Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is OpenNet?

OpenNet is a web site supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Classification to provide easy, timely access to recently declassified documents and other related information, in support of the national Openness Initiative. In addition to DOE documents declassified and determined to be publicly available after October 1, 1994, citations to older agency document collections are included. For more information see OpenNet Scope and the OpenNet Fact Card.

2.  What is Openness?

Openness is a set of policies by which DOE recognizes and affirmatively seeks to fulfill its obligations to provide the public with accurate and complete information about its activities to the maximum extent consistent with protection of national security and with other societal objectives, such as protection of personal privacy.

3.  Where can I get copies of documents?

Every document in the data base has a document location field. This tells you where you can get the document if there is not a link to the electronic full text. See "How to Order" for a list of the locations with most of the documents.

4.  Where can I get a list of Department of Energy (DOE) reading rooms?

There are many DOE reading rooms around the country. Some are general in content, and some are program specific. You can get current lists by searching the DOE home page or a web search tool like Google for "DOE reading rooms". Here are a few:

5.  Is this database mandated by Executive Order or other law?

President Barack Obama issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government January 21, 2009. President Obama states that his administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. The current order on classified information Executive Order 13526 was issued by President Obama on December 29, 2009, and it revoked and replaced the previous orders, 13292 and 12958. E.O. 13526 prescribes a "uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information."

6.  Are there other similar databases of declassified documents maintained by other U.S. government agencies?

The Executive Order applies to all Federal government agencies, so there are many similar databases. A few examples are:

7.  What kind of additional help will your office provide if we have questions or problems?

We will be glad to help you in any way we can. For technical questions, contact

8.  Scope

OpenNet will include references to all Department of Energy (DOE) documents declassified and made publicly available after October 1, 1994. New references will be added periodically as they are available. In addition to these documents, OpenNet references older document collections from several DOE sources.

These collections include citations to several types of documents. Some have been declassified in total, and are identified as "declassified." Others have had classified or other restricted information removed to produce a "sanitized" version. The term "redacted" is sometimes used to refer to these documents. This accounts for the blank spaces that can be found in some of the documents. Some of the documents have never been classified, but are included as part of one of the collections or for their historical interest. They are identified as "never classified."

Also, although a reference to a document may be found in OpenNet, not all copies of that document are necessarily unclassified. OpenNet carries no authority to declassify other copies of a specific document. Anyone who has question regarding a specific document should contact the originating organization.

OpenNet is intended to make information that is no longer classified more readily available to the public. This action will support the processes envisioned by the Openness Initiative of Public Awareness, Public Education, Public Input, and Public Access.