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DOE’s Scientific and Technical Information Program: A Winning Collaboration

by Judy Gilmore 26 Mar, 2014 in


DOE’s Scientific and Technical Information Program: A Winning Collaboration

Once again, dedicated representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters program offices, field offices, national laboratories and technology centers are convening along with OSTI staff for the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) Annual Working Meeting. This year the STIP Annual Working Meeting will be held March 31-April 4 in Richland, Washington. The meeting will be hosted by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

The DOE STIP program is an OSTI-led collaboration of scientific and technical (STI) managers and technical information officers across the DOE complex responsible for identifying, collecting, preserving and making accessible the results of DOE-funded research and development (R&D). Their behind-the-scenes work and dedication increases the availability and transparency of various types of STI. This collaborative effort is a win-win situation for everyone involved. DOE researchers, information managers and the science and educational community all benefit big time. Last year the STIP community collectively submitted the results of 30,000 DOE-funded research and development projects, and the number of submissions is projected to double for 2014. These DOE-funded research results are incorporated into the ever-increasing scientific database content of SciTech Connect, DOE’s flagship STI product.

The focus of this year’s workshop is “Raising the Bar for DOE R&D Results,” with emphasis on increasing public access to DOE science research outcomes and preparing for future technologies and endeavors.


Judy Gilmore



Image credit:  PNL

Related Topics: DOE field offices, DOE program offices, doe research, national laboratories, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, sti, STIP Annual Meeting


And the winner is . . . . you!


And the winner is . . . . you!

Did you ever stop to think what makes it possible for you to have immediate, free access to Department of Energy (DOE) scientific findings from billions of dollars of annual research?  A lot of behind-the-scenes work and dedication of an entire community make it all possible.

The heart and soul of this endeavor is the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP), a collaboration to ensure your access to DOE research and development results. The DOE Office of Science provides overall leadership and policy direction of the STIP program consistent with the DOE mission and legal requirements.  The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) coordinates the Department-wide STI program across DOE programs, field offices, national laboratories, and contractors to disseminate and preserve the Department’s scientific and technical information (STI) for your use. And, OSTI maintains state-of-the-art information management systems, databases, national and international web portals to provide you immediate, easy access to publicly available information.  

In total, about 50 designated representatives from the DOE Headquarters Program Offices, National Laboratories and Technology Centers, and Field Offices work together with OSTI’s staff to collect, review, release and provide you access to the outcomes of DOE-sponsored research.  Through STIP, you are made aware of emerging technologies and amazing research made possible through DOE’s preeminent user facilities.  You always have access to this information in OSTI’s new...

Related Topics: Department of Energy, doe, labs, osti, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, stip


STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated


STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated

Many posts could be written about the rich history of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), which dates back to 1945 when Colonel K. D. Nichols announced plans for a complete and authoritative scientific record of all research work performed by Manhattan District contractors.  However, I want to focus on a specific slice of that history, one that is going strong and is well represented across the DOE complex.  I’m referring to DOE’s Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP,

Just a month ago, STIP representatives from across the DOE complex convened in Pleasanton, CA, to participate in the annual STIP Working Meeting.  This important present-day collaboration, which is coordinated by OSTI, stems from the 1948 establishment of the Technical Information Panel by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).  In 1948, the country was just coming to terms with the wealth of scientific research resulting from the Manhattan Project. The formation of the Technical Information Panel was an important step forward for the agency and focused on establishing information policies, ascertaining information needs, recommending information dissemination methods, and serving as an important liaison between central and local organizations.

Today – some 60+ years later – STIP continues to be an important partnership in ensuring that results of the Department’s research are made available to DOE’s central STI organization in order to be made broadly accessible via OSTI web search tools and also through national and international STI web portals. Our STIP partnership works to enable reuse of previous research, preserve R&D results, and enhance transparency.By working together,DOE’s STI Program participants take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies to be efficient and cost effective and allow for maximum use of the research information. In addition, we ensure that appropriate...

Related Topics: Manhattan Project, r&d, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, sti, stip


OSTI’s Committee of Visitors, An Update


OSTI’s Committee of Visitors, An Update

"The unexamined life is not worth living."  So says Plato's Socrates in the Apology.   His self-examination led to extreme humility (or to an extreme irony) when Socrates confessed to his accusers that the only knowledge he had was knowledge of his own ignorance.  No one we know of came away from a Socratic cross-examination in one piece, but they would at least have known their own limits.  And in knowing their limits, or their ignorance, they would somehow be better.

