Department of Agriculture

Electronic Office

As a researcher, I am required to keep abreast of the scientific literature. This means reading (and most likely printing) dozens, if not hundreds, of scientific manuscripts each and every year. Often, this also involves taking notes which also requires further paper usage.


To cut back on paper usage (and waste), all of which will need to be recycled (incurring an additional cost), I have switched to an electronic office. Using standard tools such as Abode Reader (to read PDFs of the scientific literature), Microsoft Word, and then specialized bibliographic software (e.g., Endnote), I have reduced my printed paper output by 100% this year. In other words, I have not printed out a single scientific manuscript this year, instead relying on electronic versions to read, take notes, and for storage. The Agricultural Research Agency alone has over 2,000 scientists, all of which need to keep abreast of the literature like myself. Additionally, there are other research agencies and departments throughout the US government, all of which must do the same. If these researchers moved to an electronic office, the savings in the purchase of paper, costs of printers, ink, and toner cartridges, and the cost to dispose and/or recycle these items would be tremendous.



Idea No. 483