Energy Department rolls out free public access to department-funded research


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2014_08_DOE-PAGES The landing page of the Energy Department’s Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science. (Courtesy Dept. of Energy)


The Energy Department has launched a portal that will give the public access to scientific journals and peer-reviewed manuscripts tied to the department’s research.

The Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science (PAGES) portal debuted with “thousands of articles from multiple publishers,” according to its landing page, and plans to add 20,000-30,000 articles per year. PAGES, developed by the Energy Department’s Office of Science and Technical Information, is an effort by the department to meet a White House directive to open access to federally-funded scientific research.

“Increasing access to the results of research funded by the Department of Energy will enable researchers and entrepreneurs to capitalize on our substantial research and development investments,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in a release. “These new policies set the stage for increased innovation, commercial opportunities, and accelerated scientific breakthroughs.”

Publishers looking to get their work on PAGES can submit items through the Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States, which has partnered with DOE to populate PAGES rather than having separate feeds from individual publishers.

Journals that have material on PAGES as of the launch include the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Oxford University Press, among others.

Currently, the articles in the PAGES system are for “demonstration purposes” as the portal goes through a beta period. As of Oct. 1, 2014, any publication published from a DOE National Laboratory will be expected to submit “manuscript metadata and links,” with full-text access given within a 12-month window.

PAGES mirrors a similar service available from the National Institutes of Health — PubMed Central — that serves as a digital archive of biomedical and life sciences research. PubMed Central offers an archive of 3.1 million articles open to the public.

An international alliance of academic and research libraries said while the PAGES launch is a step in the right direction in regards to the White House’s plan, there are “clearly mixed results” with the Energy department’s offering. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) said PAGES blurs the line between open access and journals’ copyright.

“The DOE plan does not adequately address the reuse rights that are necessary for the public to do more than simply access and read individual articles,” Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC, said in a release. “Without clearly articulating these reuse rights, the public’s ability to download, analyze, text mine, data mine and perform computational analysis on these articles is severely limited, and a crucial principle of the White House Directive cannot be fully realized.”

The Energy Department made clear in a statement to FedScoop that it draws a line between “public access” and “public domain.”

“Being publicly accessible does not mean that publications are in the public domain. Publishers maintain their rights under copyright to their Version of Record and publishers partnering with DOE on public access make their content publicly available voluntarily,” said Brian Hitson, director of the Energy Department’s Office of Science and Technical Information. “Although accepted manuscripts or articles will be accessible to the public, copyrights are still retained, and subsequent re-use must be in accordance with applicable copyright restrictions and copyright law. Any other use must be by permission of the copyright owner.”

While PAGES may present hurdles for those looking to mine data, DOE is requiring research funding proposals to be submitted with a data management plan as of Oct. 1. The plan must detail how much data the project will generate and how that data will be shared or preserved.

You can access PAGES here.

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