That's really the reason we open ourselves up to honest reviews of our own performance, or open our programs up to honest review by outsiders.  Now there are two ways to go about such reviews.  One is to gather your amen corner around you and have them tell you how great you are and what progress you are making and how important you are, etc. etc.  You can then announce to the world that you are a smashing success.  The other way is to gather serious, knowledgeable, and thoughtful people and let them ask hard questions; ask them to put you through a Socratic dialogue.  You'll almost always discover that there is room for improvement, if you choose the latter course. 

OSTI chose the latter course when it had a Committee of Visitors (CoV) review its programs.  A previous CoV report some years ago had proved helpful.  I felt it was time for another review. 

After meeting with OSTI staff for a full two days, the committee provided us with 10 individual reports.  There was praise for the enthusiasm, professionalism and entrepreneurial spirits of the OSTI staff.  And although there were certainly questions and criticisms, no one felt these took away from the outstanding work the staff was doing.

A summary of the review is as follows:

Taken as a whole, the ten reviews shared a consistent message:  OSTI needs to grapple with and resolve the balance between its mission to provide ready access to DOE R&D results and its more entrepreneurial mission...

Related Topics: CoV, Digitize Legacy Collection, DOE STI, metrics, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website


DOE Data: Would We, Could We...?

I can’t remember how it went now, but as a child I skipped rope to a rhyme that included “would I, could I” somewhere in it.  Recently questions were asked about OSTI’s involvement with scientific research data.  Is OSTI planning to become a repository for numeric data?  Are we going to issue Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for datasets, and would we be telling people how to manage their data?  For some reason, the questions triggered the memory of that old refrain, but now I was thinking from an OSTI perspective, “would we, could we…?”

Fortunately, I’m much clearer about OSTI’s answer to those questions than I am about the conclusion of that old rhyme.  In order, the answers are a simple no, maybe, and no.

I’m in a position to know these answers because of my tasks here at OSTI.  I work with the Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) that handles policies and processes for information submissions to OSTI.  I’m also the product manager for the DOE Data Explorer and an OSTI point of contact for a related, ongoing STTR grant.

If you wonder why anyone would think to ask if OSTI has plans to begin taking in data, the question is, no doubt, triggered by the revision currently underway of the STI directive DOE O 241.1A.  That directive basically says that an announcement notice (citation/bibliographic record) for any scientific and technical information resulting from DOE-funded R&D must be submitted to OSTI.  For technical reports and, when possible, for other document types, that announcement notice contains a URL that links to the PDF document.  OSTI’s databases allow users to search both the citation in the database as well as the full text of the document, whether it resides at...

Related Topics: data, DOE Data Explorer (DDE), dois, r&d, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, stip, sttr


Transparency in Government and Transformative Science


Transparency in Government and Transformative Science

I recently had the opportunity to speak with members of DOE's Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) at their annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a collaboration that works and is critical to OSTI's success. It is supported by a DOE Order, but there is no compulsion in the order. This is an "order" only insofar as it sets out an expectation that the National Labs will share their R&D output, in whatever form, with OSTI for its free and open distribution. There are no penalties attached to failing to meet this expectation. None are needed. The system works smoothly. The Order does make the point that spreading scientific knowledge is important; it announces an important intention and frames how that intention is to be carried out. And the whole process is working well.

This practice of making R&D results as freely available as possible has roots extending back long before there was a Department of Energy and indeed before there was an Atomic Energy Commission. The historic grounding for STIP and for OSTI is worth thinking about as we consider what transparent science might mean today.

Near the end of the Second World War - November 17, 1944, to be exact - President Roosevelt asked Vannevar Bush, then the Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, to apply the experience of our R&D war efforts - most of which was done in utter secrecy - to the "days of peace ahead". Roosevelt asked for guidance on four major points. Let me share with you the very first issue he addressed to Bush.

"First: What can be done, consistent with military security, and with the prior approval of the military authorities, to make known to the world as soon as possible the contributions which have been made during our war effort to scientific knowledge. The diffusion of such knowledge," Roosevelt goes on to say, "should help us stimulate new enterprises, provide jobs for our returning servicemen and...

Related Topics: Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, stip, transformative science