Crystallography is unique amongst scientific disciplines in that so many data are published and available for others to investigate and utilise. Databases containing records and data from crystallographic experiments (including the CSD, ICSD and PDB) were founded early when the number of experiments being carried out was small. This undoubtedly helped the culture of the community (most crystallographers take it for granted that such databases exist and provide useful data) and has provided comprehensive collections of crystal data. If such databases did not exist and had to be started now, the task would appear overwhelming; the task of keeping the CSD up to date with the number of crystal structures currently published is by no means trivial!
However, every crystallographer has structures that for one reason or another don’t get published, and many scientists have structures in a PhD thesis that they never quite got round to writing up. After all the time, effort (and money) it takes to synthesise a compound, collect crystal data and complete refinement, many structures end up languishing on a hard drive or in a PhD thesis on a shelf. You may not consider your crystal structure(s) to be significant to your research, but aspects of the structure determination experiment or the structure itself (e.g. bonds, angles, torsions, ring geometries), whether conventional or novel, may be significant to another researcher. Adding the structure to the CSD will help others identify the compound (using our free CellCheckCSD software), and add to the body of knowledge about molecular geometry and crystal packing.