Here’s a test of JURN’s new GRAFT search tool. The topic of Arctic methane hydrates seems an apt choice for testing repository search tools, since they are in the news — as a possible new fuel source, a potential greenhouse gas emitter (if permafrost melts), and a potential trigger for geo-political aggression by Russia — and yet are also likely to be discussed in repositories due to these various concerns.

Since repositories in aggregate are a vast pool into which to throw a simple keyword search, I’m focusing on PhD theses. I do this in a clunky way, by simply adding the phrase “submitted in” after the keywords. This is an unvarying part of the standard wording used somewhere in the first three or four pages of nearly all thesis PDFs in English, even if the PDF has had a university-branded cover page affixed by the repository. The stock phrasing used is either “submitted in partial fulfillment” or “submitted in fulfillment”, so the simpler phrase “submitted in” should pick up full-text PDFs that use either wording.

Further, I am specifically looking for post-1980 English-language theses that have modern-day Arctic frozen methane hydrates as a strong focus. So I discount ‘paleo-methane’ theses (methane hydrates in prehistoric time periods), theses on lab-only work or industrial chemistries, hydrate deposits elsewhere in the world, high atmospheric methane, or natural methane emitted seasonally from bogs and lakes (which, by definition, cannot be either permafrost or sea-bed hydrates).

So the search for this test is:

methane hydrates arctic “submitted in”

The addition of the keyword “permafrost” might have been useful in terms of trying to lock results to the high Arctic, rather than having them diverge to different locations (hydrates occur globally). But that would have omitted results disussing methane hydrates under the Arctic ocean.


JURN group test of repository search tools:
methane hydrates arctic “submitted in”

 
August 2015. Searching for post-1980 theses in English, on contemporary methane hydrates in the Arctic or Arctic coastal waters.
BASE 0   Zero from six results. Chose to “boost Open Access documents”.
PQDT Open 0   Zero from 13 results. Omitted “submitted in”, since this tool is designed specifically to “Find Open Access Dissertations and Theses”. All full-text theses in results, but nothing was specifically on the Arctic.
DART Europe (UK and European research theses) 0   Zero from one result. Omitted “submitted in” since this tool is designed specifically to find theses. The one result was on prehistoric time periods.
Digital Commons Network (aka Bepress.com) 0   Zero from four results. Top result “Atmospheric Ethane-Methane Relationship and Implications for the Arctic” called itself a thesis but actually proved to be an undergraduate Honours dissertation. To be fair to the DCN I then removed “submitted in” and re-tested. The first 30 results lacked focus but did yield three possible results (“Planning Ahead for the Commercial Development of Offshore Methane Hydrates”; “Arctic Energy Resources: Security and Environmental Implications”; and “Balancing the Deglacial Global Carbon Budget: The Hydrate Factor”), but these all proved to be journal articles.
Microsoft Academic 0   Zero results for a search including “submitted in”, suggesting Microsoft is indexing records and not full-text. Tried again, without “submitted in”. First 40 results yielded nine possibilities, after removal of ten duplicates. One was “404 Not Found”, and none proved to be theses. Microsoft Academic seems better suited to finding technical reports and conference papers, at least for this topic.
Google Scholar 1   Tested with an unmodified Internet Explorer, not logged in to Google. Excluded Patents. Checked first 40 results. Scholar veers strongly toward chemistry on this topic, but the No.1 result was labelled as a “book” from 2003, “Methane hydrate production from Alaskan permafrost” — the citeseerx.ist.psu.edu link for this timed out repeatedly. Investigation of this item via the main Google found it was a detailed Powerpoint. The other possibility in the first ten results proved to be a lab-based undergraduate honours dissertation. On the second page “Geophysical characterizations of fluid flow and gas-hydrate systems of the NW-Svalbard and SW-Barents Sea margins” was a possibility, but proved to be “404 not Found”. “Well engineering concepts to make methane gas hydrate exploitation affordable” was a thesis and a hit. A faint possibility titled “Oil & Natural Gas Technology” at egcfe.ewg.apec.org proved to be “404 Not Found”. Possible candidates on ocean sediments lacked any focus on the Arctic, or were Masters dissertations, or proved to be on prehistoric periods. The military futurist/policy dissertation “Engagement in the Arctic” proved to be a Masters, and did not focus on hydrates. The similar “Marine Corps Equities in the Arctic” military dissertation also proved to be a Masters, and was also not focused on hydrates.
CORE 1   Examined first 40 results. Top two results were two scientific Arctic cruise reports, both duplicates of each other. Several relevant journal articles and two theses were in the first ten results. The thesis “Formation processes of clathrate hydrates of carbon dioxide and methane” proved to be on the chemistry involved, and had no real focus on the Arctic. The No. 6 result was the thesis “Well engineering concepts to make methane gas hydrate exploitation affordable”, which gave a sound overview of the “perma frost land environment” in which exploitation would have to occur. As such, this was counted as a hit. No. 12 was also a thesis, “Thermoelastic properties of salt hydrates and implications for geological structures” but proved to be on chemistry with implications for the geology of the outer solar system. The third page yielded “Analysing recent spatial and temporal atmospheric methane variations using forward and inverse modelling”, but this thesis was on computer modelling of atmospheric methane levels. Another on “Methane in deep sea hydrothermal plumes” proved to be on Indian sub-sea seeps. “Scaling up of methane flux: a case study in the UK uplands” was of a thesis on a peat bog in North Wales which, despite its dismal climate, is not in the Arctic. The fourth page yielded only a Chemical Engineering thesis focused on the gases industry, “Multi-scale Analysis of Methane Gas Hydrate Formation”.
OpenAIRE ($14.6 million EU-funded portal) 2   Examined first 40 results. Omitted “submitted in”, then sorted by the “Thesis” and “Open Access” facets. First ten results produced three possibilities. “Microbial perspectives of the methane cycle in permafrost ecosystems in the eastern Siberian Arctic” was a hit. The second was about Indian sub-sea seeps. The third, “[The] … exchange of methane between wet Arctic tundra and the atmosphere [in] Siberia” proved to have no full-text available. The second page of ten results yielded a further three possibilities, of which “Methane-cycling microbial communities in permafrost … Western Canadian Arctic” was a hit. The others were a duplicate, and a thesis on Indian sub-sea seeps. The final 20 results had two possibilities, being tangential studies of the general biological methane production in the Arctic bogs.
Google Search 2   Used an unmodified Internet Explorer, not logged in to Google. Examined first 40 results. Google was confused by press reports, government reports, short research calls and project home pages. However, the first page of results did unearth the recent high-quality thesis “Numerical Investigations of the Fluid Flows at Deep Oceanic and Arctic Permafrost-Associated Gas Hydrate Deposits”, although this was mostly focused on the applied maths of the topic. The third page popped up the previously seen hit “Well engineering concepts to make methane gas hydrate exploitation affordable”. Correct use of the document title in results links proved to be especially poor on later results pages, suggesting Google may be ranking higher on results it knows to have correct titles. Possibilities on the fourth page were found to be Masters dissertations or had been seen and discounted in previous searches.
FreeFullPDF 2   Two from 32 results. (Google based. For a list see the results table at the foot of this article)
OpenDOAR 3   Examined first 40 results. (Google based. For a list see the results table at the foot of this article)
GRAFT 3   Examined first 40 results. (Google based. For a list see the results table at the foot of this article)

