The Computational Chemistry List (CCL) is a web based forum in which is possible to discuss basically every aspect regarding computational chemistry, from fundamental concepts to technical assistance, the latter being the most popular form of posting. The value of CCL to the work of computational/theoretical chemists cannot be under-stressed since literally thousands of researchers and students around the world share their knowledge through it on a daily basis. The list is maintained by Dr. Jan Labanowsky who in some occasions has undergone severe problems to keep it running. Fortunately for us, he has always succeed in it. For example, in 2007 when bad weather struck the Ohio state where he lives he kept the CCL servers running with the help of a couple of gasoline generators. These servers are located at the basement of his house so it doesn’t really get more personal than this.
Of course, as with any other forum, the CCL is not immune to host controversies that later become e-mail wars although they have never left the original scope of the list nor the respectful framework expected among scientific researchers. But the CCL is not only a forum or an online comunity, it is also a repository for papers, codes, technical data and even a board for posting conference anouncements and job offers.
A very nice post about the importance of CCL and the work of Dr. Labanowski can be found here at Dr. Alejandro Pisanty’s blog. Dr. Pisanty has been the director of the Academic Computing Center at UNAM, Mexico, for quite a number of years now, and was involved in the development of the CCL back in the early nineties.
The CCL has been running since 1991 and is a great example of how the Internet isused to support research. I wonder if it’s possible to use the tools of web2.0 for research much in the same way as the CCL has done? Long live the CCL!