Frequently Asked Questions

What does Science.gov search?
The Basic Search at Science.gov searches over 60 scientific databases and an index of over 2200 federal agency Web sites. These authoritative, selective sources are carefully chosen by member agencies of the Science.gov Alliance. The Advanced Search capability at Science.gov allows the patron to limit their search to specific databases or topic areas.

How does Science.gov support the administration's e-government initiatives?
Science.gov is a cross-agency gateway to one of the government's most valuable resources – the R&D and subsequent information that it generates on behalf of the American people. This information, provided by 19 organizations within 15 major science agencies, is in key areas of concern such as health, defense, the environment, and science education. Science.gov enables users to search for information based on subject rather by the agency sponsoring it. In addition to providing searches of and links to information resources, some of the links from science.gov point to services that allow the user to perform certain activities such as ordering documents, calculating stream flows, etc. The site, a true collaborative effort, maximizes efficiency by allowing users to access one site instead of many to find government science information.

What is the Science.gov Alliance?
The Alliance is a group of science mission departments, agencies and programs that have agreed to work together voluntarily to produce Science.gov. Vision and strategic direction are provided by the Alliance principals. Administration is provided by the chair or co-chairs selected from among the Alliance members. Task groups have been created as needed to handle the development of the Science.gov taxonomy, to support content development and Web site management and to conduct promotional and outreach activities. Major support is provided by CENDI, a working group of high level scientific and technical information managers in science mission agencies.

What is included in Science.gov and what is not included? (selection criteria)
Science.gov includes sites that are rich in science content. The content may consist of scientific or technical data, publications, databases, documentation, or other forms of information. The content might also be science resources such as scientific user facilities, experts in scientific disciplines, or contacts to consult for assistance.

It does not include sites that are merely organization home pages. It does not include sites that require a password or other access privilege. Sites must also be well maintained.

Science.gov is hosted by the Department of Energy.

What is the difference between Science.gov and collections/gateways to government science information made available elsewhere?
The major difference is source and authority of the information. Rather than automatically collecting the sites using spiders as private sector gateways might do, the science.gov sites are selected by agency information managers and librarians as representing authoritative government science information. The information content results from government-funded research and development or similar activities in which there is a U.S. Government investment. The agencies are responsible for the content of their respective sites that are included in Science.gov.

How often will Science.gov be updated?
Science.gov will be kept current, with each component having a regular schedule for update. The listing of sites included in the browsetree will be updated every 6 weeks through submissions from the agencies. The number of sites added each 6 weeks will vary. Databases will be added throughout the year on a periodic basis. The deep Web database search updates immediately so that each search is current. The Science.gov websites index is reindexed each time sources are added.