Crystallography Open Database
Call to Volunteers

October 2005

Dear Crystallographers,

You were ~1300 signing YES to the petition for open data in crystallography (5 signing NO). The COD Advisory Board wishes to thank you.

A poster was displayed at the IUCr XX congress, Florence, August 2005:
You may see the corresponding powerpoint file at:
A selection of texts from petitioners was shown :

The consequences of the petition appear to be null, unfortunately.

The COD was contacted by the CCDC (Cambridge Structural Database), asking what exactly would be a "light version".
We answered that it would correspond to the COD, once completed. No news since that. Associations like IUCr, ACS and RSC have still not allowed the COD to operate a systematic download of the CIFs available at their journals Web sites.

So, the COD considers timely to change a bit its strategy.

You represent a large community of crystallographers wanting access openly to a database of atomic coordinates on the Web.
The conclusion is that you constitute a force able to help building this expected database. The number of journals giving access freely to CIFs as "supplementary materials", or "supporting info" is growing. For 100 journals publishing 12 issues per year, 1200 volunteers would have to make only a 30 minute job per year (maximum), consisting of getting the CIFs where they are are, and sending them to the COD upload Web page. If only 100 volunteers can be found, then they would have to check all issues of a same journal. This has to be organized such as two volunteers would not download the same CIFs. We cannot even think to start such a project before to obtain the agreement of a sufficient number of
volunteers wishing to help.

If you wish to become one of these volunteers, then answer to that email at, giving details on your offer :

  - wishing to help for N journal issues per year (~30 minutes/issue),

Propose a value for N. Some journals have 4 or 6 issues per year, other have 12, some may have up to 26 or 52 per year !
The number of CIFs per isssue is variable (from less than 5 to 30).

We will then contact the volunteers, giving them the details of their mission (URL of the journal where they will find the CIFs, selection of

Downloading CIFs at these journal Web sites is allowed for personal use. If you decide then to send them to the COD, this will be your personal choice, your responsibility, for the building of that dreamed open database..

Thanks again you for your interest and your support.

Best regards from the COD Advisory Board,

Daniel Chateigner, Xiaolong Chen,
Marco Ciriotti, Lachlan M.D. Cranswick, Robert T. Downs,
Saulius Gražulis, Armel Le Bail, Luca Lutterotti, Yoshitaka Matsushita,
Miguel Quirós Olozábal, Hareesh Rajan, Alexandre F.T. Yokochi

PS - The COD contains now ~18 000 entries. Soon much more, we hope, thanks to you

PS2 - Already 26 volunteers recruited from petitioners.