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Communicating Science at a Research Laboratory: Policy, Tools and Services
Dee Magnoni

Last modified: 2016-03-09


The Research Library at Los Alamos National Laboratory spearheads open access, data management and sharing, and researcher impact initiatives across the Lab. From dialog in response to the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) February 2013 Memo, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” to committee formation to implementation plans, the Research Library engages researchers and seeks solutions. Communicating science in terms of scholarship, data and impact involves the creation of Lab policy, author tools and new services. Clear workflow and broad education initiatives are critical to successful implementation, as well as strategic partnerships with authors, leadership and external collaborators.

National mandates and policies influence Laboratory practice. Los Alamos policies must reflect the funding requirements of the United States Department of Energy and a range of other funders. Research Library staff performed an external environmental scan of funder requirements and institutional open access policies, and then adapted text for Lab needs. Input from the Legal and Policy offices together with author input influenced final wording. The policy, which also addresses data management and sharing, is now part of a broader procedure document.

New tools and services were created to facilitate policy and workflow. A publicly available institutional repository was launched that both addressed federal mandates and highlighted Los Alamos’ institutional vitality. Impact tools and services such as ORCiD and Kudos have been adopted, and Research Library staff work with authors to understand impact and select the most relevant discipline-specific options. Data initiatives flow across the Lab, with the work of the Data Working Group and a visit from Purdue University librarians influencing current and future directions.

An overarching goal of Research Library staff is to make it easier for researchers to do the right thing. This goal is reflected in our approach to education, outreach and workflow. This paper discusses strategies, initiatives and the road ahead for communicating science at Los Alamos National Laboratory.