About Our Newsletter
OSTI is the DOE office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored R&D results, both through OSTI search tools and through other other commonly used search engines. We hope this newsletter broadens public awareness of the scientific and technical information we provide and how best to use our products and services.
OSTI – A Young 70
Compared to some of its venerable counterparts in other agencies – e.g., the National Library of Medicine (founded in 1836) and the National Agricultural Library (founded in 1862) – and the Library of Congress, established in 1800, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is a relative babe in the woods in reaching our 70th anniversary in 2017. We take pride in OSTI’s contributions to the Department of Energy’s history and the nation’s scientific progress. We are also excited about the future, as we implement strategies for serving the modern scientist. Here’s a quick tour of OSTI’s past, present, and future.
A History of Providing Ready Access to Scientific and Technical Information
OSTI grew out of the post-World War II initiative to make the scientific research of the Manhattan Project as freely available to the public as possible. In 1945, General Leslie Groves, commander of the Manhattan Engineer District, mandated that all classified and unclassified information related to the development of the atomic bomb be brought together in one central file in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 established the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), it formed the Technical Information Division in April 1947 to serve as the central AEC information facility, responsible for packaging and categorizing scientific information; abstracting, indexing, and providing effective document availability; disseminating information materials; and setting up resources for retrieving information from AEC contractors. Thus, 70 years ago, the organization now known as OSTI became home to one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of energy-related information, with separate operations for classified information.
From its earliest days, OSTI has been committed to providing ready access to STI. OSTI operated one of the few federal printing plants in the United States and, in 1948, began the almost 30-year production of the world-famous Nuclear Science Abstracts, which greatly expanded access to nuclear science information. OSTI played a leading role in providing materials to the 1955 Atoms for Peace Conference, envisioned by President Eisenhower to pool nuclear information for sharing with peaceful nations. OSTI was instrumental in establishing the International Nuclear Information System (INIS), which promotes nuclear information exchange between 130 countries.
While paper and microfiche were the means of sharing research and development (R&D) results in the past, OSTI has taken advantage of digital technologies in recent years to make science information more accessible. In 1994, OSTI created the first DOE homepage, and it has made significant strides into the information age ever since, creating collections of digitized scientific and technical information and developing an energy science and technology virtual library.
OSTI has played a leading role in developing and adopting innovative technologies to make authoritative science information more available to researchers and the public. OSTI pioneered deployment among federal agencies of federated searching, the simultaneous search of multiple science databases in real time via a single search query, and relevance ranking, technology that allows search results to be returned in ranked order relevant to the search query.
Other OSTI innovations include audio indexing and search of multimedia collections, sitemap protocols to allow search engines to crawl and index OSTI databases, alerts technology, and mobile delivery services. In addition, OSTI helped forge interagency and international partnerships that enabled the development of ground-breaking products, such as Science.gov and WorldWideScience.org. These technological innovations have been facilitated by collaborations with the private sector, including Deep Web Technologies, Microsoft Research, Google, and a number of small businesses.
Today, DOE OSTI, a unit of the Office of Science, fulfills agency-wide responsibilities to collect, preserve, and disseminate STI emanating from DOE R&D activities. The OSTI mission is to advance science and sustain technological creativity by making R&D findings available and useful to DOE researchers and the public. OSTI's statutory authority is provided in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 and several subsequent laws. In the words of Section 982 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, “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 supported by the Department.”
A DOE policy directive, DOE Order 241.B, “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 directive, OSTI spearheads the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP), a collaboration of STI managers and technical information officers from across the DOE complex responsible for identifying, collecting, disseminating, and preserving the results of DOE-funded R&D. STIP members, led by OSTI, work together to increase the availability and transparency of several types of STI, using best practices, tools, references, and standard operating procedures. OSTI devised and manages the corporate E-Link submission system, a tool long used by DOE organizations and researchers at universities to submit metadata and full text of STI deliverables to OSTI electronically.
The scientific and technical information that OSTI makes available is produced and published in a variety of media and formats. OSTI offers STI in textual, multimedia, audiovisual, and other digital media, and its STI products include technical reports; scientific and technical conference papers and presentations; theses and dissertations; journal article manuscripts, citations, and articles; scientific and computer software; workshop reports; contractor planning documents; patents; and publicly available scientific research datasets.
OSTI provides access to this scientific and technical information using web-based searchable databases featuring basic and advanced search capabilities, including semantic search, customized alerts, results displayed by relevance, in-document searching, and downloadable search results.
