Raymond Orbach, Under Secretary for Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), signed an agreement with Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, of British Library at a ceremony in London last month.
It is time to make scientific research from all countries searchable through one global gateway Orbach said. “Science is international, and centralising access will enhance the rate of scientific discovery.”
Science projects are becoming increasingly international in scope, with researchers across the globe collaborating on projects such as energy, linear colliders, genomes and the environment. Projects such as ITER, the large-scale international fusion energy research effort, and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider are major international collaborations.
Science.world will be available to scientists in all nations and to anyone interested in science. The project to set it up will use existing technology to search collections of science information distributed around the globe, enabling access to smaller, less well-known sources. It will be modelled on Science.gov, the US interagency science portal that pulls together content published by each participating agency.
Other countries have been invited to participate.
Portentous it may be, but the Department of Energy’s press release says, “The US and Great Britain have recognised the importance of providing their citizens with one-stop electronic access to increasing volumes of science information, with a growing sense of the need for reciprocity and sharing of science knowledge across national boundaries.
Objectives of the Science.world initiative are to provide the capacity to
- Search dispersed, electronic collections in various science disciplines;
- Provide direct, seamless and free searching of open-source collections and portals;
- Build upon existing and already successful national models for searching;
- Complement existing information collections and systems; and
- Raise the visibility and usage of individual sources of quality science information.
The DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) will work with the British Library and international counterparts to develop a prototype in 2007.
OSTI played a central role in the development of Science.gov , the US government’s one-stop searchable portal to major science databases of federal science agencies, which has more than 50 million hits per year.