Free science service launched in the US

People who are too busy to scour the Internet for specialist scientific information can now subscribe to SC Alerts, a free US Office of Science service that delivers pre-defined search results to subscribers’ email addresses.

A new preprint alerting service from the US Office of Science gathers preprint science information on specific topics and alerts registered users of the most current information available online.

SC Alerts is reportedly the first alerting service that harvests information from the deep web, where the underlying content of selected web sites and databases is searched rather than only surface pages of web sites.

Search engines are applied to subscribers’ requests by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) in a customised use of the PrePRINT Network to create SC Alerts.

Preprints are manuscripts disclosing research progress that has not yet been published. Preprints may or may not have been reviewed, submitted, or accepted for publication but are intended for publication or presentation at a conference and are being circulated for comment. Some preprint servers may define preprints as any electronic work circulated by the author outside of the traditional publishing environment.

The PrePRINT Network is a searchable gateway to more than 7,500 preprint web sites in 35 countries that contain information about the most current research within disciplines including physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, and other science disciplines related to DOE’s research interests.

The Network uses search engines and accesses e-print collections to create a convenient ‘one-stop shopping’ web site for preprints of science and technology information from a variety of sources including academic institutions, government research laboratories, scientific societies, private research organisations, and the holdings of individual scientists and researchers.

SC Alerts is a customised service developed by OSTI for the Office of Science that allows users to create one or more personal interest profiles, which the PrePRINT Network search engines use to compile lists of preprint articles that contain key words and ideas of the users’ stated interests. Then, the Network will notify individual users by e-mail on a weekly schedule as new information on the topics of interest is added to the preprint servers.

The SC Alerts service is free, and in most cases, access to the full-text information is open and free of charge.

New users should register on the SC Alerts web site and create a search strategy with personal science interests. The SC Alerts ‘help’ feature explains how to do it.

Individual search strategies will then be matched automatically against each new weekly update of all the servers within the PrePRINT Network and notification will be sent by e-mail stating the number of preprint sources awaiting retrieval on the SC Alerts web page.