Newsletter for Office of Scientific and Technical Information Newsletter

OSTP Directs Federal Agencies to Increase Public Access to Scientific Publications

open book

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a major policy memorandum that calls on federal science agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and implement public access plans for making accepted manuscripts and peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and scientific data in digital formats resulting from agency research investments publicly available in a timely fashion.

In the February 22, 2013, memorandum "Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research," OSTP Director John Holdren directed agencies that spend more than $100 million a year on research and development to prepare plans to make the results of research they fund publicly available within a year of publication. (The OSTP memo states that agencies "shall use a 12-month post-publication embargo period as a guideline for making research papers publicly available” and notes that an agency can tailor its plan and other stakeholders can petition for changing the embargo period.) Agencies have six months to submit their public access plans to OSTP for review. 

Dr. William Brinkman, then DOE Office of Science Director, welcomed the OSTP policy memo in an interagency news release: "Collaboration, transparency and open access to scientific findings accelerate discovery and innovation. The Department of Energy has been working for years with our colleagues in other science agencies and our stakeholders to advance open access. So we fully support the goals of the OSTP memorandum and will work quickly to develop and implement policies and procedures so that peer-reviewed journal articles funded by the Office of Science are available to the public."

OSTI has collected, preserved and disseminated scientific and technical information emanating from R&D performed by DOE and its predecessor agencies for nearly 70 years.  Despite the breadth of these collections, they generally do not include what is considered the "gold standard" of scientific communication – peer-reviewed journal articles or final accepted manuscripts resulting from agency funding, and this gap in what OSTI offers is not unique to DOE.  With the exception of the National Institutes of Health, which has had a legislative public access mandate since 2008, most other federal science agencies do not provide public access to journal articles or manuscripts resulting from their funding.

"This is a huge and momentous opportunity for OSTI," said OSTI Director Walter L. Warnick.  "At Dr. Brinkman’s request, OSTI has been developing a public access gateway as DOE’s answer to the OSTP directive, and we also look forward to helping draft the DOE public access policy for scientific publications." 

In addition, OSTI has been briefing representatives of the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) from program and field offices and national laboratories about the OSTP policy and the OSTI gateway.  DOE STIP managers will play a key role in implementing the DOE public access plan and populating the DOE gateway with accepted manuscripts and journal articles once it is deployed.


National Library of EnergyBeta: A New Search Engine Facilitating Access to DOE Info

National Library of Energy, Beta

OSTI has launched the Department of Energy (DOE) National Library of EnergyBeta (NLEBeta), a virtual library and open government resource to advance energy literacy, innovation and security. The NLEBeta is a new search tool designed to make it easier for American citizens to find and access information from across the DOE complex nationwide, without knowing DOE’s organizational structure.

The NLEBeta virtually integrates information from (the DOE website) and all DOE program offices, national laboratories and other facilities. The NLEBeta search feature provides one-stop, easy access to information in DOE’s broad mission areas: science and R&D; energy and technology for industry and homeowners; energy market information and analysis; and nuclear security and environmental management.

The NLEBeta search feature is accessible on the OSTI home page and is a "featured search and developer tool" on the recently published new DOE resource hub for open energy data. A DOE Blog, "Welcome to," mentions the NLEBeta.

The NLEBeta concept was highlighted as a DOE transparency initiative in the 2010 and 2012 DOE Open Government Plans. The NLEBeta will make all DOE web content and databases accessible, independent of content management system. The NLEBeta’s resources will be kept current, with each component updated regularly. On a periodic basis, additional databases and searchable website content will be added (read more).

SciTech Connect Launched, Consolidating Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database and Offering Semantic Search

SciTech Connect, search R&D results - full text, citations, multimedia, datasets, everything

OSTI recently launched SciTech Connect, a portal to free, publicly available DOE research and development (R&D) results. SciTech Connect incorporates the contents of two of the most popular core DOE collections, DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database, and employs an innovative semantic search tool enabling scientists, researchers and the scientifically attentive public to retrieve more relevant information. Other features include faceting, in-document search, word clouds, and personalization. There are over 2.5 million citations, including citations to 1.4 million journal articles, 364,000 of which have digital object identifiers (DOIs) linking to full-text articles on publishers’ websites. SciTech Connect also has over 313,000 full-text DOE-sponsored scientific and technical reports; most of these are post-1991, but close to 85,000 of the reports were published prior to 1990.

OSTI will gradually phase out its current DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database products and replace them with the improved search interface of SciTech Connect (read more about the transition details and scope of the new product). Consolidated in SciTech Connect, DOE Information Bridge and Energy Citations Database accounted for approximately half of the 298 million transactions OSTI handled in 2012. OSTI will work to ensure a smooth transition for patrons as it consolidates these two web-based services into SciTech Connect.

What Is SciTech Connect Semantic Search?

SciTech Connect employs a semantic search technique known as keyword-to-concept mapping. This means that SciTech Connect accepts keyword-based queries and returns concept-mapped queries as in a taxonomy; a search term is mapped to other associated terms, including narrower and related concepts.

In this way, semantic search enables the new SciTech Connect search engine to recognize and make use of the logical relations among concepts in different scientific documents, regardless of whether those documents use standard descriptors to express those concepts. As a consequence, even the casual user easily recognizes the superiority of semantic search results over traditional word/phrase search results in a side-by-side comparison (see the Search Tip comparison below).

