Chemical Information Management Specialist

Chemical information management specialists are responsible for finding, organizing, and disseminating information. Their primary role is to organize the overwhelming amount of chemical information found in journals, patent literature, etc. to make it easily accessible to researchers, students, industry professionals, and others.
Chemical information specialists are hired by libraries, chemical companies, market research firms, publishing units of professional societies, and management consulting firms. They are also employed by the technical and trade divisions of publishing houses and by software and chemical information database companies. Some work as independent consultants hired on a project-by-project basis. Most roles require both technical understanding and computer expertise.
Job responsibilities include balancing patrons’ needs with budget availability, balancing online and print resources, planning for disaster recovery, evaluating usage and impact of various resources, and negotiating contracts.
Computer software development is one of the fastest growing areas for chemical information specialists.
Many chemical information professionals specialize in patents and intellectual property .

Typical Job Titles

  • Science librarian.
  • Technical information specialist—organizing and archiving company reports, standard operating procedures, and historical data.
  • Data curation—enabling access to, and ensuring quality of, chemical data sets over their entire life cycle.
  • Market researcher.
  • Patent researcher.
  • Management consultant.
  • Technical publisher.
  • Software developer.
  • Abstracter—summarize technical content for a specific audience.
  • Indexer—create indices so users can find information easily.

Technical Skills

  • The ability to read, search, and understand technical information for a technical audience is crucial for many career paths in chemical information management.
  • A solid foundation in science and chemical reference works, including the ability to search chemical databases and conduct chemical structure and patent searches, is required.
  • The ability to write about or summarize (abstract or index) chemical information is also required for some positions.
  • With the huge shift to online information, web programming and web development skills may also be useful.

Career Path

Most chemical information professionals start out as researchers, with varying areas of expertise. Over time, they may start managing other researchers, sometimes taking charge of a division or an entire library or information center. They may also move into project management.

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