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Accelerating Science by Accelerating
the Sharing of Knowledge
Accelerating Science by Accelerating the Sharing of KnowledgeWalter L. Warnick, Ph.D.
Office of Scientific & Technical Information
May 5, 2010
Energy Security Promoting America’s energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy
Nuclear Security Ensuring America’s nuclear security
Scientific Discovery and Innovation Strengthening U.S. scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and improving quality of life through innovations in science and technology
Environmental Responsibility Protecting the environment by providing a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production
Management Excellence Enabling the mission through sound management
Department of Energy
OSTI Placement in the Department
OSTI has a corporate role in DOE, related to R&D, to advance science and technology.
Finally, the understanding in the Department from the Secretary through Under Secretaries, to Pat Dehmer, George Malosh, and myself that the M&O relationship is critical and must be nurtured. For us, this means, especially as it applies to the DOE Order, that we have the responsibility to articulate what the labs are being asked accomplished and not how they are to accomplish it.
STI Foundation in DOE
From the beginning, dissemination of STI has been a foundational mission of the Department.
OSTI responsibility has been established in the:
• Atomic Energy Acts of 1946 and 1954
• Energy Reorganization Act of 1974
• Department of Energy Act of 1977
• Energy Policy Act of 2005
• America COMPETES Act of 2007
The methods & customers have changed totally, but the mission remains the same.
-- And from its beginning over 60 years ago, OSTI has performed a variety of STI activities on behalf of the Department and its predecessor agencies
-- Not only is the scientific and technical legacy of the Department preserved at OSTI, but also OSTI fulfills a corporate function as stated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005
Energy Policy Act of 2005 Called Out OSTI
“The Secretary, through the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, shall maintain within the Department publicly available collections of scientific and technical information resulting from research, development, demonstration, and commercial applications activities supported by the Department.”
-- As you will see during the course of your two day stay here in Oak Ridge, OSTI is in a unique position to help fulfill the Department’s STI responsibilities
The OSTI Corollary
Premise: Science advances only if knowledge is shared
Corollary: Accelerating the sharing of scientific knowledge accelerates the advancement of science Accelerating the advancement of science benefits DOE researchers, the Nation, and the world
-- OSTI works on the premise that speeding and sharing knowledge will accelerate the advancement of science and thus accelerate benefits to DOE researchers, the Nation, and the world
-- OSTI continually seeks to expose more of the world’s STI to researchers and the public with the belief that this approach will help transform our understanding of energy and matter, and assist our researchers advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States
“establish and maintain a central source of information …”
“disseminate scientific, technical, and practical information …”
“The Secretary, through OSTI, shall maintain publicly available collections of scientific and technical information …”
The “Why” - Historical
“To provide that free interchange of ideas and criticism which is essential to scientific and industrial progress and public understanding and to enlarge the fund of technical information”
“The government should accept new responsibilities for promoting the flow of new scientific knowledge …”
(Vannevar Bush to President Truman, 1945)
1. The Research Division of the District is making plans for a complete and authoritative scientific record of all research work performed by Manhattan District contractors.
The “Why” – Current Day
“My Administration will … disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.”
Times Have Changed
Responsibilities Remain the Same
But the Technologies and the Execution Are Dramatically Different
-- Clearly, times have changed, but OSTI still has many of the same responsibilities. However, the technologies and the way in which we execute our responsibilities have changed dramatically.
-- To give you some idea of how much things have changed, we need only compare data from a few years ago.
-- You can see the many web-enabled milestones that have been pioneered by OSTI.
-- In 1993, OSTI distributed 5 million pieces of paper/microfiche. Last year, we had more than 84 million customer transactions.
-- For explanation purposes, OSTI considers a customer transaction to occur when a user of an OSTI system is presented with information he/she did not have before. Such information can take the form of a hit list produced by the user's search, or it can take the form of a bibliographic record or full text document accessed via clicking on an item in a hit list.
-- These changes have primarily been the result of OSTI’s conversion from delivering STI via traditional media (e.g., paper, microfiche) to using electronic, web-centric delivery systems
-- Using the mantra of better, faster, cheaper, we feel that our program is a resounding success—BUT—We know times are changing--AND we know we have to continue to change with them.
Capitalizing on web technology has transformed OSTI and its ability to achieve its statutory mission. In the 15 years since the web first emerged as a serious communication tool, the Department's communication of R&D information has evolved to the point that the web is the dominant means by which science knowledge is disseminated.
-- Simply having a web presence is not sufficient; it requires constant adaptation to user expectations and technological advances. With modest resources, particularly when compared to our counterparts in other agencies, OSTI has been a leader in pioneering web technologies, such as federated searching. The ultimate goal is to continuously improve in the execution of our mission to get mileage out of DOE R&D, and in order to do that, we need feedback.
-- An affordable way to assess whether a website or system is achieving its goals is to gather extensive traffic data. We will talk more about this web traffic in a few minutes.
Meeting Open Gov Goals
OSTI provided 17 tools and services to Data.gov, including XML scientific dataset services, scientific search widgets, and science-related RSS feeds
DOE STI = “High Value” Data Sets
Five data sets identified by DOE as “high value” data sets – including DOE R&D results that OSTI is making accessible, searchable, findable, usable.
• Information Bridge
• DOE R&D Project Summaries
• Conference Papers & Proceedings
• Energy Citations Database
DOE Open Government Plan Issued April 7
Cass Sunstein, head of OIRA at OMB, said, having read all 30 plans, three of them stuck out as the best - including DOE's, that it was "spectacular, off the charts good.“
The DOE plan includes a number of OSTI initiatives to enhance transparency of DOE R&D results.
Launched on Earth Day!
