System and CAS Registry Numbers (CASRN), several Open Access (OA) advocates are promoting the use of free and open sources of chemical information and data and even alternative registry systems. In a prior entry in his blog, Peter Murray-Rust
(http://wwmm.ch.cam.ac.uk/blogs/murrayrust/) [yes, it works] throws down the gauntlet and promotes a number of free/open chemical databases including "Chemspider, Pubchem, ChEBI, Wikipedia, The Blue Obelisk, CrystalEye, and Open Noteboook Science". They allegedly feature "openness, re-use and sharing, immediacy, innovation, linkedness, semantics, quality control, and community". He and others also promote the use of InChI nomenclature and structure representation as an open alternative to CASRN.
As previously discussed, quality control for PubChem (http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) is often problematic. An effort is underway to provide quality control for chemical information in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Chemistry) . We'd welcome input on experience with these and other such sources of chemical information.
Additional sources are cited at http://zusammen.metamolecular.com/2009/03/09/sixty-four-free-chemistry-databases-serialized . In addition, there's the still somewhat mysterious (at least it only has limited publicity) Common Chemistry site (http://www.commonchemistry.org/), "...Common Chemistry from Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a web resource that contains CAS Registry Numbers for approximately 7,800 chemicals of widespread general public interest." Since it's from CAS, the accuracy and quality control are assured but the free, public availability is an innovation.
In addition, fee-based services like Beilstein are facing difficulties. Elsevier is bundling access to them, via CROSSFIRE, along with their chemical reactions resource, Reaxys (http://info.reaxys.com/index.php ). Academics are especially concerned with the effective increase in cost. Non-academic users, also concerned with costs although possibly not as much as the academics, are also concerned with support of the service. Of course, Beilstein is available via STN but the pricing is considerably more expensive ("outrageous" in one patent searchers opinion).
Let's keep this string going. I won't be attending the PIUG meeting but I'll monitor this Forum and report on it.
-- Bob Buntrock, Buntrock Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org