DARPA launched the Open Catalog last February to complement other open-government initiatives and respond to queries from the R&D community and the general public about DARPA’s fundamental and applied research. The first batch of posted content comprised software toolkits and peer-reviewed publications from I2O’s XDATA program. Since then, the website has rapidly expanded its offerings:
It has added 20 other I2O programs representing three of the office’s main research thrusts related to computer science: big data, cyber and language translation
It has added research from BTO, which seeks to foster, demonstrate, and transition breakthrough fundamental research, discoveries and applications that integrate biology, engineering and computer science for national security
It has added research from DSO, whose broad investment portfolio encompasses physics, chemistry and mathematics as well as multidisciplinary topics such as materials, supervised autonomy, novel sensing and complexity
Its software library has more than quadrupled, from 75 to nearly 350 entries
Its publication library has grown even faster to nearly 1,100 entries—10 times its original size
“The launch of the Open Catalog has been quite successful, both in terms of quickly sharing a lot of material and getting enthusiastic buy-in from key DARPA audiences,” said Chris White, DARPA program manager. “DARPA’s investments in a multitude of scientific fields over the past 50 years have helped define our high-technology world, and by sharing results through our Open Catalog, we hope to accelerate continued breakthroughs in key technical areas.” DARPA plans to expand research listings from BTO and DSO, and eventually include research from other DARPA technical offices as well.
The DARPA Open Catalog currently contains material from the following programs:
In addition to enhancing its holdings, DARPA recently improved the site’s user interface. Users can now search for specific material using tabs for software or publications or search the catalog as a whole. Easy color-coding helps users find research most relevant to their needs, with red ribbons highlighting new programs, yellow ribbons denoting programs with updated material and blue ribbons indicating programs scheduled to enter the Catalog soon.
The Open Catalog’s comprehensiveness and user-friendliness contributed to the DoD’s decision to highlight the portal in the Department’s latest Open Government Plan (OGP).
“DARPA has an open strategy to help increase the impact of government investments,” the Open Government Plan explains. “DARPA is also interested in building communities around government-funded software and research. The creation of the Open Catalog will help enable the development of these communities by directing interested web traffic to the code repositories for this software…. DARPA and the larger government will benefit from the development of these communities, who will hopefully test and evaluate elements of the software and afterward adopt them as either standalone offerings or as components of their products.”
The other DoD flagship initiative is the Department’s collaboration with the Department of Energy and Department of State to declassify formerly restricted documents related to U.S. nuclear programs. The initiative includes implementing a systematic review process for declassification and exploring ways for the public to help identify priorities for declassification review.