Newsletter for Office of Scientific and Technical Information Newsletter

OSTI Conducting Pilots with National Labs, DOE-Funded Authors in Preparation for Launching Public Access Gateway to Scholarly Scientific Publications

As part of its preparations for launching a public access portal to scholarly scientific publications resulting from Department of Energy (DOE) research funding, the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is collaborating with a subset of DOE national laboratories and authors on pilot projects designed to help OSTI and members of the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) learn more about what will be entailed in collecting accepted manuscripts from DOE-funded authors. 

OSTI is developing the DOE public access gateway in response to a February 22, 2013, memorandum, "Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research," issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The OSTP memo called on federal science agencies that spend more than $100 million a year on research and development (R&D) to develop and implement public access plans for making accepted manuscripts and peer-reviewed scientific journal articles resulting from agency research investments publicly available in a timely fashion.

By statute, OSTI is the DOE office responsible for collecting, preserving, and disseminating scientific and technical information (STI) emanating from DOE R&D activities.  A DOE policy directive on “Scientific and Technical Information Management” requires DOE offices, contractors, and grantees “to ensure that STI is appropriately managed as part of the DOE mission to enable the advancement of scientific knowledge and technological innovation.”

As provided in the DOE directive, OSTI spearheads the DOE STIP, a collaboration of STI managers and technical information officers from across the DOE complex charged with identifying, collecting, archiving, 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.  Together, OSTI and the DOE STIP have a well-developed program in place to identify and provide access to DOE STI, including technical reports, patents, conference papers, theses/dissertations, technical software, books, and scientific multimedia, through a sophisticated submission system and a collection of search tools.

Now, OSTI and the DOE STIP are working together to develop and implement standard operating procedures for managing the intake of accepted manuscripts as a central element of DOE’s public access solution.  OSTI is conducting pilots with several DOE national laboratories to learn more about how authors interface with publishers’ article submission systems and when during those workflows accepted manuscripts are available. 

The scholarly publications process varies widely from publisher to publisher, and the sophistication of the systems continues to evolve.  Through pilots involving DOE-funded authors at participating labs, OSTI and the DOE STIP expect to increase their knowledge of manuscript submission practices, and that promises to facilitate implementation of public access to scholarly publications across the Department.

DOE’s implementation of public access will begin after the DOE Public Access Plan is finalized and approved – and once the beta version of the DOE public access portal that OSTI has been preparing is launched.  Please stay tuned.

The DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program: Raising the Bar for DOE R&D Results

Richland, WA, an area steeped in the history of the Manhattan Project and now home to one of the Department’s premier national laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was the setting for the 2014 DOE STIP Working Meeting, April 2-3.  STIP, led and coordinated by DOE OSTI, is a longstanding collaboration that works to ensure the results of DOE-funded research and other STI are managed, disseminated, and preserved.

2014 DOE STIP Working Meeting Attendees2014 DOE STIP Working Meeting AttendeesThis year’s STIP Working Meeting was hosted by Tomiann Parker, STI manager for PNNL, and was attended by STIP representatives from DOE offices, laboratories, and facilities across the complex.  Speakers included Dr. Jeffrey Salmon, Deputy Director for Resource Management in the DOE Office of Science; Brian Hitson, OSTI Acting Director; as well as STI managers and colleagues representing the DOE Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, DOE Oak Ridge Office, Ames Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and OSTI.  In addition to the two-day formal agenda, representatives participated in STIP orientation sessions and other special topic meetings.

The focus of the 2014 meeting was “Raising the Bar for DOE R&D Results,” a reflection of the growing emphasis on increasing public access to DOE science research and in response to the call from OSTP to federal science agencies to increase access to peer-reviewed scientific scholarly publications and scientific data in digital format.  Because of STIP and its dedicated representatives, the Department is well positioned to move forward on its public access plan presented to OSTP, and much of the discussion focused on this initiative.  In addition, several sites shared information on how they are enhancing STI submission practices to ensure processes are comprehensive and inclusive of all forms of STI, including controlled unclassified and classified information.  A growing resource of information on the public access initiative and information on other important STI topics will be available at the STIP homepage.  

The National Library of EnergyBeta: Cool Search Tool for Summer

Summer is the time of year that U.S. citizens might be in search of cool home energy savings. Plenty of results can be found on this topic and many other energy-related subjects using a search tool from DOE, the National Library of EnergyBeta (NLEBeta).

Users can search hundreds of webpages and 15 science-driven databases – a total of 25 million pages – at this virtual library.  Typing “cool home energy savings” into the basic search box will pull up over a thousand results ranging from full-text reports from SciTech Connect, such as this report on super energy effiicient design home evaluation, to websites such as the Home Energy Yardstick.

