Cheers of celebration erupted in March 2015 as the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma- Ray Observatory was formally inaugurated on the slopes of the Sierra Negra volcano in the State of Puebla, Mexico. The inaugural ceremony marked the completion of HAWC, the latest tool for mapping the northern sky and studying the universe’s violent explosions of supernovae, which are neutron star collisions and active galactic nuclei that produce high-energy gamma rays and cosmic rays that travel large distances, making it possible to see objects and events far outside our galaxy.
This extraordinary observatory uses a unique detection technique that differs from the classical astronomical design of mirrors, lenses, and antennae. From its perch on top of the highest accessible peak in Mexico, HAWC observes TeV gamma rays and cosmic rays with an instantaneous aperture that covers more than 15% of the sky. The detector is exposed to two-thirds of the sky during a 24-hour period. The observatory's ability to operate continuously and its location at 14,000 feet above sea level allow HAWC to observe the highest energy gamma rays arriving anywhere within its field of view.
The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) became a member of and a registering agency for DataCite in 2011—making the Department of Energy the first U.S. federal agency to assign digital object identifiers (DOIs) to data through OSTI’s Data ID Service. DataCite is an international organization that supports data visibility, ease of data citation in scholarly publications, data preservation and future re-use, and data access and retrievability.
Through the OSTI Data ID Service, DOIs are assigned to research datasets and then registered with DataCite to establish persistence and aid in citation, discovery, and retrieval. The assignment and registration of a DOI is a free service for DOE researchers to enhance the management of this increasingly important resource. Citations to these datasets are then made broadly available in OSTI databases such as DOE Data Explorer and SciTech Connect and in resources such as Science.gov and WorldWideScience.org. They are also indexed by commercial search engines like Google and Bing.
For science agencies, access to federally funded research is a key part of our mission. And the very first requirement for federal agency public access plans directed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was that the plans must encompass “a strategy for leveraging existing archives, where appropriate, and fostering public-private partnerships with scientific journals relevant to the agency’s research [emphasis added].” This 2013 OSTP memo is replete with calls for public-private partnerships. When it comes to the key issue of repositories, for example, agencies are told that “[r]epositories could be maintained by the Federal agency funding the research, through an arrangement with other Federal agencies, or through other parties working in partnership with the agency including, but not limited to, scholarly and professional associations, publishers, and libraries [emphasis added].” Under the section on “Objectives for Public Access to Scientific Publications,” the OSTP memo states that agency plans “shall …[e]ncourage public-private collaboration to: maximize the potential for interoperability between public and private platforms and creative reuse to enhance value to all stakeholders, avoid unnecessary duplication of existing mechanisms, maximize the impact of the Federal research investment, and otherwise assist with implementation of the agency plan [emphasis added].” And public-private partnerships are also called out in the memo’s section on data management plans.
The re-organization is the culmination of a year during which OSTI took steps to re-focus and re-balance our operations by devoting more resources to collecting and preserving DOE STI and to providing comprehensive access to the results of DOE R&D investments. At the same time, we streamlined our portfolio of science search tools to make it easier to find DOE’s R&D results. In August, DOE became the first federal science agency to issue a public access plan for scholarly scientific publications in response to a February 2013 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directive, and OSTI launched DOE PAGESBeta, a beta portal to journal articles and accepted manuscripts resulting from DOE-funded research. On October 1, we issued the OSTI 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, a roadmap for working to ensure its collections and portals reflect the complete R&D output of DOE.
As Spring 2015 rolls around, it’s time to mark a momentous occasion in the history of SciTech Connect: it’s turning TWO!
SciTech Connect is a publicly available database of bibliographic citations for energy-related scientific and technical information (STI), including technical reports, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia, and data information. Launched in March 2013 by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), SciTech Connect incorporated the contents of two of the most popular core DOE collections, DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, and employed an innovative semantic search tool and updated interface to enable scientists, researchers, and the public to retrieve more relevant information. SciTech Connect has emerged as a go-to resource, becoming OSTI’s most-visited repository for DOE science, technology, and engineering research information. Currently, it offers users over 2.7 million citations, including 400,000 full-text documents and nearly 1.5 million journal article citations, 240,000 of which have digital object identifiers (DOIs) with links to publishers’ websites.
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