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What are technical reports?
Their main characteristics are:
- Numbered report series
- Published by government agencies, university departments and companies
- Describe unsuccessful as well as successful research
- Not peer-reviewed
- First place a development or innovation is reported
- Increasingly available online only
- Rich with technical information
Why are technical reports important.
- Can be a rich source of information produced by researchers and practitioners.
- Can describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research and development.
- Often produced as part of sponsored research or as a response to a specific request or research need.
- Often the result of federally funded research often performed under contract to companies, universities and laboratories.
- Are not peer-reviewed.
- Often the only source of some technical information that may not be available elsewhere.
- Can often be produced rapidly so that the information can be shared with others working in the field.
- Can "time-stamp" intellectual property on an innovation or development - important in the race to obtain patents.
The Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL) identifies, acquires, catalogs, digitizes and provides unrestricted access to U.S. government agency technical reports.
Finding technical reports
To find specific technical reports, find the website of the organization or university department that produced the report. It may be listed freely available or provides information on how to purchase online or print copies.
Technical reports are often included in Institutional Repositories such as Research Online @JCU.
The standard databases in engineering and science index some technical reports but to conduct a thorough search the appropriate resources need to be searched.
TechRxiv (pronounced "tech archive") is an open, moderated preprint server for unpublished research in electrical engineering, computer science, and related technology. By using TechRxiv, authors can quickly disseminate their work to a wide audience and gain community feedback on a draft version of their research. A preprint is a draft version of an article; final versions of published articles should not be submitted to TechRxiv.
ECSarXiv is a free online service for preprints and other preliminary communications not yet published in a peer-reviewed outlet, which facilitates the rapid exchange of ideas in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology. It is operated by ECS, a nonprofit scholarly society.
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