The recently refreshed NLEBeta homepage now features more prominent search and advanced search boxes.  It also offers a new option enabling users to search content by broad topic areas, including science and R&D; energy and technology for industry and homeowners; energy market information and analysis; and nuclear security and environmental management.  Resources are updated regularly, and new searchable website content and databases are added periodically in an effort to make the tool comprehensive across DOE’s broad mission areas.

In addition, NLEBeta now contains all of the DOE STI resources formerly included in Science Accelerator, which has been retired as part of OSTI’s initiative to streamline its product portfolio and advance public access to additional types of scientific and technical information.

NLEBeta integrates and makes searchable disparate and decentralized information collections from DOE, including DOE program offices; the National Nuclear Security Administration; the Energy Information Administration;  DOE staff offices;  DOE field/site offices; and DOE national laboratories, technology centers, and user facilities.  DOE program offices are the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Environmental Management, Fossil Energy, Indian Energy Policy and Programs, Legacy Management, Loan Programs, Nuclear Energy, and Science.

This gateway to information from across the DOE complex nationwide was developed by OSTI to make it easy for U.S. citizens to find and access information about the Department, without knowing DOE’s organizational structure.

Search Tip: National Library of EnergyBeta New Search

When you are reviewing search results from NLEBeta and decide you would like to modify your search, use the “New Search” link in the upper right corner.  This will take you to the Advanced Search screen where your previous search will be retained along with any selection of resources to be searched.

NLEBeta now allows users to select one of four broad topics for their search.  The Advanced Search screen allows users to select the resources they want to search or deselect those they do not want to search.  Selecting “New Search” on the results screen will allow refining a previous search or entering a new term without having to reselect the resources already chosen.

Trying to modify a search by using the back arrow or Home button will require reinputting your search terms and/or reselecting the resources to be searched.  The "New Search" option saves having to repeat steps.  In this sample search of "biomass feedstocks", only the Science and R&D resources were selected to be searched.  From the results screen, select "New Search" to go to the advanced search screen where "biomass feedstocks" has been retained in the search box, along with the selection of science and R&D resources to be searched.

OSTI Products Highlighted in DOE Open Government Plan 3.0

OSTI has helped pioneer open government and advance the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration since it was established in 1947.

OSTI grew out of the post-World War II initiative to make the declassified scientific research of the Manhattan Project as freely available to the public as possible, and throughout its 67-year history, OSTI has built large collections of energy-related STI emanating primarily from the work of DOE and its predecessor agencies.  Today OSTI makes these STI collections available through sophisticated web products, and its R&D results are accessed more than 400 million times annually.

OSTI’s contributions to making STI accessible were recognized by DOE in its latest Open Government Plan, prepared in response to President Obama’s January 2009 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government that called on agencies to provide “an unprecedented level of openness in government.”

The DOE Open Government Plan 3.0, published June 1, 2014, includes write-ups about four OSTI products.  Featured as new collaboration initiatives were SciTech Connect, OSTI’s primary repository for DOE science, technology, and engineering research information (its launch was reported in the April/May 2013 Newsletter), and the NLEBeta, a gateway to information (including STI) across the DOE complex (the subject of an article above in this issue).

The latest DOE Open Government Plan also provides updates on two OSTI products mentioned in previous DOE plans: ScienceCinema, a collection of multimedia videos highlighting DOE’s scientific research (its recent refresh is covered below); and, an OSTI-hosted portal offering science resources from more than 70 nations around the world (covered in the July/August 2013 Newsletter).

“With our tradition of science and research,” Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz wrote in the introduction to the DOE Open Government Plan 3.0, “the Department of Energy has long seen the benefits of providing access to information and encouraging collaboration.  Over the past few years, we’ve made great strides in harnessing new technologies and tools to advance these goals.”

OSTI is committed to helping DOE continue to fulfill the vision of the President’s open government initiative.

ScienceCinema Has a New Look

ScienceCinema has a fresh new look.  What hasn’t changed is the coverage of over 3,400 videos and audio files produced by DOE laboratories and other research facilities, with audio indexing and speech recognition technology.  Users can search for specific words and phrases, and precise snippets of the video where the search term was spoken will appear along with a timeline.  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. 

