DOE generates scientific research data in many forms, both text and non-text. Much of the Department's text-based R&D results are readily available via OSTI databases. OSTI has broadened efforts to make non-text scientific and technical information (STI) available as well, providing access to underlying non-text data such as numeric files, computer simulations and interactive maps, as well as multimedia and scientific images.
During 2011, OSTI implemented changes to its technology infrastructure to facilitate the announcement and registration of DOE-funded publicly available R&D research datasets through its membership in DataCite . This web service builds on OSTI scientific research data discovery tools, DOE Data Explorer and SciTech Connect, by providing an easy-to-use mechanism to submit, edit, and retrieve metadata for DOE research dataset announcement notices. Participation in DataCite lends support to OSTI's primary mission of STI management and DOE's goal of making research data accessible. The May 2011 DOE Strategic Plan states: "Beyond broad availability of technical reports, e-prints and multimedia, and publication in peer-reviewed journals, open access to experimental data and analysis codes is increasingly important in policy-relevant research areas."
Created as a data discovery tool, DOE Data Explorer enables the identification of publicly available collections or sources of DOE scientific research data. DOE Data Explorer describes collections of DOE-sponsored, non-text data which reside at DOE national laboratories, data centers, and user facilities as well as at universities and other institutions where DOE-sponsored research is conducted. All the collections included are available for free access, although some require password registration. A key component of each DOE Data Explorer citation is a link to the data collection on its host server. This allows users to take full advantage of the highly specialized interfaces and software toolkits that have been developed specifically for many of these collections. The interfaces and toolkits provide customized ways to search data, compare sets of data, visualize data, and package data for download and reuse.
OSTI joined DataCite to facilitate finding, accessing and reusing publicly available scientific research datasets produced by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded researchers. Through the OSTI Data ID Service, Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are assigned to research datasets, then registered with DataCite to establish persistence.
OSTI has participated in several arenas with interests related to access, preservation, and management of primary research data, including interagency working groups, working groups within DOE, and groups related to data management across the international scientific community. Several have issued publications dealing with scientific data.