March 5th of 2003 is considered birth of Crystallography Open Database as it was announced at that time.


Databases of crystal structure atomic coordinates (most of them commercial databases) delay new data by 3, 6 months, if not much more (1, 2 years) after the publication. As a crystallographer, you certainly are interested in having access as soon as possible to new and old data, and why not for free. Your main reason can be that you do not want to waste time in a structure redetermination of an already known compound. The Internet offers possibilities for quasi immediate answers, provided :

  1. A small team of engaged scientists with some experience in database and software design coordinate the Crystallography Open Database (COD) project based on free and automated software a) for maintaining the database, b) for data evaluation and calculation of derived data (e.g. calculated powder pattern from crystal structures for search-match purposes), c) for browsing and retrieval.

  2. The authors (i.e. the scientific community = YOU) provide the project with database entries (note, that if you have'nt sold your experimental results exclusively, you are free to distribute the data to such a database, even if they have already been part of a publication - and a lot of good data have never been published). We are not in the same situation as decades before when the well-known databases (ICSD, CSD, PDF) started. Today we have the Internet, fast computers, and a big pool of free available software. The question is : Do we have enough scientists who are willing to cooperate?

The COD, once finalized, will be nothing else than a keyword-searchable Web server of crystal structure atomic coordinates, preserving the data after publication as well as unpublished data.