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Frequently Asked Questions


General FAQs


What is DOE Data Explorer?

The DOE Data Explorer (DDE) is the Office of Scientific and Technical Information's (OSTI) search tool for finding DOE-funded, publicly available, scientific data submitted by data centers, repositories, and other organizations funded by the Department. DDE includes data Project, data Collection, and individual Dataset records. The data themselves reside at national laboratories, data centers, user facilities, colleges and universities, or other websites.


What does DDE contain?
DDE has three types of data records: data Projects, data Collections, and Datasets. A data Project is a scientific research group, data center, user facility, or other DOE-funded endeavor that is creating research data. A data Collection is a package of related datasets with a DOI for the entire collection. A Dataset is a single instance of data whose boundaries have been defined by the data submitter, with a DOI associated. The data themselves reside at national laboratories, data centers, user facilities, colleges and universities, or other websites.

These three 'types' of records represent the various 'levels' that occur during data creation and use, allowing you to search and discover data through the natural hierarchical relationships that exist between data products.

DDE record type hierarchy

Where do the individual datasets come from? How do they get into DDE?

Individual dataset citations are directly submitted by the organization hosting the data or the creator/author/PI. Bibliographic information about datasets can be submitted to OSTI through the Announcement Notice 241.6 on the E-Link website or through a web service using an Application Programming Interface (API). See DDE's API Documentation for full details. Note that OSTI is not a data repository and does not host the data; it is hosted in a data repository chosen by the data creator(s).


Does DDE host the Datasets?

No, DDE is not a data repository. The data found in DDE reside at national laboratories, data centers, user facilities, colleges and universities, or other websites as determined by the data creator(s). Access to the data is available via a DOI link from the results page or an individual citation page in DDE.


Are Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) assigned to data Collections or individual Datasets in DDE?

Yes. OSTI is a member of and registering agency for DataCite. 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. As a DataCite member, OSTI has the authority to assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to datasets that are submitted by DOE and its contractors or grantees. The assigning and registration of a DOI for every dataset submitted is a free service provided by OSTI to aid in citation, discovery, retrieval, and reuse of DOE-funded datasets and data collections. See the information about DOE Data ID Service for full details.



How do I search DOE Data Explorer?

DDE search works much like a basic Google search, where you can enter your terms into the basic search box to retrieve results. You can search for a single term or a phrase by putting it in "double quotes." Additionally, DDE supports Boolean and proximity operators, wildcards, and parentheses for grouping.

Boolean Operators

DDE recognizes the operators AND, OR, and NOT.

Example: A search for water AND "climate change" will return results that include both the term water and the phrase climate change.

Example: A search for water OR "climate change" will return results that include either the term water or the phrase climate change.

Example: A search for water NOT "climate change" will return results that include the term water but not the phrase climate change.

+ and - allow for a search to either be required or forbidden in the search results.

Example: A search for energy +water will return results that include the term energy and also include the term water.

Example: A search for energy -water will return results that include the term energy but not the term water.

Proximity Operators

Example: "nuclear energy"~3 will return results where nuclear and energy are within three words of each other in the bibliographic record.

Parentheses for Grouping

Example: A search for water AND ("climate change" OR energy) will return results that include both the term water and either the phrase climate change or the term energy.


What can the "Explore" feature do for me and how do I use it?

"Explore" allows you to browse Projects, Collections, or Datasets. By selecting one of the product types you will be able to browse a full results list of that type.


How do I use the Advanced Search?

The advanced search will allow you to perform more complex searches, offering you a number of fields, such as Title, Author, Identifier Numbers, or Publication Date to help you refine your search results.

All Fields
Searches all bibliographic data.
Title
Searches titles.
Creator/Author
Searches all author or creator names, including ORCID if available.
Dataset Type
Allows you to filter your results by Dataset type. For an explanation of the different Dataset types, see "How do the eight "Dataset types" fit into this picture and what do they include?"
Website
Searches the URL or DOI where the data resides.
Subject
Searches both the standardized subject categories and keywords associated with the data.
Identifier Numbers
Searches for all identifying numbers, including DOE contract number, report number, non-DOE contract/award numbers, DOI, related identifying numbers, or associated data products.
Research Org
Searches by the name(s) of the organization(s) that was funded and performed the research producing the data.
Sponsoring Org
Searches the name(s) of the DOE program office(s) that provided the funding for the research producing the data.
Collaborations
Searches the name(s) of any collaborating organization that contributed to the research producing the data.
Publication Date
Searches for data that were published within a specified timeframe. Select the starting date or ending date from the drop down calendar OR type MM/DD/YYYY, e.g. 01/01/2014.

Example:

Publication from: 01/01/2014 retrieves all data published on or after 1/1/2014.

Publication to: 01/01/2014 retrieves all data published on or before 1/1/2014.


How do the eight "Dataset types" fit into this picture and what do they include?

These Dataset types describe the main content of a Dataset. The TYPE field on the Advanced Search page opens a picklist with all eight Dataset types. Choose one to limit your search to that particular type only.

