Several commercial Web sites call themselves “clubs” for scientists, hoping to become the first stop on a Web trekker's itinerary. So it is with ChemWeb, a subsidiary of Elsevier Science, which also owns the BioMedNet site for biologists. ChemWeb's free membership gives you access to The Alchemist, the site's very own Webzine, with weekly news about chemistry research and the chemical community, an events calendar, and a jobs database.
According to Jenny Drey, the site's press officer, “ChemWeb seeks to provide everything a chemist might need on the Web from day to day, including journal information and a shopping mall for books, lab supplies, and software.” So far, the one-and-a-half-year-old site has signed up about 80,000 members.
The 120-title journals list leans toward the Elsevier collection, but Drey says the site is “publisher impartial” for those journals that want to participate. Searches are free, but full-text access requires a subscription or pay-per-view. The site also has a huge and well-organized directory of chemistry Web sites, called ChemDex. Another free feature, the ChemInform system, is a sort of MEDLINE for organic chemistry, with abstracts from over 200 journals dating back to 1980. Other features include a library of chemical structures, patents databases, and a virtual auditorium that offers online conferences and archived lectures. “We have correspondents at conferences who report in, and then ChemWeb members can jump into the discussion,” says Drey.