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How Will The Internet Change Chemistry In The Next 10 Years?

Our outside contributors gazed into their crystal flasks and made predictions

August 16, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 32

Illustration of a flask.
Credit: Shutterstock

“I’m waiting for departmental seminars to start live streaming, not just the talk, but the conversations with faculty and students. I imagine it building stronger networks for faculty and students at small colleges.”—Michelle Francl

“Journals are going to start requiring researchers to upload electronic copies of their data because it is easy and will combat misconduct and because Congress will require that data be made available to the public if the work is federally funded.”—Paul Bracher

“The whole print model of journals with ‘issues’ and ‘volumes’ will vanish and be replaced with continuous DOI numbers or something similar. What may well vanish after that is the traditional gatekeeper function of the journals themselves: There’s really not much reason why chemistry shouldn’t be published on a prepublication model, such as with arXiv.”—Derek Lowe

“I’m optimistic that the Internet will help to improve the public’s understanding and appreciation of chemistry.”—Neil Garg

“National chemical societies, like the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society, will become more inclusive and far more international.”—Sir Martyn Poliakoff

“Currently, ‘big data’ and machine learning of the type demonstrated by IBM’s Watson and Apple’s Siri are transforming our ability to look at really large and complex data sets. The next revolution in theoretical chemistry will leverage these technologies to aid in materials and drug discovery.”—Alán Aspuru-Guzik

“Digital media will help reduce inequality by making it easier for chemistry education to reach disadvantaged communities in both developed and developing countries.”—John Sadowski


“In the next 10 years, I look forward to how the Internet of Things (whatever that proves to be) will affect chemistry in the laboratory and the plant. I could easily imagine probes that would actively monitor reaction progress, contacting scientists when anomalies occur and making automatic notes in mobile-accessible electronic notebooks.”—Chemjobber


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