New trust helps chemical structure searches

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The InChI Trust is launching this week. The aim of this not-for-profit organisation is to expand and develop the InChI open-source chemical structure representation algorithm.

InChI (the IUPAC International Chemical Identifier) is an alpha-numeric character string generated by an algorithm. It was developed as a non-proprietary, international standard to represent chemical structures. InChI turns chemical structures into machine-readable strings of information. InChIs are unique to the compound they describe and can encode absolute stereochemistry.

Development on InChI was initially done by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The new trust, which already includes six publishers,  aims to develop and improve on the current InChI standard and further enabling the interlinking of chemistry and chemical structures on the web. The connection with IUPAC is maintained through IUPAC’s InChI Subcommittee.

Since the introduction of the InChI in 2005, there has been widespread take-up of InChI standards by public databases and journals. Today, there are more than 100 million InChIs in scientific literature and products.

The InChI Trust was formally incorporated in the UK in May 2009, and now has 6 charter members: The Royal Society of Chemistry, Nature Publishing Group, FIZ-Chemie Berlin, Symyx Technologies, Taylor & Francis and OpenEye. Further organisations and publishers are in the process of joining the InChI Trust.