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OSTIblog Posts by Dr. Walt Warnick

Dr. Walt Warnick's picture
Former Director, U.S. DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Before and after CrossRef

Personal Perspectives

Published on Dec 19, 2013

Doctor at University of Oxford

 

It is truly wonderful when something comes along that speeds access to science. Such is the case with CrossRef’s linking network for scholarly literature. Anyone that has ever done a literature search prior to 2000 is completely blown away today when they encounter the time saved and the quality of CrossRef’s linking service. I vividly recall my own literature review for my PhD dissertation almost 40 years ago and I want to share my story.

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The Imperative for Accelerating the Advancement of Science

Science Communications

Published on Sep 23, 2013

American Citizens Need Basic Research

Some time ago, a friend, a young father of two, lay in a hospital bed seriously ill. The physician said there was no treatment. The pancreas was secreting substances that were digesting itself and destroying surrounding tissue. Some patients recover on their own; others do not.

Natural laws may allow some remedy which will assist the body's own defenses and cause the pancreas to heal. If there was such a remedy, why did the physician not use it? The answer is the lack of knowledge -- not of just one physician, but of the medical profession as a whole. Unless the physician is a researcher, he waits for others to discover the remedy. He waits because no predecessor mastered the natural laws which govern the pancreas.

The young father in my story is a real person. His name is Vince Dattoria.

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How Science.gov’s Features Help Improve Access to Scientific and Technical Information Across the Federal Government

Science Communications

Published on Aug 09, 2013

 

 Science.gov, the gateway to federal government science information and research results, is commemorating 10+ years of service to the American people.    

The portal was launched in December 2002 and is an interagency initiative of 19 U.S. government science organizations within 15 federal agencies.  These agencies form the Science.gov Alliance, which governs Science.gov on a collaborative basis. Many of the of the agencies that participate in Science.gov are members of CENDI, an interagency working group of senior scientific and technical information managers, which provides administrative support and coordination for Science.gov.

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OSTI Partnering with Publishers on CrossRef and FundRef to Enhance Public Access to DOE Scientific and Technical Information

Products and Content

Published on Jul 03, 2013

Throughout our history, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has worked to make authoritative science information ever more efficiently available to researchers and the public alike. Our core mission – ensuring access to and preservation of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research results – has not changed. But the technology we apply to that mission has changed a lot over the past 20 years. By adopting Internet technology carefully and early, pioneering new advances in that technology to meet our needs and partnering with other stakeholders in the scientific and technical information community (STI), OSTI aspires to achieve our mission better than ever before.

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Eleanor Frierson: A Tribute to the Grande Dame of Government Science Information Partnerships

Personal Perspectives

Published on May 13, 2013

Eleanor Frierson

 

Eleanor Frierson, who passed away in April 2013, was the grande dame of partnerships to improve public access to federal and international science information.  For 10 years, she helped spearhead U.S. interagency efforts to make federal science information more accessible to Americans, playing an absolutely crucial leadership role on the Science.gov Alliance.  She took Science.gov  all the way from a nascent concept through to its maturation.  Ms. Frierson also made similar contributions to the international science portal, WorldWideScience.org.

She had extensive and diversified experience in information service development and management and had great business acumen and network-building skills.  But Ms. Frierson was much more than a consummate professional; she also was a caring colleague who took great personal interest in her associates.    

Eleanor Frierson was that rare public servant who made a very special mark.  Her legacies continue on today as vital national and international resources. 

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The Significance of Science.gov

Products and Content

Published on Dec 14, 2012

Science.gov

 

When I became Director of the DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information in 1997, we had a grand vision for a new era of global discovery. The way we provided access to scientific and technical information could be revolutionized. The internet showed promise, unbelievable promise. How exciting it was to become OSTI’s leader at that point in time.  

Although the development of the Department of Energy’s web-searchable databases greatly enabled our scientific community to access R&D collections, the search technology was inefficient. How could we make the information more easily accessible to the public? Somehow we had to wrap our arms around and embrace new technologies. We had the talent, we had the motivation, and we definitely had the energy. We knew there was a better way to improve the Government’s service to its people.

Other U.S. agencies were struggling with the same challenges. Each agency had amazing scientific collections and databases, but there was no tool for the public to locate and navigate through this disconnected information. The first parallel searching of government databases and websites was developed by OSTI to solve this dilemma. More work had to be done. Somehow, we had to merge scientific disciplines across agency organizational boundaries to provide a useful science resource for America.

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The Secret City Is Emerging from Its Past

Science Communications

Published on Nov 09, 2012

U.S. Department of Energy  Office of Scientific and Technical Information

 

Oak Ridge is rapidly emerging from a secret city into the hub of open science information.  How did this happen? It’s an amazing story. 

In 1942, deep within the quiet farm hills of East Tennessee, a secret city called Oak Ridge was created seemingly overnight.  Approximately 75,000 workers worked tirelessly to refine uranium ore into fissionable material. When the first atomic bomb was dropped in Japan and World War II came to an end, their work for the Manhattan Project was revealed to them and to the world. Their secret is still commemorated today. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has much to be proud of:  Science created its beginning and science continues to be vital to its future.

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A New Way To Find Reviewers

Science Communications

Published on May 31, 2012

DOE program managers are routinely called upon to identify peer reviewer candidates for grant and field work proposals.  Each proposal requires a minimum of three reviewers and often more to cover separate aspects of the proposal.  To generate reviewer candidates, program managers draw upon their subject matter expertise and manually scour journal literature.  Although this process is facilitated by the availability of electronic journals, it is labor intensive and represents a major cost.

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Making Scientific Databases Work Together—For You (psst . . . that's "search interoperability")

Technology

Published on Feb 13, 2012

Scientific Databases

 

Sometimes something complex can work so seamlessly that it’s easy to miss. We think that’s the case with our solution in achieving search interoperability.

As you may know, “search interoperability” is just a fancy way of saying that lots of scientific databases scattered far and wide can be made to work together so that your job as a seeker of science information is easy. You can go to one search box, say Science.gov, type in your search term, and get results from over a hundred important repositories and a couple of thousand scientific websites – with one click.

And you know that this is a good thing, because as a practical matter, you cannot be expected to conjure in advance which database might hold the information you seek. Nor can you be expected to search dozens of sources one-by-one.

That would be an onerous task. Also, as an experienced seeker of quality science information, you are well aware that commercial search engines (read, Google, Bing, etc.) sometimes cannot mine the deep web for you, thus missing R&D results residing there (see Federated Search - The Wave of the Future?).

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Public Access – Help Shape It!

Science Communications

Published on Nov 16, 2011

Public Access

 

As a reader of this blog, you are naturally a stakeholder in the government's public access policies – specifically, public access to scholarly publications containing federally-funded research results.  As the largest government funder of research in the physical sciences as well as a key funder across a broad spectrum of other science and technology fields, the Department of Energy, through our national laboratories and grantees, produces an enormous number of scholarly publications each year.

Journal articles are the gold standard of scholarly publications.  Books and conference papers are other examples.  DOE research is also recorded in the form of e-prints and technical reports.  OSTI is the repository for DOE's technical reports, having nearly 300,000 available in electronic full text on the DOE Information Bridge and another 800,000, dating back to the Manhattan Project, awaiting digitization.

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