Chemical information falls into one of two categories: either you know it or you know where to find it! In today's world, the internet is by far the most popular way to search for information. But finding specific, relevant answers to your questions can take frustratingly long. Traditional search engines do not adequately address the problem as they provide an overload of general information but no specific answer set. Most of researchers' time is inefficiently used in sieving through unrelated/irrelevant information from the engine's output. This inevitable time wasting calls the usefulness of internet searches into question.

A better approach is to consult chemistry resource guides but few of them are designed for a specific audience and there is often a problem with updating or maintenance as many of them are set up by volunteers. Commercial sites address the latter problem but are characterized by a limited access (user registration or fee), limited coverage (only sponsored items) and extensive banner advertisements.

In order to fill this gap, we created Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide in February 1996. It is a website designed by and for the specific needs of organic chemists. Its aim is to provide a one-stop shop where reliable, regularly updated information is available at high speed.

The website is split into five main divisions:

  1. Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide
  2. A portal site which collects and independently annotates all useful organic chemistry sites and present them in an intuitive and user-friendly way.

  3. Organic Chemistry Newsletter
  4. A monthly newsletter featuring recent development in the organic chemistry field. (Archive)

  5. Value Added Directories
  6. Specific directories with added value. (Overview)

  7. Organic Chemistry Jobs Worldwide
  8. A job site dedicated to advertising positions available within the field of organic chemistry.

  9. World Directory of Organic Chemistry Research
  10. A database featuring academic organic chemistry research worldwide.

Target audience

The information listed in "Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide" is focused on professionals involved in synthetic organic chemistry research in either academia (e.g. PhD student, Postdoc, Professor) or industry (e.g. Medicinal chemist, Process developer).

Areas Covered

In order to provide an intuitive environment, the website's interface has to reflect the thoughts of synthetic organic chemists. An organic chemist is typically involved involved in the following key activities:

1) Synthesis Preparation
2) Experimental set-up, running the reaction and work-up
3) Structure Confirmation
4) Communication and reporting

Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide provides useful resources to optimize these activities. Other topics of interest include job searches and even some well-earned brain relaxation. No attempt is made to cover areas that are too specialized (e.g. fullerene database) or that are of non-synthetic origin (e.g. biological activities).


  • ChoiceReviews.online (December 2001)
  • With the enormous amount of information available on the Internet, sites that can organize information effectively are invaluable. This site, whose aim is to provide an organized set of links to information for organic chemistry researchers, fully achieves this objective. Created by Koen Van Aken, a Belgian chemist, this unique site makes it very easy to find the type of information desired, striking a balance between being so broad in coverage that the amount of information is overwhelming and being so narrow that the information is only useful to a small group of people. A student or practicing organic chemist conducting laboratory research will find information in several major categories (coverage is so comprehensive that only a small number of examples are given for each): the literature (including online journals and databases), experimental topics (ordering chemicals, experiment design, safety issues), analytical techniques, paperwork (notebook keeping, thesis writing, tutorials), communication (conferences, newsgroups, scientific societies), and career planning. Of particular note are the experimental and analytical sections. The practical advice given in selecting experimental conditions is unique for a Web site, and the analytical section provides coverage of all major spectroscopic techniques used by organic chemists, from introductions to spectral libraries. Virtually every link leads to high quality information, which is notable given the wide variety of sources. The site is very easy to use. The main page is well indexed, as is each category and subcategory. After skimming the detailed index, navigation is intuitive. Updates are reasonably frequent. Importantly, links are checked weekly, so broken or outdated links are extremely rare. Though some of the tutorials might be useful to undergraduate science majors in advanced classes, this unique site would be most valuable to anyone engaged in synthetic organic chemistry research, from the student to the professional. -- S. M. Adamus, Providence College
    Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

  • Scout Report for Science & Engineering (June 20,2001)
  • Organic Chemistry Worldwide is an excellent organic chemistry metasite that is not to be missed. Geared toward synthetic organic chemists involved in academic or industrial research, Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide has a mission to collect and independently annotate "all useful organic chemistry sites and to present them in an intuitive way." This extensive metasite is divided into sections on literature, laboratory resources, spectroscopy and spectrometry, nomenclature and teaching, and conferences and organizations. The Literature section contains links to over 75 journals (some restricted access), 14 free databases (and many more commercial), dissertation collections, reviews, guides, patents, and current awareness sources. Examples of resources for laboratory work include links to chemical product databases, laboratory safety bulletins (.pdf), products and services, etc. Highlights of the site are an in-depth section on mass spectrometry, with links to publications and databases, and a plethora of links to organic chemistry labs worldwide, from Armenia to Uruguay.
    Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2002. http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/

  • Science, Volume 292, Number 5519, Issue of 11 May 2001

Awards / Nominations


"Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide" is maintained by Dr. Koen Van Aken. Koen Van Aken has about 18 years experience in academic and industrial organic chemistry. He received his Ph.D. at the K.U.Leuven, Belgium in 1993 after which he joined Georgia State University, Atlanta as a postdoctoral associate for over three years. Subsequently, he worked for about four years in an international pharmaceutical company as Senior Scientist. He is (co)author of over 30 publications (9 patents). His main areas of expertise are combinatorial reaction condition optimalization, automatisation/integration in organic chemistry laboratories, lead optimalization and chemical information. If you have any questions or comments, please mail.