Message from the Chair

ImageIt is with a sense of excitement and trepidation that I start my tenure as Chair of the Division of Chemical Information. While the Division continues to be a vital component of the chemical information community, there are many issues that affect our field and our members. Terms such as “Big Data” and “Data Scientist” are all the rage now, and I believe that CINF is already representative of much of “data science.” When I look at what the CINF membership does with chemical data - collection, curation, representation, management, and analysis - we’re much more than just chemical information. Instead, I see the CINF community addressing the complexity and subtlety of chemical data by developing techniques, tools, processes, and policies that allow us to go from raw signals, numbers, and structures to actionable information. The broad scope of the Division allows us to easily span areas that may not be chemistry, but that need to be chemically aware. I see great opportunities for the Division and its membership by positioning ourselves to take advantage of the resurgent interest in data science.

We must also be aware of policies and advocacy efforts that affect our field. Specifically, the Open Data, Open Access, and Open Science movements have gathered strength over the last few years, and I believe that many of the issues and concerns that are the focus of these movements impact the activities of many CINF members. Given the interlinked nature of today's world, siloed data is a hindrance to modern research, and it is worrying that there are efforts afoot to hinder and block certain aspects of the Open movements. I believe that CINF, with links to chemistry databases, analytics and publishing, is in a unique position to support various aspects of the Open movements that directly touch our community. I hope that we will be able to make some concrete progress, in at least some of these areas, during the coming year.

How does this help you as a CINF member? The CINF leadership is actively discussing and developing strategies to make CINF more relevant in today’s world: enhancing topicality of programming, working on local networking opportunities, and so on. But we need to hear from you, our members. What’s missing? What could we do better? Who could we reach out to? I welcome anybody who is interested in getting involved with the Division to get in touch with me (or any other committee member). Obviously, the Division benefits from your involvement. Conversely, there’s a lot for you to gain: have your say in how the Division is run and where it’s going, and, most importantly, network with some very smart, very nice people. While there is ample scope to meet with CINF members at the San Diego meeting, don’t restrict yourself to the National Meetings. The excellent, newly revamped CINF Website has contact details for the various committees, and we are all on the ACS Network, if you prefer sending messages that way. While we do not have an official presence on other social media networks, a number of our members are regulars on sites like Twitter, FriendFeed, and others. So, speak up, and you will be heard.

I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead and I hope to meet many of you in San Diego in a few weeks.

Dr. Rajarshi Guha
Chair, Division of Chemical Information