The OSTI Catalogue of Collections includes SciTech Connect, the primary repository for DOE science, technology, and engineering research information from the 1940s to today. OSTI also developed and hosts DOE Data Explorer, which offers scientific research data resulting from DOE-funded research; ScienceCinema, scientific videos featuring leading-edge research from DOE; DOepatents, patents resulting from DOE-sponsored research; and DOE R&D Accomplishments, remarkable outcomes in science resulting from past DOE research and development. Since August 2014, through the DOE Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science or DOE PAGES, OSTI also has been collecting, archiving, and making publicly available the “gold standard” of scientific communication – peer-reviewed journal articles or final accepted manuscripts resulting from DOE-funded research.
In addition, OSTI hosts and maintains the National Library of EnergyBeta, a gateway to science resources and other information from across DOE; Science.gov, which provides access to science information from 15 U.S. federal science agencies; and WorldWideScience.org, a portal to science information from more than 70 nations.
OSTI’s Vision for the Future
The OSTI facility in Oak Ridge, TN
OSTI's databases are important resources for scientists and engineers working to strengthen America's role in science and technology, promote energy security, protect the environment, and enhance nuclear security. By increasing the precision and power of information search tools, OSTI has made access to DOE R&D results quicker, more convenient, and more complete than ever before.
In consultation with researchers across the DOE complex, OSTI is now working to build a modern toolkit for the modern scientist. The scale and complexity of the modern science environment – and the needs of the modern researcher – require new and integrated information, data, and software tools. In this environment, OSTI is focused on making diverse but related research outputs -- publications, data, software, multimedia, and supplemental materials – seamlessly linked and accessible from a single platform. A key to these linkages is assigning identifiers to non-traditional research outputs or “objects” such as datasets, software code, other supplemental material, and even authors and research organizations. OSTI will be both a leader and a partner in this space, working with others such as ORCID, Crossref, DataCite, and, of course, the DOE research community. Seamless access across these diverse but related research outputs will make science more open, efficient, and reproducible.
We salute the women and men who, since 1947, have advanced scientific progress through their work at OSTI. We are committed to building on their legacy in ways unimaginable 70 years ago.
OSTI Developing New DOE Software Center
OSTI is developing a new model for scientific software collaboration, archiving, and dissemination in DOE. As described by OSTI Director Brian Hitson in a November 2016 OSTIblog, DOE Code will be a robust, community-focused software management platform for DOE code repositories. Now in planning and development, DOE Code will replace OSTI’s current software center, the Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC). DOE Code will feature open source, social coding for DOE scientific software that is expected to increase usability and visibility of DOE software packages and encourage research collaboration and learning.
This reimagining of ESTSC is based on input from DOE researchers across the DOE complex and is being designed to meet their needs. The development of DOE Code follows the rise of open source software and the proliferation of social collaboration networks, and it reflects DOE scientists’ support for a more robust community-focused software management system. OSTI is also soliciting community engagement and input from a wide range of researchers and developers.
Not only will DOE Code be a best-in-class service for the submission of software, it is expected to provide a platform for interactive, social coding for collaborative authoring and networking capabilities. It will incorporate social media for sharing and notification systems for software news and updates, as well as links to author profiles. DOE Code will seamlessly interface with code repositories such as GitHub, making DOE software more deliverable and citable. Digital object identifiers (DOIs) will be assigned to the software code so that researchers can more easily cite and locate software and demonstrate their contributions to projects.
DOE Code has been presented at various conferences, including the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information Technical Activities Coordinating Committee meeting in Denver in September 2016 and Supercomputing 2016 in Salt Lake City in November.
Prototyping is expected to commence in early 2017. The DOE Code resource will be built gradually, improving with user input. Jay Billings, a software architect at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and active in the open source community, is leading the effort to gather requirements and develop specifications for the DOE Code architecture.
As Hitson wrote in his blog about the new DOE software center, “We look forward to this transformation to DOE Code, and we anticipate many more feature requests and ideas from the community. We invite and encourage the DOE software community to participate in and contribute to the development of DOE Code.” To find out more and/or to offer your suggestions, please reach out to Jay Billings on Twitter (@jayjaybillings) or email (email@example.com).
Digital Object Identifiers for Scientific Research Data: Benefits from the Researcher Perspective
Scientific research data increasingly play an integral role in research and collaboration. Recognizing this, OSTI offers a data search tool and a service for registering datasets with digital object identifiers, or permanent, electronic identification assigned to individual documents or datasets.
