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Federal Scientific and Technical Information in an Electronic Age: Opportunities and Challenges

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Citation Edit

8916 T

Office of Technology Assessment, Federal Scientific and Technical Information in an Electronic Age: Opportunities and Challenges (Oct. 1989) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This OTA staff paper found that the government does not have an overall strategy on the dissemination of scientific and technical information (STI). An overall strategy would help (1) maximize the return on the substantial Federal research and development (R&D) investment, and (2) meet other national goals to which STI can contribute — such as improving the education of U.S. scientists and engineers, the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, and the strength of the U.S. civilian technology base.

An overall STI strategy is needed if the potential of new electronic technologies is to be fully realized, and if questions about access to Federal STI are to be resolved.

This OTA staff paper is organized around the four questions posed to OTA by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:

  1. Are there unique problems associated with the dissemination of STI, or do Federal science agencies face the same challenge in disseminating information as other government agencies?
  2. What technologies could be applied to make dissemination of STI more efficient and effective for Federal science agencies?
  3. How can the Federal Government improve public access to its resources of STI?
  4. What changes could be made, both in internal agency organization and in interagency coordination, to enhance public access to STI?

This paper answers these questions within a framework for an overall strategy on STI dissemination, and identifies key elements that could be useful in such a strategy. A follow-up OTA report (Spring 1990) will analyze selected strategic elements in greater depth.

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