OSTI Mission: Advancing science and sustaining technological creativity by making R&D findings available
and useful to Department of Energy (DOE) researchers and the public
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has been making research and development (R&D) findings available to researchers and the public since 1947. Over the years, OSTI has been innovative in adapting to changing circumstances to fulfill its core mission of collecting, preserving and disseminating all forms of scientific and technical information (STI) from DOE. Since the earliest days of the Information Age, OSTI has been a leader in making the web work for science, creating collections of digitized STI, establishing an energy science and technology virtual library and developing and adopting cutting-edge web tools such as federated search and relevancy ranking of results.
Now OSTI is focused on meeting a new challenge that is also a momentous opportunity: providing public access to the gold standard of DOE scientific communications, peer-reviewed journal articles and accepted manuscripts resulting from DOE research investments.
In February 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research,” that calls on federal science agencies such as DOE to develop and implement public access plans for making accepted manuscripts and peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and scientific data in digital formats resulting from agency research investments publicly available in timely fashion.
OSTI helped draft the DOE plan for providing public access to scientific publications and scientific data in digital formats that was submitted to OSTP last fall. OSTI also has developed a DOE public access portal that will make scholarly scientific publications resulting from DOE research funding publicly accessible and searchable at no charge to readers.
OSTP has reviewed and provided feedback on DOE’s draft public access plan, and DOE will respond to that feedback before implementing its public access solution.
As it prepares to lead implementation of public access to scholarly publications for DOE, OSTI is focusing more than ever on its core mission and re-allocating resources to meet the public access challenge.
OSTI leads the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP), a collaboration of STI managers and technical information officers from across the DOE complex responsible for identifying, collecting, preserving and making accessible the results of DOE-funded R&D. The DOE STIP network includes STI liaisons from DOE programs, field, site and procurement offices, national laboratories and research facilities. Thanks to their contributions, OSTI has made significant progress in identifying and collecting DOE STI. As reported in the last issue of the OSTI.gov Newsletter, STIP submissions were more than 50 percent higher at the end of fiscal year 2013 than FY12, totaling more than 31,000 items; OSTI and STIP are on pace for similar results in FY14.
Together, OSTI and STIP have a well-developed program in place to identify and provide access to DOE STI, including technical reports, patents and journal articles, through a sophisticated submission system and a number of search tools. OSTI will use the STIP network and infrastructure as the central element of its public access solution. They also are collaborating to make headway in such emerging forms of STI as multimedia and metadata for datasets. As Dr. Jeffrey Salmon, Deputy Director for Resource Management in the DOE Office of Science, wrote in a recent OSTIblog, OSTI is focused “first and foremost [on] the STI produced by DOE and serving DOE R&D interests” and “working to be as comprehensive as possible in its processes to collect, preserve/curate and disseminate all forms of STI from DOE.”
To cite Dr. Salmon’s blog again, “to be successful with the public access opportunity and better focus on the DOE mission,” OSTI is re-allocating resources. Earlier this year, OSTI streamlined its product portfolio by discontinuing a number of products/services, including Adopt-A-Doc, EDUconnections, DOE Green Energy, Science Conference Proceedings, Science Lab and Science Open Access Journals. By this June, OSTI also plans to eliminate ScienceAccelerator, consolidating most of its contents into SciTech Connect, the DOE STI flagship product. At that time, ScienceAccelerator resources are also scheduled to be available through the National Library of EnergyBeta, which offers federated searching of information across DOE.
As Dr. Salmon explained in his blog, “All of these products have filled important niches for diverse audiences, and OSTI will continue to serve these communities through existing products, such as SciTech Connect and our pending public access tool. But we have to make room for a greater emphasis on access to scholarly publications.”
Finally, in early March, the OSTI website got a new look. In Dr. Salmon’s words, “This redesign … reflect[s] OSTI’s rebalancing to focus on core DOE R&D results, making way for access to scholarly publications, and … provide[s] for simplified searching across the OSTI collection.”
