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OSTIblog Articles in the science communications Topic

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


Clean Energy to Out-Innovate the Rest of the World

President Obama recently visited a clean energy company that manufactures hybrid vehicle transmission technology, and spoke about his long term plan to protect consumers against rising oil prices and decrease oil imports while ensuring a cleaner, safer and more secure energy future for our country.  The President saidthat investments in a clean energy economy are the only solution to high gas prices in the long term.

The Department of Energy is committed to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and developing energy efficient technologies for buildings, homes, transportation, power systems and industry.  DOE invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

To find out more about what DOE is doing, go to DOE Green Energy, a free resource developed by The Office of Scientific and Technical Information that takes users to green energy information from thousands of DOE-sponsored research and development projects.  DOE Green Energy provides free access to over 30,000 full text technical reports and over 2,000 patents.

You can read about some of the latest research in advanced vehicle technologies with these highlighted reports from DOE Green Energy:Clean Cities 2011 Vehicle Buyer's Guide;...

Related Topics: clean energy, DOE Green Energy, obama


Department of Energy Releases 2011 Strategic Plan


Department of Energy Releases 2011 Strategic Plan

Plan lays out the Department’s leadership role in transforming the energy economy through investments in research, development of new technologies and deployment of innovative approaches


DOE recently released its 2011 Department of Energy Strategic Plan, which outlines the broad, cross-cutting and collaborative goals, and will serve as a blueprint for DOE to help address the nation’s energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.


The Department’s missions and programs are designed to bring the best minds and capabilities to bear on important problems. It draws on the diverse talents of our federal workforce, scientists and engineers from national laboratories, academia and the private sector in multidisciplinary teams, striving to find solutions to the most complex and pressing challenges.


The DOE Strategic Planis organized into four distinct categories:


·         Catalyzing the timely, material, and efficient transformation of the nation’s energy system and securing U.S. leadership in clean energy technologies


·         Maintaining a vibrant U.S. effort in science and engineering as a cornerstone of our economic prosperity with clear leadership in strategic areas


·         Enhancing nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental efforts


·         Establishing an operational and adaptable framework that combines the best wisdom of all Department stakeholders to maximize mission success


Do you want to find out more about how the Department of Energy plays an important and unique role in the U.S. science and technology community?   Or how the DOE plays a leadership role in transforming the energy economy through investments in research...

Related Topics: clean energy, nuclear security, Science Accelerator, Strategic Plan


Join OSTI for Earth Week

Forrestal:  April 18-22

Germantown:  April 25-29

The U.S. Department of Energy will be celebrating Earth Week April 18-22 in the Forrestal Building and April 25-29 in Germantown. 

Many of the program offices, including the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) will have displays, plus there will be activities such as environmental films, green bag lunches, speakers, nature walks and talks, tree plantings, Bring Sons and Daughters to Work Day activities, farmers marketand community days.  The Earth Week activities are sure to be fun, and to see how the Department is “Changing Behavior to Reduce DOE’s Carbon Footprint.”

While you are enjoying the Earth Week displays and activities, be sure to stop by and see OSTI where we will feature DOE Green Energy, your portal to green energy information from thousands of DOE-sponsored research and development projects.  DOE Green Energy provides free access to over 30,000 full text technical reports and over 2,000 patents.

 You can read about some of the latest research in advanced vehicle technologies with these highlighted reports from DOE Green Energy: Clean Cities 2011 Vehicle Buyer's Guide; Natural gas vehicles: Status, barriers, and opportunities; NREL Showcases Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine Bus;...

Related Topics: bioenergy, DOE Green Energy, Earth, geothermal, green energy


Strengthening America’s Energy Security


Strengthening America’s Energy Security

Energy continues to be much in the news these days; rising gas prices affect all Americans – families feel the pinch at the pump, and businesses and farmers see the increased costs impact their bottom line.

The Obama Administration recently released a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (pdf) that outlines a comprehensive national energy policy that aims to:

  • Develop and secure America’s energy supplies
    • Expand Safe and Responsible Domestic Oil and Gas Development and Production
    • Lead the World Toward Safer and More Secure Energy Supplies
  • Provide consumers with choices to reduce costs and save energy
    • Reduce Consumers Costs at the Pump with More Efficient Cars and Trucks
    • Cut Energy Bills with More Efficient Homes and Buildings
  • Innovate our way to a clean energy future
    • Harness America’s Clean Energy Potential so that 80 percent of electricity will come from clean energy sources by 2035
    • Win the future through Clean Energy Research and Development
    • Lead by Example so that the Federal Government models best practices and clean energy technologies

Do you want to know what is being done at the Department of Energy and its national laboratories that will help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy, what new or alternative sources of energy are being developed and how we can use energy more efficiently?

Go to the Office of Scientific and Technical Informationand use Science Accelerator, a free resource that was developed to advance discovery and deliver science information.

Science Accelerator allows the user to search, via a single query, for...

Related Topics: America, energy, Science Accelerator


Celebrate National Engineers’ Week 2011 – February 20-26, 2011

The celebration of National Engineers’ Week started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers.  The week occurs in February, in conjunction with President George Washington's Birthday; our first President is considered by many engineers to be the nation's first engineer because of his survey work.