DOE Data Explorer (DDE), launched in 2008, is a search tool that helps users explore DOE data by identifying publicly available collections or sources of DOE-sponsored scientific research data and allowing users to retrieve individual datasets within some of those collections. In 2011, OSTI began offering a service enabling DOE researchers to obtain DOIs for individual datasets, and the DDE database began including those individual items as well. Through the DOE Data ID Service, OSTI assigns DOIs to datasets submitted by DOE and its contractor and grantee researchers and registers the DOIs with DataCite, 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.
The DOE Data ID Service is a useful tool for increasing access to digital data, as the DOE Public Access Plan noted: “The Department’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information can provide digital object identifiers to datasets resulting from DOE-funded research. To improve the discoverability of and attribution for datasets created and used in the course of the research, DOE encourages the citation and identification of datasets with persistent identifiers such as DOIs.”
DOIs for the Materials Project and the ARM Data Archive
So what do data researchers see as the greatest benefits of having DOIs assigned to their data?
Patrick Huck of the Materials Project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a prolific user of the DOE Data ID Service, has registered over 70,000 datasets with DOIs. The Materials Project provides open web-based access to computed information on known and predicted materials, as well as powerful analysis tools to inspire and design novel materials. The Materials Project employs an approach to materials science inspired by genomics. But rather than sequencing genomes, researchers are using supercomputers to characterize the properties of inorganic compounds, such as their stability, voltage, capacity, and oxidation state.
As Huck has pointed out in a number of presentations about data and DOI registration, while it is helpful to be able to cite a paper that describes the data or materials, it is even more useful to be able to assign DOIs directly to the data or materials because this allows for more precise citation and subsequent discovery. Instead of just citing a paper that describes the data, a researcher can cite it specifically and provide a stable, direct link to the actual data.
Another dynamic user of the DOE Data ID Service has been Giri Prakash at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a principal investigator for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Archive. ARM is a multi-laboratory, interagency program and a key contributor to national and international research efforts related to global climate change. All the data obtained from ARM research are found in the ARM Data Archive, which is pioneering the DOI concept for large-scale continuous datastreams.
In a recent paper discussing DOIs and citation, Prakash outlined the benefits of assigning DOIs to data:
By assigning DOIs to data, scientists link their article to the exact data used for research, which is critical if (1) other researchers wish to reproduce the same results; (2) people responsible for generating the data wish to get credit for their contribution; … and  publishers wish to link the journal article to the cited data and help readers access the data over the years.
OSTI provides this free data registration to enhance DOE’s management of this important resource. In addition, as a member of DataCite, OSTI can assign DOIs to other federal agencies' datasets on a cost-reimbursable basis. For information about this interagency service, to make your DOE-funded research data more discoverable by registering it for a DOI, or to learn more about the DOE Data Explorer or the DOE Data ID Service, please contact us at either firstname.lastname@example.org or DOEDataID@osti.gov.
Statistically Speaking: SciTech Connect Content and Usage Growing
Developed and launched by OSTI in March 2013, SciTech Connect is a portal to publicly available DOE-sponsored R&D results, including technical reports, bibliographic citations, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia, software, and data information, from the 1940s to today.
The collection continues to grow as new scientific and technical information resulting from DOE research becomes available. SciTech Connect now has nearly 2.9 million total records, including citations to 1.5 million journal articles, 990,000 of which have digital object identifiers linking to full-text articles on publishers' websites. SciTech Connect also has more than 445,000 full-text DOE-sponsored scientific and technical information documents.
SciTech Connect achieved strong increases in usage in fiscal year (FY) 2016, according to Google Analytics metrics:
- Pageviews – the total number of successful requests made for the product’s webpages within a selected date range – rose from 3.2 million in FY 2015 to 4.4 million in FY 2016, a 38 percent increase.
- The total number of new and returning users that interacted with the product within a selected date range grew from 1.6 million in FY 2015 to 2.4 million in FY 2016, a 48 percent increase.
This growth in traffic followed FY 2016 enhancements to SciTech Connect that made it easier for both users and search engines (such as Google, Google Scholar, and Microsoft’s Bing) to locate documents in the flagship portal to DOE STI.