Scientific videos highlighting exciting research and development (R&D) sponsored by DOE can be searched at ScienceCinema, OSTI’s multimedia product. As videos, animations, visualizations and other multimedia have become increasingly prominent forms of scientific communication, ScienceCinema was developed in 2011 in partnership with Microsoft Research, using innovative, state-of-the-art audio indexing and speech recognition technology. Searching across large volumes of multimedia content, ScienceCinema allows users to quickly search videos and identify the exact point in the video where the search terms were spoken. Closed captioning capabilities were added in 2013, enabling users to view the audio in textual format, a breakthrough in accessibility.
ScienceCinema currently contains over 3,300 videos from DOE national laboratories, other DOE research facilities and CERN. A broad range of energy-related topics are covered. For example, see how companies are improving the efficiency of solar cells in “Solar Innovator,” learn more about the Higgs Boson in “Unraveling the Higgs Boson Discovery” and watch “Breakthrough: Using Microbes to Make Advanced Biofuels” to learn how the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute is using microbes to convert non-food crops and agricultural waste into fuels for cars, trucks and planes.
Recognized as one of DOE’s initiatives in the DOE Open Government Plan 2.0 – for making the federal government more transparent, participatory and collaborative – ScienceCinema will continue to grow as new videos are produced by the laboratories and other research facilities. As part of OSTI’s role to collect, disseminate and preserve the Department’s scientific output, we look forward to engaging more fully with the STIP community to ensure that DOE’s multimedia-based R&D information is easily accessible and available to the public.
ScienceCinema uses audio indexing and speech recognition technology to convert the audio tracks of videos into searchable text. Using the Microsoft Research Audio Video Indexing System (MAVIS) technology, ScienceCinema allows users to search for specific words and phrases. This allows users to search for words spoken in a video in the same way that they would search for words in a text document. As with full-text searching, audio indexing lets users drill into a video to find terms that may not be used in the title, description or other parts of the citation. The search results display snippets from videos where the search term was spoken. Users can then select a snippet or a segment along the timeline to begin playing the video at the exact point in the video where the words were spoken.
|Number of Items||By Topic|
|By Media Type||Chemistry||184|
DOE invests over $10 billion per year in research and development. Scientific and technical publications, such as journal articles, are the primary tangible products of scientific research and the traditional means by which new knowledge is created and transferred within the scientific community. In essence, these publications reflect the immediate output of DOE’s investments in research.
OSTI’s publication metrics activities involve identifying DOE’s scholarly literature output, measuring that output on a multi-year basis and analyzing the impact of the research using a variety of traditional and alternative impact metrics. In addition to identifying and compiling DOE’s published literature for inclusion in products such as SciTech Connect and the pending public access tool, OSTI is working with individual DOE program offices to help support their efforts to evaluate research productivity and to assess the long-term impact of their research programs. OSTI offers a baseline publication metrics analysis to interested DOE programs as part of its mission-based activities. Depending on research program needs, deeper analysis, which could include more specialized metrics for publications produced by institutions, research teams or individual researchers, is available on a cost-reimbursable basis. It is important to acknowledge that publication metrics have some limitations, as “not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” Still, research programs find such analysis one of several useful measurement tools in the toolbox.
Currently, OSTI is working extensively with several Office of Science research programs to develop quantitative measures of their research, including publication rates, citation frequencies of their journal publications and comparison of their publications’ citation patterns to expected citation rates. This data can subsequently be used by the programs to assess productivity, to demonstrate the impact and reach of programmatic research within specific scientific fields and disciplines and to highlight the return on investment for their research expenditures.
For the last fifteen years, DOE R&D Accomplishments has been highlighting the outcomes of past research from DOE and predecessor agencies that have had a significant economic impact, have improved people’s lives or have been widely recognized as remarkable advances in science.
DOE R&D Accomplishments has over 100 feature pages with topics ranging from tiny atoms to the Big Bang and supernovae, from Archaea (the third branch of life) to RTGs (great to have if you’re a spacecraft), from a video game to a PET, from photosynthesis to superconductivity and much, much more. Learn more at OSTIblog.
Dr. Walter L. Warnick, OSTI Director since 1997, retired on January 3, 2014. At a ceremony at OSTI’s headquarters in Oak Ridge, TN, on December 10, he was feted by senior officials of DOE and DOE’s Office of Science, current and past OSTI colleagues and a number of partners and friends in the scientific and technical information STI management field. An OSTI conference room was named in Dr. Warnick's honor, he received a mantle clock as a retirement gift and Dr. Jeffrey Salmon, Deputy Director for Resource Management in the DOE Office of Science, presented him with the Secretary of Energy Exceptional Service Departure Award.
