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Health & Environmental Research Online (HERO)

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Frequent Questions

What references are in HERO?

HERO contains references used or considered by NCEA scientists in the development of scientific assessments. Although historically, not all assessments created by NCEA have their references entered in HERO, all references from new assessments will be included in HERO.

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How do I get a copy of a journal article?

Most journal article entries in HERO have a link to a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Exit EPA Disclaimer . This link will direct you to a journal or publisher website. If the article is free to the public, or you have a subscription to the journal, you can download the PDF. If not, you will usually be offered an option to purchase the individual article. Please note: Copyright laws prohibit distribution of copyrighted material.

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What other types of documents are in HERO? How do I get copies of those?

Reports, books, book chapters, conference material, and other miscellaneous reference types are included if they were used in the assessment development process. Some of these references provide links to an internet site where the material can be downloaded or purchased.

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How are new references added to the database?

During assessment development, scientists and collaborators identify relevant literature. In addition, results from comprehensive evergreen literature searches are continuously added.

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How do I request an additional reference be added to HERO?

If you would like to suggest a reference addition, send us the full citation. Please include information about the topic(s) the reference relates to.

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When was HERO created and why?

HERO launched in March, 2009. It contains data from a number of legacy databases used by NCEA -- both digital and paper. EPA is making these references available to the public in the interest of greater transparency and public accountability.

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Can I search by keyword and author simultaneously?

Yes. Any 2 or more fields you enter in a search will be joined as an "and" search and will find only the references meeting criteria in both (or all) fields.

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How do I search for more than one author in the same reference?

Type the last names of the authors separated by a comma, e.g., Johnson, Patel.

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What are the blue links in the assessment documents?

Increasingly, we are producing our published assessments with links back to the reference in HERO. Clicking on a link - which contains the HERO ID - will open up your browser window and take you right to the details for that reference!

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How do I create a list of references?

After conducting a search in HERO, you will be presented with a list of results. Select the references you want in your list by clicking the box next to each reference. Click the "Create Bibliography" button to produce your list.

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How does the EPA decide what references to use for its scientific decisions?

References are evaluated for relevance to each assessment, taking several factors into account. Read about the assessment process.

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What do you mean by the HERO "Database System"?

At its core, HERO is a database for references used in NCEA's scientific assessments. Other components of the HERO Database System help scientists with literature searches, reference classification, and document production.

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How frequently is the database updated?

Constantly! Team HERO is behind the screen busily entering references daily. The evergreen process we employ brings new studies to our attention as they are published.

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What are future plans for HERO development?

We are in the process of adding features to HERO that will show information extracted from the most relevant studies used by the various scientific disciplines. You will be able to search and produce reports on these studies both individually and across similar studies.

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How do I ask more questions?

Click here to contact us with your questions, suggestions and feedback.

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