Search Tip: Find Patent Information in SciTech Connect
Patent information resulting from DOE-sponsored research and development is now more easily findable via SciTech Connect. The new “Patents” filter, available beside the search box on the homepage, is a direct route to patent results. You can also conduct your search across all product types and then use the patents search filter on the results screen to limit to patent information only. The advanced search screen, accessible by the "Advanced Search" button under the search box, can be used to refine your results, particularly if you know the inventors or the title of the patent. The "Patent Number" is a metadata field unique to patents and can be searched using the "Identifier Numbers" field. If you have feedback or questions about your patent results, you can let us know using a convenient link on the citation pages for individual records.
Meet Sara Studwell
Sara Studwell began working at OSTI in 2013 for contractor Information International Associates on OSTI’s information science team, and she was hired as an OSTI Librarian and Product Manager in February 2015. In this role, she is responsible for DOE PAGES, OSTI’s search tool offering free public access to the best available full-text version of DOE-affiliated journal articles and manuscripts; DOE Data Explorer, the portal to energy and science data; and DOepatents, the collection of DOE patent information. In the spring of 2016, Sara attended a series of workshops that OSTI hosted at DOE national laboratories to explore how lab-based scientists use scientific and technical information in the research workflow, and she is a using this feedback to inform enhancements to OSTI’s search tools.
Originally from Florida, Sara has a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Information Science from the University of Tennessee. Along with her husband Jason and two dogs, she now calls Knoxville home.
Retiree Tribute: Charlie Stuber
Charlie Stuber retired from OSTI in 1997 after 34 years of service. During his tenure, he was a scientific analyst and team leader for high energy physics and later became a manager in the Office of Information Management of the Technical Information Center, as OSTI formerly was known. Charlie also worked with international programs, such as the International Nuclear Information System and Energy Technology Data Exchange, to help ensure that information on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and energy technology were freely available worldwide. Citations for reports that Charlie authored are available in DOE’s SciTech Connect database.
Charlie married Naomi "Pug" Bridges, a co-worker, in 1966. Naomi left work and became a full-time homemaker when their first child was born. After Charlie retired, he and Naomi began visiting out-of-town family and friends. Spring gatherings with their extended family in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby were a tradition. Sadly, Naomi passed away in the fourth year of his retirement. Always the dedicated grandpa, Charlie traveled with his grandson to national invitational scholastic conferences during his high school years. Charlie recalls a conference where he met Dr. Michio Kaku, a keynote speaker, educator, and co-founder of string field theory; Charlie had analyzed Dr. Kaku’s papers on the string theory of elementary particles at OSTI 40 years earlier.
Today, Charlie’s routine includes volunteering with several United Way agencies, luncheons with OSTI retirees, vegetable gardening, and a variety of leisure activities, including boating. While he loves retirement, Charlie also says he treasures the friendships and experiences of his years at OSTI.
This retiree tribute is intended to help our OSTI community keep up with former colleagues and friends. Look for additional tributes to OSTI retirees in upcoming issues.
Most Viewed Documents from All OSTI Search Tools by Subject Category
In the OSTI Collections: Infrasound and Ultrasound Research
RUS measuring plutonium by lightly pinning the
sample between acoustic transmitting and
Image Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Infrasound and ultrasound technologies are being utilized in DOE-funded research projects; infrasound is sound below the human audible limit of 20 Hz, and ultrasound is above the human audible limit of 20 kHz. Infrasound can be used to monitor international nuclear activity and natural events such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Ultrasound is being studied as a component of additive manufacturing and nuclear power plant concrete imaging, as well as resonant ultrasound spectroscopy (RUS).
DOE databases provide a myriad of free DOE research project reports and publications about infrasound and ultrasound technologies and their applications. Read more in William Watson's white paper, In the OSTI Collections: Infrasound and Ultrasound.
The Latest from OSTIblog
OSTIblog features the technology, services, people, and policies that are crucial to OSTI’s role in increasing accessibility of DOE-sponsored research. Here are some of the most recent OSTIblogs:
- Migliori's Mysteries
- Green Energy from the Blue Ocean
- OSTI Employees Are Committed to Giving Back to Their Communities
- Promising Perovskites
- OSTI Developing Open Source, Social Coding Platform for DOE Scientific Software
Science, technology, and
Scientific research data
Scientific videos featuring
Patents resulting from
Remarkable outcomes in science
Science resources and other
Science, technology, and
information from DOE
publications resulting from
Scientific research data
Scientific videos featuring
leading-edge research from DOE
Patents resulting from
Remarkable outcomes in science
resulting from past
DOE research and development
and technical software
Science resources and other
information from across the