Some conclusions.


FREE FULL PDF results (only had 32 results):

1. “Spatial and Temporal Characterization of A Cold Seep-Hydrate”.
Undergraduate dissertation.
2. “Download”.
Thesis, but not specific to the Arctic.
3. “SEISMIC IMAGING OF GAS HYDRATE RESERVOIR”.
Thesis, but not specific to the Arctic.
4. “Stewart DEng 2011 Well engineering.pdf”.
Thesis, a hit.

5. “Climate and deep water formation regions”.
Thesis, but on prehistoric periods.
6. “Kinetics of Gas Hydrate Nucleation and Growth”
7. “Marine Electromagnetic Methods for Gas Hydrate Characterization”
8. “Geoengineering climate by stratospheric sulfur injections”
9. “Distribution and fate of methane released from submarine sources”
10. “Distribution and fate of methane released from submarine sources”.
Thesis, one of the areas studied was inside the Arctic circle.

11. “ARCTICMOCEAN SCIENCE”.
1999 military summary of past ‘Arctic Ocean science from submarines’.
12. “JOIDES Journal 28(1)”.
Journal article.
13. “thesis.pdf”.
Thesis, but not relevant.
14. “A study of carbon-14 of paleoatmospheric methane”.
Prehistoric methane.
15. “博 士 学 位 論 文”.
Proved to be ‘404 not found’.
16. “Scales over Shale: How Pennsylvania Got Fracked”.
17. “Download (9Mb)”.
Prehistoric.
18. “BEARING ROCKS IN NORTHEASTERN BRITISH COLUMBIA”.
Prehistoric.
19. “Climate, Neo-Spinozism, and the Ecological Worldview”.
20. “SASKIA VAN GAEVER”.
Thesis, but general biogeography.

