TOC | Previous | Next | Documentation Home

Project details

The Reciprocal Net project was started by a grant from the NSF in January 2002 and was integrated into the National Science Digital Library (see in 2003.  The Reciprocal Net project currently is based at Indiana University, although we hope the effort will evolve to a self-supporting, community-managed model.

The Reciprocal Net project, so far as the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is concerned, comprises three collections:

·       A collection of molecular structure data, where the structures solved and ready to be visualized.  Submissions into this collection originate from respected crystallography facilities, generally affiliated with major universities.

·       A collection of educational modules – sequences of web pages – that instruct students on specific aspects of chemistry.  Submissions into this collection originate from professional educators in primary schools, secondary schools, and universities.

·       A collection of visualization programs for rendering molecular structures.  Submissions into this collection generally originate from computer programmers associated with the field of chemistry in some way.

The latter two collections are managed entirely by, the “portal,” and are outside the scope of this manual.  The first collection, the one that contains molecular structures, is the focus of this document.

This Reciprocal Net site software, distributed as the recipnet package, is designed to be deployed at crystallography facilities and to integrate into their daily workflows.  By using the Reciprocal Net site software for their day-to-day operations, these crystallography facilities have an easy means for contributing structures to Reciprocal Net’s public collection.  To date, roughly 250,000 molecular structures have been published in the scientific literature.  How many more have been analyzed but never made public because they weren’t sufficiently interesting?  Reciprocal Net is an outlet for all structures, whether published or not.  As a public educational resource, this comprehensive collection of molecular data will be unparalleled.

It is safe for your laboratory to use the Reciprocal Net site software even if it intends to make only a few structures public at first – the software was designed for this.  No one, not even the Reciprocal Net Coordinator, can access structure data on your server to which you (the lab administrator) have not permitted it.  You control who may access data on a per-structure basis: whether only fellow crystallographers in your lab, the chemist who submitted the crystal, or the general public.  We recommend that labs institute a policy that structure data analyzed by them becomes publicly visible via Reciprocal Net when either a) the structure is published in a scholarly journal, or b) after five years.  In this way, intellectual property rights of the submitting chemist can be preserved while the usefulness of Reciprocal Net as an educational resource continues to grow.  (Of course, the five-year rule is only a suggestion; the software will not make your structure data visible to the public until you instruct it to do so.)

TOC | Previous | Next | Documentation Home