DOE Green Energy Portal
Taking Advantage of Technology
• We’re in an era of transformational technology
• We’ve been constantly challenged to adapt & adopt
• We’ve been early adopters
• We’ve found it helpful to advance web technologies in niche areas important to our mission
There’s no roadmap!
-- As you will hear in subsequent presentations, OSTI continues to pursue new transformational technologies and innovative approaches to accomplish its mission. Initiatives such as
-- Federated Searching
-- Site Map Protocol Development with Google and Yahoo
-- And an ongoing multimedia indexing project with Microsoft are some examples of OSTI innovation.
New Age of Digital Delivery
• Enables more robust products performing in new and different ways
• Permits ability to engage customers with heretofore unprecedented levels of interactivity
So, this new age of digital delivery let’s us have:
-- more robust products – that perform in different ways
-- the ability for us to engage customers in new and more direct ways
I’d like to transition now to talk about how OSTI has responded to change.
-- A previous Board of Visitors review suggested that OSTI had a confusing array of too many products and suggested OSTI eliminate/consolidate.
-- OSTI then spent some time attempting to eliminate products, but customers who had come to heavily rely on those products protested.
-- After a few stops and starts, and knowing that the feedback of the BOV was sound, we had to find an alternative!
Types of STI Required Distinct Tools
DOE research community produces many types of scientific and technical information, each of which has its own unique characteristics and life cycle
As a consequence, OSTI set out to create new web-based tools for each type of STI and make it efficiently accessible to users
As I mentioned, scientific and technical information resulting from the Department’s diverse research and development efforts takes many forms. Technical reports, e-prints, conference papers, are but a few examples of the types of the types of STI produced.
Each of these of these types of STI has its own unique characteristics and life cycle and as a result OSTI must frequently create distinct tools to virtually collect each type and make it accessible to users.
Progression of OSTI Products
Information Bridge -- Our first priority, to make R&D technical reports full-text searchable, freely available online.
Other web tools were developed to uniquely address each type of STI and the manner in which they were published. FOR EXAMPLE:
E-Print Network -- Another unique STI product: E-Print Network – Created to address researchers’ self-published STI.
THEN, a new challenge emerged: Helping researchers sort through the products to get the most relevant results quickly.
Examples of some of the products OSTI has developed to accomplish this are:
Information Bridge which contains over 210,000 searchable full text documents and bibliographic citations to the DOE report literature. IB contains unclassified/unlimited information, and roughly three quarters of the STI in the Information Bridge is technical reports; however, other types such as books, theses, dissertations, are included. This is OSTI’s primary full-text product and accounts for 60% of all our full text downloads.
The E-Print Network searches over 5 million documents contained in more than 32 thousand separate websites as well as over 60 databases on energy research. This product also provides links to more than 3,000 scientific societies.
Our Science Conference Proceedings product is a distributed portal providing access to science and technology conference proceedings and conference papers from a number of authoritative sites—largely national labs and professional societies—whose areas of interest in the physical sciences and technology intersect with those of the Department.
Another example, the DOE Research and Development Project Summaries, includes summaries of energy-related scientific projects performed since 1995 at DOE laboratories and research facilities.
These are just a few examples. There are others. And OSTI needed a way to make it easy for users to search this wide variety of scientific and technical information without having to know or learn which data are located where.
Science Accelerator was the answer.
The Solution: Federated Searchwww.ScienceAccelerator.gov
Science Accelerator searches via a single query:
• DOE research and development (R&D) projects and programs,
• Descriptions of R&D projects under way or recently completed,
• Major R&D accomplishments, and
• Recent research of interest to DOE.
Federated Search technology facilitates searching multiple information resources in parallel.
• You need not know ahead of time which resource might have the information you seek.
• You are not limited to searching one resource at a time.
Collaboration: CENDI Is a Model
Transparency and Open Government
Government should be collaborative.
Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.
OSTI’s Ongoing Collaborative Efforts
Collaborations are valued as a means to maximize opportunities and increase access to R&D information at various levels:
• Within DOE
• Across U.S. government
• With industry
ScienceEducation.gov Supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education for America
• Begun as a DOE initiative, OSTI partnered with sister organization, the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS)
• Broadened project to include other agencies Beta Version opened December 2009
• Provides novel single-query search of STEM education materials from six agencies.
• Development of grade stratification by an SBIR awardee is being assessed as one component
• Open platform used, inviting participation by teachers to comment, review, and tag resources
• Modeled after Science.gov in terms of operation, governance, and search capabilities
Supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education for America
Two current examples:
WorldWideScience.org -- Multilingual Federated Search, Multilingual WorldWideScience.org
Multimedia Search and Retrieval “SciencePix” pilot project
Science Advances Only If Knowledge Is Shared
“If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton
OSTI Corollary 1
Scientific discovery can be accelerated by accelerating access to scientific information.
We now are introducing…
OSTI Corollary 2
Multilingual translations of science will further accelerate scientific discovery.
The case for Multilingual WorldWideScience.org
Here’s how it will work…
1. A Chinese scientist submits a query in Chinese to Multilingual WorldWideScience.org.
2. WWS.org uses Microsoft to translate the Chinese query into individual languages of source databases (English, French, Portuguese, Russian, etc.)
3. Multilingual WWS.org sends the translated queries to corresponding databases, which search their contents and return results in native languages.
4. WWS.org uses Microsoft to translate native language results into Chinese and presents results to the user in relevance-ranked order.
Conversely, an English-speaking user could have a query translated into languages of non-English databases and then get results back in English.
Key Changes/Impacts in Internet Era
• Increased use/visibility of DOE R&D: from 1995 to 2009, web transactions increase from 300,000 to 87,000,000 – a 28,900% increase.
• Customer base extends beyond librarians, directly to scientists and science-attentive public.
• Federated searching opens science’s “deep web,” where Google and other search engines are not reaching.