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DOE Creates R&D Web Database to Share, Publicize, and Better Manage the Department's R&D Results

October 2, 1998 - Developing a system to bring the Department of Energy's Research & Development Project Summaries to the Web was a challenge. Do it quickly. Do it with a nominal price tag. Get all the major organizations involved in this DOE-wide activity to change their reporting practices. Use the latest technology. Tie in all the legacy systems and existing data. Get approval from the people at the very top of the Agency. Oh yes, and make it useful and user friendly to both the scientific research community and the American public.

But a team of DOE federal employees and DOE contractors accepted the task. The resulting system, which opened to the public on June 1, 1997, received the Agency's FY1997 Information Management Quality Award for Management/Administrative Excellence, tangible evidence that the challenges of the task had indeed been successfully met.

So what can the American taxpayer do or learn or see as a result of this achievement? Well, he or she can access from a single source, the DOE Research & Development Home Page . The kinds of corporate information available through the DOE R&D Home Page were once not available at all, scattered across various systems, or buried in traditional databases that required funds to search and database-specific training to be successful at that searching.

The guidance information that governs submission of project information from National Laboratories; corporate news, including stakeholder meeting minutes, about the R&D work as a whole; contact lists for new names, as well as descriptive summaries of more than 14,000 R&D projects being performed by DOE's laboratories, grantees, and other installations is available via this database. Additionally, a user can determine when projects started and when they are due to complete, all of the various organizations involved, locations where work is taking place, the funding mechanism for each project, who to call, where to link, and more.

The R&D Project Summaries database opens the Department's multi-million dollar program of energy-related research to the scrutiny of the taxpayers who help fund it and who will benefit from the resulting technologies. It's a way for industry and business to locate partnership opportunities and a way for students to search out connections to support their own research areas and map out possible career thrusts. Energy consumers, producers, regulators, investors, congressional staff, news media and interest groups, contractors and suppliers, local government bodies as well as foreign, scientists, inventors: all these and many other members of the public come to the DOE R&D Home Page with their own, unique sets of information needs. Such needs are demonstrated by the approximate 900,000 accesses since June of 1997.

While being accessible and accountable to the public was a primary goal of the integrated R&D system effort, another was making the Department's work in monitoring, tracking, funding, and reporting R&D more efficient and cost effective. The behind-the-scenes portions of the database and its companion system, the R&D Tracking System provide important tools for Departmental staff charged with these duties. The DOE R&D web site is sponsored by the Office of Energy Research's Office of Scientific and Technical Information. For technical information or assistance with search methodology contact: Michelle Turpin at (423) 576-1141 or Lorrie Johnson at (423) 576-1157.