Engineering has made countless contributions to enhancing modern life by making it more comfortable, safe and prosperous.  Engineers use imagination and analytical skills to invent, design, improve and build things. They turn ideas into reality, apply basic research and dream up creative and practical solutions.   Engineers change the world.


The engineering field is as varied as engineers themselves. Engineers design and build superstructures and delicate medical instruments.  They explore for energy and better and more efficient ways to deliver it, design environmental controls for buildings and are driving innovation in wind energy, fuel cell technology, solar energy, geothermal energy, petroleum, gas, nuclear engineering, alternative energy and energy efficiency to fusion, hydrogen and superconductor technologies.


Who knows where the next great challenges and breakthroughs will be?


At DOE and the National Laboratories engineers support the discovery and design of new materials with novel structures, functions and properties that may lead to new materials for the generation, storage and use of energy or address and solve environmental impacts of energy use. Other engineers use modern tools and capabilities in the engineering sciences to ensure the safety, security, reliability and performance of the current and future U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without having to...

Related Topics: Engineers, Science Accelerator


Join OSTI at the AAAS Annual Meeting, February 17-21


Join OSTI at the AAAS Annual Meeting, February 17-21

 The Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) will be at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2011 Annual Meeting. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Science without Borders.”

OSTI will have a booth (#201 floor plan) at the meeting. Our central theme is “Ensuring Global Science Access.” 
Join us, and thousands of leading scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers, families and members from national and international media at this important meeting. Be sure to stop by OSTI’s booth where you can ask questions and see how to get worldwide R&D results free and fast via single-point-of-access web portals, such as:
Science Accelerator (DOE resources) federal agency science information) (global science information)
OSTI offers web-based searchable databases with relevancy-ranked and downloadable search results...

Related Topics: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Accelerator,,, (WWS)





You need information about the environment, or physics, or chemistry, or the earth and don't know where to go. You want the information quickly, and from an authoritative source.  No problem.


Stop by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science exhibit to see and use the new search tool, was launched in Beta Version to provide stakeholders and the education community an opportunity for feedback. The site is publicly accessible and makes federal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education resources accessible and transparent via a single, integrated portal for one-stop searching by teachers, students, education professionals and parents. Using open source software in a web 2.0 platform that invites public participation and collaboration, opens government STEM education resources as never before. deploys new grade-level stratification technology, assigning many resources a grade range based on the grade levels of the science concepts. was developed through a partnership of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) and Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS).  Content contributors include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  In addition, links are provided to related...

Related Topics: ERIC, nasa, NOAA, NSDL, osti, USGS


Celebrate National Chemistry Week 2010 – October 17-23


Celebrate National Chemistry Week 2010 – October 17-23

Chemistry has made countless contributions to enhancing modern life by making it more comfortable, safe and prosperous.

Chemistry is a physical science that studies atoms, molecules, crystals and other aggregates of matter.  Understanding the basic properties of matter and learning how to predict and explain changes are what chemistry and chemists are all about.  Chemistry can be very specialized, dealing with the composition, behavior, structure and properties of matter, as well as changes that occur during chemical reactions.

 The Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Energy Biosciences Division (CSGB) in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science supports chemistry. CSGB is also involved in DOE’s exciting new Energy Frontier Research Centers and Innovation Hubs. DOE funds approximately 20% of fedderally-funded chemistry research and is the largest source of funding for chemical engineering, sponsoring 40% of all federally funded research in that field in 2007.  Over the years, 26 researchers associated with DOE have been awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work.

Do you want to know more about chemistry at DOE?  Do you want to find your own research?  Learn more about the Nobel Prize-winning chemistry?  Science Accelerator, developed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) to advance discovery and to deliver science information, is a gateway to chemistry and all science at DOE, including R&D results, project descriptions, accomplishments, full text documents, conference papers, Scientific e-prints….and more...

Related Topics: Chemical Sciences Geosciences and Energy Biosciences Division, Chemistry, CSGB, Science Accelerator


DOE Connects with Higher Education Community

When you think of the U.S. Department of Energy  (DOE), what do you think of?  The national laboratories?  DOE’s leadership role in reliable, clean and affordable energy?  Scientific discovery and innovation?  Nuclear security?  DOE has a role in all of these things, and more.  Now, do you think about DOE’s connection with higher education?  Probably not, but we want to change that. 

EDUconnections is a year old project, and through it we celebrate our university partners, spotlighting a different higher education institution every month.

DOE supports a diverse portfolio of research at colleges, universities, research facilities and institutions across the nation.  Big science and interdisciplinary teams are balanced with investments in research projects.  DOE also supports graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and almost half of the Department’s Office of Science's research funding goes each year to support research at more than 300 colleges, universities and research institutions nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) connects with university research departments and libraries across the nation to increase awareness of DOE's valuable scientific and technical information.  Since 1947 OSTI's mission has been to advance science and sustain technological creativity by making research and development findings available to Department of Energy researchers, the American public and internationally.  OSTI believes that shared knowledge is the enabler of scientific progress, and that accelerating the sharing of knowledge will accelerate discovery.  The internet has had a large impact on access to research; our databases are the largest national sources of energy and science R&D information in the world and can be used...

Related Topics: .EDUconnections, education, MSU