The keyword-to-concept mapping used by SciTech Connect is just one of many different ways to perform semantic searching. In general, semantic search is a way to enhance search accuracy contextually. Rather than relying on search algorithms that identify a specific query term, semantic search uses more complex contextual relationships among people, places and things. It is an especially effective search approach when a person truly is researching a topic, rather than trying to navigate to a particular destination.

Search Tip: SciTech Connect Basic Search vs. Advanced Search

Users of SciTech Connect will find that their search results are somewhat different when using the Basic Search versus the Advanced Search. The Basic Search offers a semantic technique. This means the Basic Search adds related terms to your search. Advanced Search does not use the semantic technique but does use Boolean logic. Therefore, users might find a significantly higher number of citations in the search results from the Basic Search.  This is because when you search a term or phrase in Basic Search, you will get citations with your term or phrase, and you will also get citations for narrower and related terms. If you are searching a specific term or multi-term phrase and want only citations with that specific term or phrase, then you should use the Advanced Search.  Compare the results of a search for "Greenhouse Effect" in Basic Search and Advanced Search. Remember, when searching a multi-term phrase, such as "Climate Change" or "Enriched Uranium," you should put the terms in quotes regardless of whether you are using Basic or Advanced Search. You can clearly see the difference in these Basic Searches for Enriched Uranium with quotes and without quotes.

Statistically Speaking – What's in SciTech Connect?

SciTech Connect contains close to 2.5 million
Scientific and Technical Information (STI) records.

Here is a breakdown of the types of citations that make up that number:

Electronic Full-Text313,000 Journal articles1,300,000
Citations2,100,000 Multimedia890
Books38,000 Patents126,000
Conference/Event330,000 Program Document300
Datasets440 Technical reports610,000
Digital Object Identifiers524,000 Thesis/Dissertation29,700

Citations to Journal Articles from Energy Frontier Research Centers Now Available on OSTI’s SciTech Connect

Energy Frontier Research Centers map displaying 46 EFRCs in 35 states plus the District of Columbia. $2 to $5 million per year per center. ~850 Senior Investigators; ~2000 students, postdoctoral fellows, and technical staff; ~115 institutions. Citations to more than 2,400 journal articles by researchers at the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s suite of Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) are now available on the OSTI SciTech Connect database (go directly to the EFRC citations that have been added to SciTech Connect). Included are citations to 43 EFRC videos.

The 46 EFRCs are major collaborative research efforts to accelerate high-risk, high-reward fundamental research that will provide a strong scientific basis for transformative energy technologies of the future. The EFRCs have world-class teams of researchers, often from multiple institutions, bringing together leading scientists from universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit firms. The EFRCs provide an important bridge between basic research and energy technologies and complement other research activities funded by the Department of Energy.

The Centers were selected in 2009 by scientific peer review and funded at $2 million – $5 million per year for a 5-year initial award period, subject to Congressional appropriations. These integrated, multi-investigator Centers are tackling some of the toughest scientific challenges hampering advances in energy technologies. The 46 EFRC awards span the full range of energy research challenges described in the Basic Energy Sciences series of workshop reports in which the community defined basic research that is needed to enable advances related to clean energy technologies, including: solar energy utilization, clean and efficient combustion, electrical energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, advanced nuclear systems, catalysis, materials in extreme environments, hydrogen science, solid state lighting, and superconductivity.

More information about the EFRCs can be found at The EFRCs are supported by DOE’s Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences program.


Meet Assistant Director Jeff Given

Jeff Given
Jeff Given
OSTI Assistant Director

Jeff Given is OSTI Assistant Director for Information Systems and focuses on collaborative technical project management in such cross-cutting areas as cyber security, networking, server and database administration, centralized enterprise storage, and application development.  He is responsible for IT operations, cyber security, communications, and outreach. He has 14 years of management experience in the private and public sector, working in environments of rapid change and large-scale, visible projects. He recently completed a two-year, $1.6M project as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to increase the availability of OSTI’s core STI dissemination products. The project’s significant infrastructure changes included implementation of a disaster recovery site.  Given also has experience in IT budget planning and in outreach and marketing in the area of web usage analysis and usability testing.  He has a B.S. and M.S. in Engineering Science, both from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


DOE Science Showcase – Fission Theory: How Do Atoms Split?

SPIDER: A Predictive Theory for Fission
Image from "SPIDER: A Predictive Theory for Fission"[SciTech Connect], slide 47.

A rough understanding of the main influences on the splitting of atoms emerged almost as soon as nuclear fission was discovered in 1938. Discover how this understanding has been improved upon, and why, in some respects, nuclei are significantly more complex than, say, our solar system. Because understanding the fission process is crucial for many areas of scientific research, including particle systems, the development of carbon-free energy and to national security, much work continues at the Department of Energy (DOE) to understand fission’s inherent complexity. Today, scientists are performing new experiments and using both microscopic and macroscopic-microscopic models of fission to help them in this quest. Read more about remarkable advances in the Department’s fission theory research In the OSTI Collections: Fission Theory by Dr. William Watson, Physicist, OSTI staff. Read and explore past DOE Science Showcases.