21. “Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane in Northern Peatlands”.
Undergraduate dissertation, North American bogs.
22. “Airborne observations and regional flux estimates of greenhouse …”
23. “Methane Fluxes at a Temperate Upland Forest in Central Ontario”.
24. “Investigation into the possible use of an oxygen ion transport …”
25. “High-resolution paleoceanography and modeling of abrupt warming …”.
Prehistoric.
26. “Download (2732Kb)”.
On the high atmosphere.
27. “Download PDF”.
On Mediterranean soils
27. “Download (2650Kb)”.
Hydrographic expedition report, on ocean circulation.
29. “ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY OF POLYFLUORINATED …”
30. “wireless gas leaking detector mohamad fadli bin ismail”

31. “AZU_TD_BOX192_E9791_…”
Prehistoric.
32. “Hydrolysis and Atmospheric Oxidation Reactions of Perfluorinated …”


OpenDOAR results (first 40 results):

1. “microbial populations and processes in subseafloor marine”.
About the coastal shelf of Peru.
2. “Download”.
Thesis, but not specific to the Arctic.
3. “FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF …”.
Arctic seabed survey followed by computer modelling of seabed.
4. “Academic Commons – Columbia University”.
Chemistry.
5. “SEISMIC IMAGING OF GAS HYDRATE RESERVOIR …”.
Seismic exploration, not specific to Arctic.
6. “Methane Production from Natural Gas Hydrates”.
7. “THEORETICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE …”.
8. “Stewart DEng 2011 Well engineering.pdf”.
9. “Climate and deep water formation regions: Changes through …”.
Prehistoric.
10. “Marine Electromagnetic Methods for Gas Hydrate Characterization”.
Not Arctic.

11. “Microbial Inhibition of Methane Clathrate Hydrates”.
A Masters dissertation.
12. “Methane Storage and Transport via Structure H Clathrate Hydrate …”.
Industrial storage.
13. “SEDIMENT BIOGEOCHEMISTRY OF NORTHERN CASCADIA …”.
Vancouver Island in Canada, not in the Arctic.
14. “Distribution and fate of methane released from submarine sources”.
Thesis, one of the areas studied was inside the Arctic circle.

15. “Hydrate Phase Equilibria Study of CO2 Containing Gases in …”.
Chemistry.
16 “Temporal Variations in the Compliance of Gas Hydrate Formations”.
Vancouver Island in Canada, not in the Arctic.
17 “BLOCKAGE DETECTION IN NATURAL GAS PIPELINES BY …”
Industrial processes, pipe cleaning.
18. “Physical Properties of Marine Sediments and their Application …”
19. “annual progress report – Lunar and Planetary Institute”.
Hydrates on the planet Mars.
20. “Natural Gas Hydrates – from the Microstructure towards a …”.
Gulf of Mexico and the Black Sea.

21. “thesis.pdf”
22. “microbial diversity and connectivity within and between oceanic and …”
23. “INVESTIGATING THE PALEOCENE-EOCENE CARBON-CYCLE …”.
Prehistoric.
24: “View/Open”.
Chemistry. Downloaded file had to be renamed to load as a PDF.
25. “A study of carbon-14 of paleoatmospheric methane for the last …”.
Prehistoric.
26. “The paleoceanography of the Bering Sea during the last glacial …”.
Prehistoric.
27. “博 士 学 位 論 文”.
Proved to be ‘404 not found’.
28. “Scales over Shale: How Pennsylvania Got Fracked”.
29. “Dubin_thesis.pdf”.
Prehistoric.
30. “Lunar and Planetary Institute Annual Report 2009”.
Passing reference to hydrates on Mars.

31. “Microbial and functional diversity associated with hydrocarbon …”.
Australia.
32. “BEARING ROCKS IN NORTHEASTERN BRITISH COLUMBIA”.
Prehistoric.
33. “Thesis final draft6.pdf”.
Prehistoric.
34. “The Arctic Voice at the UN Climate Negotiations”.
Has a passing one-line mention of Russian demands.
35. “Airborne observations and regional flux estimates of greenhouse …”
Atmospherics.
36. “Climate, Neo-Spinozism, and the Ecological Worldview”.
37. “Microbial metabolism in the deep ocean”.
38. “Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane in Northern Peatlands”.
Masters dissertation, on North America.
39. “The Expedition of the Research Vessel “Polarstern” to the Arctic in…”.
Multi-author book of reports. One article on “Survey of methane flares” at a mud volcano.
40. “CARBON ADDITION DURING THE PALEOCENE-EOCENE …”
Prehistoric.