Animations/Simulations
Animations are often very short, silent, generated by data points. Simulations normally output from computer model. Software model itself may be part of collection or stand as its own product. Input data files may or may not be included.
Figures/Plots
Links to published papers in which some of this material appeared may be present, but the figures and plots have been listed separately in recognition of their own importance. May also be a "data plotting" tool. Data points can be entered or queried; specialized interface provides the data plot.
Genome/Genetics Data
Gene Sequences, taxonomies, images or figures, software.
Interactive Data Maps
May be GIS data, a GIS database, or the interactive interface based on and changing with the underlying data, or combination of all. Interactive resources that behave in similar way but are based on non-geographic data also fall in this type, such as Chart of Nuclides from NNDC.
Multimedia
Videos documenting (showing) experiments or results.
Numeric Data
Primary content expressed in numbers; all other content is secondary and supporting. May be in tables, spreadsheets, mathematical equations. Often is binary monitoring data pulled from sensors.
Specialized Mix
Collection designed to be a specialized mixture of data and information types. It has structure, organization, and the way the information is put together is what gives it meaning. The information often does not exist elsewhere except in pieces. May work when data fits none of these categories comfortably.
Still Images or Photos
Images/photos of cells, molecules, structures of nanomaterials, etc., often taken with electron microscopes. Images/photos from particle collisions, astronomy, observation flights, etc.

What information is found in the full record in DDE?

The information in the full record is bibliographic metadata unique to, and descriptive of, a specific data record. Basic bibliographic metadata includes the title, creator(s), description, and publication date. This metadata improves online search and retrieval, and helps ensure preservation of the data. Below is a list of metadata that OSTI collects and that may be displayed in DDE, with those that can be specifically searched using the advanced search fields indicated with an asterisk(*).

Title*- the title of the data

Description- summary of the data

Creator(s)/Author(s)*- includes first and last name of the main researchers involved in producing the data, may include middle name/initial, email address, ORCID, or institutional affiliation

Project Lead*- includes first and last name of the lead on a data Project, may include middle name/initial, email address, ORCID, or institutional affiliation. Project Lead can be specifically searched in the Creator/Author advanced search field.

Publication Date*- the date the data was or will be made publicly available

DOE Contract Number*- the DOE contract number under which the data was produced. DOE Contract Number can be specifically searched in the Identifier Numbers advanced search field.

Related Identifiers*- other documents, datasets, or software applications that relate to the data. Related Identifiers can be specifically searched in the Identifier Numbers advanced search field.

Other Identifying Numbers*- any unique string that may also identify the data. These can include accession numbers, report numbers, experiment numbers, etc.

Product Type- describes the hierarchical status of the data, either data Project, Collection, or Dataset

Dataset Type*- describes the main content of the Dataset

Research Org(s)*- the name(s) of the organization(s) that was funded and performed the research that led to the data

Sponsoring Org(s)*- the name(s) of the DOE program office(s) that provided the funding for the research that led to the data

Collaborations*- the name(s) of a research/project collaboration, company, institution, or organization the creator(s) wishes to acknowledge that are NOT a creator affiliation, originating research organization, or funding organization

Subject*- words or phrases that describe the data. This includes subject categories picked from a standardized authority list or keywords assigned to the data by the data creator(s)

Geolocation- the spatial region or named place where the data was gathered or about which the data is focused

OSTI Identifier*- unique identifier assigned by OSTI upon data submission. OSTI Identifier can be specifically searched in the Identifier Numbers advanced search field.

DOI*- a unique persistent identifier that references a digital object and provides long-term access; DOIs remain stable even if the underlying address or URL for the content changes. DOI can be specifically searched in the Identifier Numbers advanced search field.

Website*- the URL or DOI where the data resides


Can I sort or filter my results?

Yes, on the results screen there are filter options depending on product type. For data Projects you can filter by research organization; for data Collections you can filter by creator, research organization, Project, or publication year; for Datasets you can filter by creator, research organization, Project, or publication year. Sort options on the results page include sorting by relevance or publication date.


Can I save or download the results of a search?

Yes, you can save the bibliographic/metadata information for a set of results as an Excel, CSV, or XML file from the results screen.

From an individual bibliographic/metadata details page you can export the metadata to Endnote or save it in RIS, Excel, CSV, or XML format. You also have the option to generate a citation for the record in various formats, including MLA, APA, Chicago, and Bibtex.


How can I view the details about a data Project/Collection/Dataset?

By clicking the title of the Project/Collection/Dataset in the results list you will be directed to the record, providing bibliographic information, data accessibility options, as well as citation format and metadata export options.


How can I view a data Project/Collection associated with a particular dataset?

From the Dataset details page you can view the associated data Project or data Collection(s) by using the tab options below the Dataset title.


How can I access a dataset from DDE?

Clicking the DOI link either from the results screen or from the detailed citation page will direct you to the location in which the data creator is hosting the data.


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