CI Pall Thordarson’s Supramolecular 2.0 exposes data to the world
Press Release | April 24, 2019

CI Professor Pall Thordarson will take another step towards data transparency soon when he launches an upgrade to his website, supramolecular.org.

The site, originally set up in 2015 with the backing of chemistry Nobel prize winner Sir Fraser Stoddart, allows researchers in bio-nano science to store and analyse their data sets and make them publicly available after the research is published so other scientists can check it and replicate it.

Since then the site has been used for almost 100 scientific ­papers and houses tens of thousands of data sets.

He said the platform focused on the small data sets that were the “bread and butter of research in bio-nano science research, ranging from kinetic measurements to the characterisation of nanoparticles to the point at which a cell is no longer viable when it is surrounded by nanomedicines”.

Professor Thordarson said the data was “minute and complex” and often did not make it into the methods section of papers. Scientists often meant to share the data, “but on the ground, they have so many other pressures it’s not high on their agenda”, he said.

The platform encourages researchers to use it by including statistical tools to analyse data, and — although the idea is to make data public — it includes a feature to keep it private for intellectual property reasons.

Professor Thordarson said he did not originally intend to develop web tools. “I come from the lab world,” he said. “But by neces­sity I started writing my own programs.”

The next step is to launch version two of supramolecular.org, which has been assisted by a $150,000 research infrastructure grant from UNSW and has a much wider variety of tools, including the ability for researchers to write their own statistical models within the platform.

Article published in The Australian – 24 April 2019