GRAFT results (first 40 results):

1. “Atmospheric Ethane-Methane Relationship and Implications for the …”.
About the Arctic, but an undergraduate dissertation.
2. “Spatial and Temporal Characterization of A Cold Seep-Hydrate …”.
Undergraduate dissertation.
3. “microbial populations and processes in subseafloor marine”.
About the coastal shelf of Peru.
4. “Download”.
Thesis, but not specific to the Arctic.
5. “SEISMIC IMAGING OF GAS HYDRATE RESERVOIR …”
Seismic exploration, not specific to Arctic.
6. “THEORETICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE …”
7. “Stewart DEng 2011 Well engineering.pdf”
8. “Climate and deep water formation regions: Changes through …
Prehistoric.
9. “Kinetics of Gas Hydrate Nucleation and Growth”
10. “Marine Electromagnetic Methods for Gas Hydrate Characterization”
Not Arctic.

11. “Naval Research Laboratory Arctic Initiatives”
Detailed military Powerpoint with several slides on the impact of methane release on Navy issues.
12. “The Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum in the Hanna Basin, WY …”
Prehistoric.
13. “Distribution and fate of methane released from submarine sources”.
Thesis, one of the areas studied was inside the Arctic circle.

14. “ARCTICMOCEAN SCIENCE”.
1999 military summary of past ‘Arctic Ocean science from submarines’.
15. “annual progress report – Lunar and Planetary Institute”.
Hydrates on the planet Mars.
16. “thesis.pdf”.
17. “A study of carbon-14 of paleoatmospheric methane for the last …”
Prehistoric.
18. “博 士 学 位 論 文”.
Proved to be ‘404 not found’.
19. “Scales over Shale: How Pennsylvania Got Fracked”.
20. “Download (9Mb)”.
Prehistoric.

21. “Marine Corps Equities in the Arctic”.
Military Masters dissertation, not focused on hydrates.
22. “BEARING ROCKS IN NORTHEASTERN BRITISH COLUMBIA by …”.
Prehistoric.
23. “Thesis final draft6.pdf”.
Prehistoric.
24. “Climate, Neo-Spinozism, and the Ecological Worldview”.
25. “Download (23MB)”.
Prehistoric
26. “Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane in Northern Peatlands”.
Masters dissertation, on North America.
27. “CARBON ADDITION DURING THE PALEOCENE-EOCENE …”.
Prehistoric.
28. “Airborne observations and regional flux estimates of greenhouse …”.
Use of a light aircraft with commercially available kit, to accurately measure methane emission flux from ground level by flying over “the European Arctic wetlands” and London. A thesis but on wetland Arctic bogs, not frozen hydrates in Arctic permafrost.
29. “ADSORPTION OF NATURAL GAS AND HYDROGEN ON Cu3(btc)2 …”.
Undergraduate dissertation, chemistry.
30. “View/Open”.
Masters dissertation. Fracking and water protection.

31. “Methane Fluxes at a Temperate Upland Forest in Central Ontario”.
Masters dissertation, not Arctic and not hydrates.
32. “Investigation into the possible use of an oxygen ion transport …”
33. “High-resolution paleoceanography and modeling of abrupt warming …”
Prehistoric.
34. “Download (2732Kb)”.
Atmospherics, southern hemisphere.
35. “View/Open”.
Survey of global ocean policy.
36. “Download PDF”.
Mediterranean.
37. Download (2650Kb).
Relevant, but not a thesis. Expedition final report. 2009. Surveyed “northern Bering Sea, western and eastern channels of Bering Strait and several transects across the Chukchi Sea … acoustic sounding of seabed for the purpose of investigation of underwater congelation and availability of gaseous-hydrates within the sedimentary layer”.
38. “ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY OF POLYFLUORINATED …”
Atmospheric.
39. “Remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases”.
Masters, looked at Australian/Antarctic sites.
40. “Hydrolysis and Atmospheric Oxidation Reactions of Perfluorinated …”
Surveyed high Arctic ice-caps for novel fluorinated compounds. But no focus on methane hydrates.


Summon results, for comparison. Filtered by “Dissertation” / “Full-text online”. No use of “submitted in” in search terms. First 40 results tested. Five results, of which one was to be found free online:

* = Relevant
* + Bold = Relevant and Open Access

* 1. Combustion of Methane Hydrate.

* 2. Numerical investigations of the fluid flows at deep oceanic and arctic permafrost-associated gas hydrate deposits.

* 3. Performance and economics of methane hydrate reservoirs.

* 23. Reservoirs Modeling of Gas hydrate deposits in North Slope of Alaska and Gulf of Mexico.

* 27. Activity, diversity and community structure of aerobic methane-oxidizing and carbon dioxide-producing bacteria in soils from the Canadian high Arctic.

(Also noted was 32, “An analysis of the hypothetical climatic impact of methane hydrate destabilization”, but this proved to be a Masters from 1992.)