People - Written by on March 29, 2016

Intra-Lab Collaboration Automates OLCF Publication Tracking System with Cobra Tool

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The publications that show on the OLCF website are populated using the Cobra tool. In 2015, the OLCF increased its publication capture rate by 30 percent. The URL for the publications list on the OLCF website is: https://www.olcf.ornl.gov/leadership-science/publications/

The publications that show on the OLCF website are populated using the Cobra tool. In 2015, the OLCF increased its publication capture rate by 30 percent. The URL for the publications list on the OLCF website is: https://www.olcf.ornl.gov/leadership-science/publications

New software allows OLCF to better capture journal articles relating to research done on center computing resources

Every year, America’s most powerful computer for science hosts approximately 200 projects that address the nation’s grand scientific challenges.

For staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)—a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)—keeping track of those science results is extremely important in documenting the impact high-performance computing has on America’s scientific progress.

“Scientific publication discovery and management is a common challenge faced by the national laboratories as well as academic institutions,” said Jack Wells, OLCF director of science. OLCF leadership receives annual guidance from the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research within the DOE Office of Science to track the number of publications relating to work done on Titan.

In 2012, the team—led by ORNL’s Ramie Wilkerson—began establishing a process to discover and archive publications more efficiently in collaboration with OLCF leadership and ORNL’s Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate data analytics experts. The process—a combination of increased data accessibility, application of technology developed at ORNL, and a concerted effort to diligently curate pertinent data—resulted in the Cobra tracking tool, which has enabled the OLCF to increase its publication capture rate by 30 percent in 2015. In addition, unreported articles from prior years’ OLCF projects were discovered only through the technological improvements in capturing relevant publications.

The process used to discover and validate OLCF publications is largely automated, with the Cobra tool pulling potentially relevant publications around the clock from journals, books, conference proceedings, and other technical literature. However, in cases where it is difficult to determine if OLCF resources were used, the team has improved the methods of validation, which are extremely valuable to the overall process. Tim Gawne, data analyst at ORNL, and data analytics expert Chris Stahl serve complimentary roles in the capture process—Stahl designed much of the automated tracking components, and Gawne handles quality assurance on the bibliometric (statistical analyses of publication data) side.

Often, the team works with Wells to make a final decision on whether a paper should be added into the tracking system.

Wells is more than happy to occasionally help verify a publication’s relevance because the benefit to the OLCF has been significant. “Our users don’t always acknowledge their use of our facility clearly, and this process has helped us document the broad science outcomes,” he said. “Our users need to know that documenting their scientific outcomes related to use of our resources is extremely important to us.”

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.