Microsoft Research and University of Cambridge Assign Chemistry Add-In for Word Project to Outercurve Foundation
Feb. 01, 2011
New addition to the Research Accelerators Gallery makes it easier for scientists, students and researchers to author, communicate and share chemical information.

REDMOND, Wash., and WAKEFIELD, Mass. — Feb. 1, 2011 — The Outercurve Foundation, in collaboration with Microsoft Research and University of Cambridge, today announced that the Chemistry Add-In for Word project has been added to the Foundation’s Research Accelerators Gallery, a collection of open source projects that benefit the research and science communities. The Chemistry Add-In for Word (also known as the Chem4Word project) was developed by Microsoft Research and Drs. Peter Murray-Rust and Joe Townsend of the University of Cambridge’s Unilever Centre for Molecular Science Informatics. The two organizations assigned the project to the Outercurve Foundation today.

The project aims to simplify the authoring of chemical information in Microsoft Word, specifically the inclusion of chemical structures, and demonstrate how scientific information can be captured at the authoring stage to more accurately represent the chemical content, create high-quality depictions, contribute to simpler prepublication processes and richer information discovery scenarios, and preserve chemical information for archival purposes.

“The Chemistry Add-In for Word shows the power of collaborative development that exists in the open source community,” said Paula Hunter, executive director, Outercurve Foundation. “The assignment of Chemistry Add-In for Word to the Outercurve Foundation will enable researchers and scientists to benefit from a tool that will speed creation and sharing of documents that include chemical information. We are pleased to work with Microsoft Research and the University of Cambridge to continue to foster improvements in the development of this tool.”

“The Chemistry Add-In for Word helps the scientific and academic research community simplify the authoring and semantic annotation of chemical information,” said Alex Wade, director of scholarly communication, Microsoft External Research. “We are delighted to collaborate on the tool development with the University of Cambridge and pleased to assign the project to the Outercurve Foundation in an effort to advance scholarly communications and pave the way for scientific discovery and innovation.”

Designed for and tested on both Microsoft Office Word 2007 and Microsoft Word 2010, Chem4Word harnesses the power of Chemical Markup Language (XML for Chemistry), making it possible not only to author chemical content in Word, but also to include the data behind those structures. Chemistry Add-In for Word and Chemical Markup Language help make chemistry documents open, readable and easily accessible to humans and other technologies. The goal of the project is to support publishing and data-mining scenarios for authors, readers, publishers and others throughout the chemistry community.

The platform makes it easier for scientists, students and researchers to insert and modify chemical information, such as labels, formulas and 2-D depictions, within Microsoft Word. The add-in enables the creation of inline chemical zones, the rendering of print-ready visual depictions of chemical structures, and the ability to store and expose chemical information in a semantically rich manner across the worldwide chemistry community.

In March 2010, Microsoft Research, along with the University of Cambridge, released the beta version of the project, encouraging the scientific and researcher communities to download the tool, evaluate it and provide feedback to improve the final quality of the code. Since that time, there have been more than 250,000 downloads of the add-in.

The Outercurve Foundation has three galleries and 10 projects, including the ASP.NET Open Source Gallery (five projects), the Systems Infrastructure and Integration Gallery (two projects) and the recently announced Research Accelerators Gallery (three projects.)

More information on the Outercurve Foundation is available at http://www.outercurve.org.

More information on Microsoft Research is available at http://www.research.microsoft.com.

More information on the University of Cambridge’s Unilever Centre for Molecular Science Informatics is available at http://www-ucc.ch.cam.ac.uk.

About the Outercurve Foundation

The Outercurve Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation created as a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects. For more information about the Outercurve Foundation contact info@outercurve.org

About Microsoft Research

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art. Microsoft Research has expanded over the years to eight locations worldwide and a number of collaborative projects that bring together the best minds in computer science to advance a research agenda based on their unique talents and interests. Microsoft Research has locations in Redmond, Wash.; Cambridge, Mass.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India, and also conducts research at the Cairo Microsoft Innovation Center in Egypt; European Microsoft Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany; and the eXtreme Computing Group in Redmond. Microsoft Research collaborates openly with colleges and universities worldwide to enhance the teaching and learning experience, inspire technological innovation, and broadly advance the field of computer science. More information can be found at http://www.research.microsoft.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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