The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) plays an integral role in ensuring transparency and access to the results of the Department of Energy’s scientific efforts – and such transparency and access help assure DOE’s scientific integrity, according to a policy statement recently issued by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
“Science and technology are the foundation of all Department of Energy activities…,” the Secretarial Policy Statement on Scientific Integrity (https://www.directives.doe.gov/references/secretarial_policy_statement_on_scientific_integrity/view) opens. “The Department’s mission relies on objective, reliable, accurate, and accessible scientific and technical information.” And OSTI addresses the agency’s responsibilities to collect, preserve and disseminate scientific and technical information emanating from the Department’s research and development activities.
“In December 2010,” Secretary Chu wrote in a May 11 memo to DOE employees, “the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House issued a memorandum asking all agencies to establish a scientific integrity policy. In response to this call, I recently signed the Secretarial Policy Statement on Scientific Integrity for the Department of Energy applicable to all DOE Federal employees. This policy builds on the Department’s existing policies and best practices to support a culture of scientific integrity.”
“DOE will facilitate the free flow of scientific and technological information,” the policy statement provides, “consistent with standards for treatment of classified, sensitive, private, and proprietary information. Transparency and accessibility of scientific and technological information support the continued advancement of a sound science and technology base to help guide and inform the nation’s critical public policy decisions; advance the national, economic and energy security of the U.S.; facilitate the accomplishment of DOE mission objectives; and maximize the public value of such efforts.”
The Secretarial Policy Statement on Scientific Integrity also indicates that, “[c]onsistent with the Administration’s Open Government Initiative, the Department will use its website and the resources of its Office of Scientific and Technical Information to help make its research findings more widely available to the public.”
The policy statement’s acknowledgment of OSTI’s role in ensuring scientific integrity follows earlier recognition of OSTI and its key functions in the 2010 and 2012 DOE Open Government Plans, the 2011 DOE Strategic Plan and the 2011 Report on the First Quadrennial Technology Review.
Whether in print or pixel, OSTI long has been committed to ensuring appropriate and ready access to government research. For more than 60 years, OSTI has been a pioneer in open government. OSTI’s latest contributions to making scientific and technical information accessible have been recognized in the Department of Energy’s Open Government Plans 1.0 and 2.0. (http://energy.gov/downloads/finaldoeogpver1-2b07july2010pdf,http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/EnergyDepartmentOpenGovPlan2.0.pdf)
One of the four goals of the 2011 DOE Strategic Plan (DOE_2011-Strategic-Plan_Medium-Resolution_Print-Quality.pdf) is “management and operational excellence,” and a key objective is to “assure excellence in R&D management.” OSTI’s mandate is spelled out in a section headlined “Disseminate our Results”: “Our success should be measured not when a project is completed or an experiment concluded, but when scientific and technical information is disseminated. 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.”
The 2011 DOE Report on the First Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR)
(http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/QTR_report.pdf) also mentions how OSTI’s collection and dissemination of scientific and technical information serves to advance key energy technologies. “Pre-competitive R&D and fundamental engineering research creates a depth of knowledge about new and incumbent energy technologies, harnessing the capability of national laboratories and universities and strengthening those capabilities in our private sector partners,” the QTR notes. “Informational activities aim for maximal dissemination of high-quality information needed by decision makers in the public and private sectors….”
OSTI provides access to scientific and technical information using web-based searchable databases, offering ever-expanding sources of R&D information to DOE, the research community and the science-attentive public. The databases offer search simplicity as well as advanced capabilities, such as customized alerts, results displayed in relevance rank and downloadable search results for a broad array of scientific information related to DOE missions.
OSTI’s Science Accelerator (http://www.scienceaccelerator.gov/), integrates 11 key DOE resources covering a range of R&D results including major R&D accomplishments, DOE patents, recent research and scientific videos of interest to DOE, reports, citations, eprints, and more.
OSTI works with DOE program offices, field offices, national labs, and grantees to acquire the scientific and technical information from departmental R&D. Through OSTI web products, these R&D results are accessed nearly 300 million times annually.
Peter M. Lincoln is Senior Advisor in the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information.