Public chemical compound databases

Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2008 May;11(3):393-404.


The internet has rapidly become the first port of call for all information searches. The increasing array of chemistry-related resources that are now available provides chemists with a direct path to the information that was previously accessed via library services and was limited by commercial and costly resources. The diversity of the information that can be accessed online is expanding at a dramatic rate, and the support for publicly available resources offers significant opportunities in terms of the benefits to science and society. While the data online do not generally meet the quality standards of manually curated sources, there are efforts underway to gather scientists together and 'crowdsource' an improvement in the quality of the available data. This review discusses the types of public compound databases that are available online and provides a series of examples. Focus is also given to the benefits and disruptions associated with the increased availability of such data and the integration of technologies to data mine this information.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Commerce
  • Databases, Factual* / standards
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Internet
  • Molecular Structure
  • Online Systems* / standards
  • Private Sector
  • Public Sector
  • Quality Control
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Systems Integration