The SciX Logo NASA Science Explorer


Who we are

The NASA Science Explorer (SciX) is the expansion to the earth sciences of the NASA Astrophysics Data Service (ADS), the primary digital library portal for researchers in astronomy, astrophysics, planetary science and heliophysics.

The SciX corpus consists of over 20 million bibliographic records, including referred papers, preprints, gray literature, software, and datasets. The collection expands at a rate of over ten thousand entries per week. Every astronomy paper ever published and nearly every physics and geophysics article refereed in the past 20 years is fully indexed by SciX. Launched in 2023, the earth science collection should be 95% complete by the end of 2024. Globally, over 50,000 scientists and librarians use SciX daily, all over the world.

In addition to indexing and searching abstracts and full-text of publications, SciX tracks citations and usage of its records to provide advanced discovery and evaluation capabilities. Integrated in its collections are also a rich web of links to electronic articles available from publishers’ websites, preprints, astronomical object information, planetary features, data catalogs, and data sets hosted by external archives. SciX currently links to over 13.3 million records maintained by our collaborators.

In 2021, NASA asked us to extend our comprehensive services to earth science, planetary science, heliophysics, and NASA-funded research in the biological and physical sciences. Consequently, we changed our name to SciX to reflect our broader, multidisciplinary mission. We are excited for the new opportunities to engage with all the NASA science divisions, bringing together earth and space scientists to facilitate cutting-edge science.

SciX develops and maintains services to facilitate the discovery and access of the scholarly literature published in the relevant fields of research. We embraces the spirit of openness long championed by NASA: all the software we are developing is licensed under an open source license model and access to our data holdings is provided via an open API.

SciX has built a highly scalable and feature-rich platform using a modern development stack: a custom build of the open-source search engine Solr, a highly responsive UI engineered on top of React, a high performance distributed brokerage system, and cloud-based hosted services with Kubernetes in Amazon Web Services. The primary programming languages are Python, Java, and JavaScript/TypeScript.

Who we are looking for

We have one opening to join our team of about twelve developers and four curators. The successful candidate will be part of a small, agile team of talented, like-minded individuals who are solving difficult problems as a group. We foster a work environment that is inclusive, flexible, and diverse, where team members can be themselves. We encourage applications from minorities, women, protected veterans, individuals with disabilities, and all other qualified applicants. We’re looking for:

  • a Search/Back-end developer experienced with search engines (e.g., Solr, Elasticsearch) and designing/building well-structured software (Java and Python), data pipelines, and REST APIs. The primary responsibility of the employee is to maintain and enhance the capabilities of the ADS search engine (Java), maintain its public API (Python), enhance its text processing pipelines (Python), and develop new functionality and services to support metadata enhancement, citation analysis, and recommendations while relying on ADS natural language processing/machine learning/deep learning plans. (apply here)

What we offer

NASA funds SciX through a cooperative agreement. We are hosted by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), one the largest and most diverse astrophysical institutions in the world and home of a growing earth science community. Here, scientists carry out a broad program of research in earth and space sciences. By joining us, you will be actively supporting the discovery and dissemination of scientific results to the worldwide research community!

Some of the perks of the jobs include:

  • Work with a creative, multi-talented team in a first-class academic environment contributing to the expansion of human knowledge
  • Entry salary typically within the 82-152K range (with yearly revisions) for grades 11/12/13 in the Boston area (see 2024 location-dependent pay scales)
  • Generous benefits, flexible work hours, and local (to the Cambridge, MA area) telecommuting and hybrid options
  • Access to the scientific community and events at the CfA and Harvard University
  • Engage with users at community meetings and present your work at scientific conferences in astronomy and information science

For more information, please see: