Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Published by Brian Hitson

What would a modern software center look like?

We posed that question to Department of Energy (DOE) researchers across the complex in an effort to continue making our scientific and technical information (STI) tools and services best in class.  The answers we received were both enthusiastic and enlightening:  to be most useful, a modern DOE software platform must connect researchers in meaningful ways to their software, data, and research documents; embrace open source; not duplicate but complement existing community practices and platforms; provide for social coding; and enable social media that incorporates sharing and notification systems for software news and updates as well as links to author profiles.

We at the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) are happy to announce that this platform, called DOE Code, is now under planning and development.

Why is this important to DOE?

Software is a critical form of STI and instrumental to scientific research.  It allows scientists to achieve day-to-day tasks, perform complex modeling and simulation, execute big data analytics, and control some of the largest scientific instruments in the world; in other words, software is essential to every aspect of modern scientific research. 

Why is it important for OSTI to ensure a robust software platform?

Published by Kathy Chambers
Image credit: National Energy Research
Scientific Computing Center, Nicholas Brawand

Quantum dots are tiny particles of semiconductor materials that are only a few nanometers in size.  These tiny but mighty particles have immense potential because of their flexibility and highly tunable properties.  Since they are so small, their optical and electronic properties behave quite differently from those of larger particles.  They obey quantum-mechanics laws.  They can be synthesized on-demand with nearly atomic precision.  They emit extremely pure light that differs in color, depending on their size.  They can be suspended in solutions, embedded into materials, and used to seek out cancer cells and deliver treatments.  They can accept photons and convert them into electricity at substantial rates and they are exceptionally energy efficient.  Quantum dots research holds great promise to improve our lives. 

Published by Catherine Pepmiller

It has always been important for authors and researchers to maintain and present accurate records of their work and experience.  In this digital age, an author can achieve such record-keeping by using a persistent digital identifier, a number associated with a particular author that remains with him or her, regardless of changes in discipline, research project, organization, or position.  ORCID, a not-for-profit-organization working to make it easier to connect research results to authors, has stepped in to provide just such a service.  To date, they have registered over 2.5 million ORCID iDs for their users, and this number grows daily.

Published by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon

In April 2012, The Economist ran a biting editorial arguing that, “[w]hen research is funded by the taxpayer or by charities, the results should be available to all without charge.”  Academic journals, the magazine contended, were raking in huge profits by selling content that was supplied to them largely for free and in the process restricting public access to valuable research to just those willing to pay for subscriptions.  The answer to this “absurd and unjust” situation, The Economist wrote, is “simple”: governments and foundations that fund research “should require that the results be made available free to the public.”

We at the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) have found that providing full public access to the research DOE funds is simple in principle and complex in practice.  And reflecting on this 2012 editorial, we can say that a great deal of progress has been made toward reaching the goal of free public access it sets out.  And much of that progress is due to hard collaborative work by both the government and publishers. 

Published by Kathy Chambers
Fumaroles at Brady Hot Springs, Nevada.
Image credit: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency 
and Renewable Energy, Photo by Dante Fratta

In the 1800s, the Brady Hot Springs geothermal fields were known as the “Springs of False Hope.”  As pioneer wagon trains traveled across the northern Nevada desert on their way to California, their thirsty animals rushed to the springs only to find scalding 180° water and bare land.  Additionally, the water was loaded with sodium chloride and boric acid.