Welcome to Reciprocal Net!

Reciprocal Net  a distributed crystallography network for researchers, students and the general public


Reciprocal Net is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of the National Science Digital Library project.  NSDL Logo
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How To Join

The Reciprocal Net site software is designed to be run at crystallographic service facilities (which analyze crystals submitted by research chemists) located at major research universities.  The network is a volunteer effort and you will be expected to contribute your own Linux web server to the project.  The Reciprocal Net site software is free and membership in the network is free.  Eventually, we hope that our software will be flexible enough that most crystallography facilities across the country will choose to join Reciprocal Net.

Why would you want to participate in this community effort?  By using the Reciprocal Net site software for your lab's day-to-day operations your facility would have an easy means for adding structures to Reciprocal Net's public collection.  To date, roughly 250,000 molecular structures have been published.  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.  Wouldn't the undergraduates in your University's Chemistry department benefit from such a resource?

The Reciprocal Net site software is a web application that will help you keep track of crystal samples submitted to your laboratory for analysis and can be configured to allow the sample provider access to the data you collect.  Chief among the software's web-based visualization features is JaMM, a Java applet that displays molecules and can generate ray-traced 3-D images, ORTEP diagrams, and line drawings.  The Reciprocal Net Site Network is a distributed database, which means that it's easy for you to make data you collect from samples available to the general public via the web.    Crystal samples whose data you choose to let the public access will automatically become searchable via this web site, the Reciprocal Net master server.  Sample data that you do not explicitly release to the public does not leave your server and remains entirely under your control.

It is safe to use the Reciprocal Net site software at your lab even if you intend 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 site 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 trade 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.)

Please write to the Reciprocal Net Coordinator at Indiana University's Molecular Structure Center for more information.

Copyright 2004, The Trustees of Indiana University