The citation for the Secretary’s award to Dr. Warnick was a wonderfully fitting coda to a remarkable career:
For “making the web work for science” and demonstrating that “science advances only when knowledge is shared,” this Secretary of Energy Exceptional Service Departure Award recognizes the contributions of Walter L. Warnick in providing ground-breaking public access to the Department’s R&D results. Dr. Warnick’s career includes 43 years of Federal service, 28 years as a member of the Senior Executive Service and 17 years as the Director of DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). As the OSTI Director, Dr. Warnick has been a pioneer in transforming public access to federally-funded R&D results, developing unique web products and search technology for multiple forms of scientific and technical information. With his federal workforce at OSTI, Dr. Warnick partnered with the private sector to develop federated search products to enable citizens to search across millions of pages of scientific information with a single query, both within and beyond DOE. Products such as Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org and the beta version of a National Library of Energy serve to virtually bring over 500 million pages of scientific information to citizens’ desktops. After leading the transformation of OSTI’s information collection and dissemination activities to a completely electronic environment in 2000, the use and visibility of the Department’s R&D results increased exponentially, as demonstrated by the 400 million annual transactions on OSTI web products. Dr. Warnick also developed the concept and model for DOE to satisfy public access requirements for scholarly publications resulting from DOE funding. DOE is grateful for his outstanding contributions and tireless efforts to advance science by accelerating access to scientific information.
In a farewell email to OSTI staff, Dr. Warnick wrote that he plans to “devote more time to family and grandchildren” – and hopes “to explore potential new challenges in our field.”
OSTI salutes Walt for his inspiring legacy – and wishes him all the best in retirement.
With the transition to SciTech Connect, the MARC records for the full-text documents formerly in the Information Bridge are still available as part of the SciTech Connect Full-text MARC Records. These records include all the records from SciTech Connect that contain links to freely available full text. The only change with the move from the Information Bridge to SciTech Connect is that the full-text records now also include multimedia files and datasets, reflecting SciTech Connect’s coverage of these additional information types.
Numerous university libraries have taken advantage of this service to increase the accessibility of DOE-supported research. The records are in MARC format, the record format used for loading bibliographic records into most library online catalogs. Libraries that have loaded records into their catalogs for all or parts of the SciTech Connect full-text collection have experienced significant increases in retrievals of DOE scientific and technical reports by their library users and rank among the top universities for downloads from OSTI. To request more information, contact us.
SciTech Connect provides a useful variation of full-text searching called In-Document Search, which lets you perform a search in the document and view where your search terms appear without having to open the document. When viewing a full citation with full text available, click on the In-Document Search tab in the upper right corner above the full-text link. The In-Document Search allows you to see where your original search term, or any other search term you choose, appears in the full text.
The In-Document Search will return each page containing your search term. The citation for each page will contain an image of the page plus a snippet of text containing the search term. If you want to view the text on the full page, you can select the “Preview Page” button and read the page without having to wait for the full document to download. Once in the preview, you will even have the option of viewing the previous or next page, should the text you want to read be split between pages. If you like what you find in the preview, you can open the full text or, if you are logged in to SciTech Connect, you can save the citation to My Library.
Reliance on fossil fuels, expanded transportation and deforestation have resulted in the accumulation of carbon dioxide or CO2 in our atmosphere. This excess CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate extremes. Carbon capture and long-term safe and secure storage (carbon sequestration) could play an important role in mitigating climate change. The Department of Energy’s carbon capture and storage research programs are making significant progress with carbon sequestration technology. This research community includes a network of federal, state and private sector regional partnerships and interagency, industrial and international programs. Read more at Dr. William Watson’s In the OSTI Collections: Carbon Sequestration and the DOE Science Showcase – Carbon Sequestration. Check out the DOE Science Showcase Archive to see other featured topics.
OSTIblog features the technology, services, people and policies that are crucial to OSTI’s role in increasing accessibility of DOE-sponsored research. Here are some of the most recent OSTIblogs: