The SciX Logo NASA Science Explorer

SciX History

The NASA Science Explorer (SciX) is an enhanced digital library designed for discovering scientific literature in astrophysics, earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, and physics. Publicly introduced at the 2023 American Geophysical Union meeting, the intuitive (beta) search interface allows immediate exploration of the growing collections and links among papers, software, and data.

In 2019, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate envisioned a unified portal spanning its divisions (Earth Science, Planetary Science, Astrophysics, Heliophysics, and Biological and Physical Sciences) to bolster open science through access to their recorded knowledge. Because the NASA Astrophysics Data Service (ADS) provided innovative tools for aggregating and linking astronomy resources for over a quarter century, it was the natural choice for this expansion.

In 2021, NASA first asked ADS to cover Heliophysics and Planetary Science at a level similar to its astrophysics content. Heliophysics and planetary science are the two SMD disciplines most closely related to astrophysics. Therefore, ADS already included some material in these areas and was familiar with the nuances and semantics of these fields.

Next, NASA tasked ADS with building the Earth Science collection starting in 2022. With the formal launch of that content in 2023, “astrophysics” no longer adequately described the multidisciplinary digital library. Renaming the program SciX better reflects its breadth.

As a major component in the infrastructure of scientific research, SciX contributes towards the goal of open science. The highly interconnected records support the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles. The team is continuously improving this indispensable literature portal using open source code, models, and datasets. If you have suggestions about how SciX could serve your community better, please let us know.