ScienceCinema delivers the precision searching already common in text-based databases.  The new version of ScienceCinema was released in May 2014 with a revamped user interface that conforms to specifications provided in other OSTI products such as SciTech Connect and DOepatents

OSTI and Social Media: A Great Way to “Share” DOE STI

DOE supports the use of social media as an avenue to uphold “open government principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration,” expand the conversation on energy issues, and better communicate with the next generation of researchers.  OSTI regularly shares information through interactive and user-driven social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  OSTI makes social media posts not only about its scientific and technical information (STI) collections and search tools, but also retweets and shares STI-related posts from other DOE program offices and across the 17 DOE national laboratories.

Since its inception in 2008, the OSTIgov Twitter account has grown steadily and been placed on numerous Twitter lists.  OSTI’s Twitter account supports OSTI homepage postings, product launches, and STI advances. 

OSTI's Facebook page also debuted in 2008 as part of a social media initiative enhancing the reach of DOE STI.  Posts seen by thousands who have liked the OSTI page provide updates and helpful information for OSTI products and services, as well as highlighting current research from DOE programs and national laboratories.

Followers of OSTI’s Google+ page can separate their interests into distinct groups in one interface through Circles.  Users who have OSTI’s Google+ presence in Circles are from all over the world and include such organizations as the U.S. News STEM Solutions, ScienceAlert, and the DOE national laboratories. 

OpenNet Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, DOE introduced OpenNet, a website to improve public access to declassified documents.  This website was created in response to President Clinton’s directive for federal agencies to dramatically increase the public’s access to information about its government.

Prior to OpenNet, no online database of bibliographic information concerning such document declassification was maintained at the national level.  Unless the requester publicized the fact that a specific document was released, other researchers or organizations were unlikely to be aware of the fact, and requests and organizational searches for the same documents occurred.

OpenNet began with bibliographic citations for over a quarter million documents.  Now, OpenNet provides easy, timely access to over 485,000 bibliographic references and 140,000 full-text documents, including information declassified in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.  OpenNet is updated regularly as more information becomes available.

OpenNet is supported by the DOE Office of Classification and hosted by OSTI on a cost-reimbursable basis.  Read about the key events and documents that have contributed to the success of OpenNet and address any questions or comments to

Meet Tim Byrne

Tim ByrneTim ByrneTim Byrne is OSTI’s Senior Outreach Librarian and is responsible for communications between OSTI and librarians regarding DOE scientific and technical information (STI) and the OSTI products that make this information publicly accessible, as well as keeping OSTI aware of the needs and concerns of the library community.  He has made a variety of presentations about OSTI to library groups and associations, and he has conducted numerous workshops and webinars covering OSTI search tools.  As product manager of the SciTech Connect full-text MARC records, he works to get these records loaded into university library catalogs to increase access to DOE STI. He is also OSTI’s social media lead.  

Prior to coming to OSTI in 2007, Tim was the head of the Government Publications Library at the University of Colorado.  He served on the Government Printing Office’s Depository Library Council and was elected chair for the last year of his term.  He has long been active and held numerous positions in the American Library Association.  In 2011, he was recipient of the American Library Association Government Documents Round Table's James Bennett Childs Award for Distinguished Contributions to Documents Librarianship.

What Is Explore by Subject at SciTech Connect?

SciTech Connect has a feature that allows users to drill into the contents of the database without having to key in any search terms.  Explore by Subject presents fourteen broad topic areas from which to choose.  Selecting one of these will show the total number of matching records for that topic area.  As this is going to be a fairly large number, the left-hand column allows for narrowing the topic by selecting one of the subjects that fall under this topic area.  Choosing from the list will again show the number of records for that subject with the left-hand column presenting a new array of even more specific terms.  Fine-tuning the search by picking one of these terms will display the records for that term and this time the left-hand column will display a choice of narrower, broader, and related terms.  Selecting one of these terms lets users drill deep into SciTech Connect without having to be familiar with the proper terminology or even the proper spelling.  For more information, check out the Explore by Subject video tutorial available on the SciTech homepage. 

DOE Science Showcase: Biofuels

Image credit: Warren Gretz, NRELImage credit: Warren Gretz, NRELBiofuels are biomass or organic material converted to liquid or gaseous fuels such as ethanol, methanol, methane, and hydrogen.  The expanded use of biofuels offers an array of benefits for our energy security, economic growth, and environment.  DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office collaborates with industry, national laboratories, and other stakeholders to transform the nation’s renewable biomass resources into cost-competitive high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower.  Work is underway to develop emerging production technologies beyond bench-scale to pre-commercial demonstration scale, culminating in the construction of pioneer biofuels production plants.  Read more in Dr. William Watson’s In the OSTI Collections: Biofuels and the DOE Science Showcase – Biofuels. Check out the DOE Science Showcase Archive to see other featured topics.

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OSTI Mission: Advancing science and sustaining technological creativity by making R&D findings available
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