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ScienceBase User Agreement

By accessing this system, users acknowledge and agree to the following terms of use:
Audience / Intended Use
ScienceBase is a Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The platform is developed and maintained by the USGS to provide shared, permission-controlled access to scientific data products and bureau resources. Rather than serving merely as a generic online storage location, ScienceBase is designed to add value to digital data by exposing well-organized, documented datasets and scientific information over the web. Content within ScienceBase Catalog is stored within a standardized item model with consistent informational facets (e.g., title, abstract, keywords, etc.) and is accessible through both a web browser and an application programming interface (API). This enables powerful querying capabilities and makes it possible to integrate content into dynamic collections and connect ScienceBase-hosted data to external applications and workflows. For additional information, please visit:
Data authorship is reserved for USGS employees and individuals or groups working in partnership or as collaborators with the USGS (partner efforts must have one or more USGS participants). View and download access for public items in the system are provided to both registered users and the general public, whereas private items have restricted access constraints. For questions about system access as a data contributor, please contact
System Back-ups and Repository Status
ScienceBase supports nightly incremental and weekly full backups. This includes a nightly sync of content from the primary storage to secondary storage. The system has been certified as a USGS Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) by the Bureau's Fundamental Science Practices Advisory Commitee. For additional information on this topic, please visit:
Application ‘Up time’ and Issue Response
Barring unforeseen issues, ScienceBase can be expected to be operational, with full access to all content and services during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, Mountain Time). In most cases, ScienceBase is also fully operational during non-business hours however regular updates and maintenance do occur, sometimes resulting in limited system access. This type of maintenance will only occur during non-business hours. While rare, temporary outages during system ‘up time’ hours may occur. In this event, ScienceBase staff will work to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. Advanced or other interested users should consider signing up for the “Notify” feature to receive rolling updates and information in the event of system issues or outages (see below). Users can direct questions and report issues or bugs directly to the ScienceBase team (response within one business day during regular hours).
System Outages / ScienceBase “Notify”
The ScienceBase Team will provide relevant notifications when the system is undergoing planned maintenance or temporary downtime to users who have signed up for the ScienceBase “Notify” feature. Users interested in signing up for this feature may do so here: While all reasonable efforts are taken to avoid such events, unplanned system outages may occur. In the event that such an outage should occur the ScienceBase team will work to promptly correct the issue however, the team assumes no liability for any losses that result from the non-availability of the ScienceBase system.
Prohibited Content
Users will refrain from uploading:

  1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Users are not authorized to upload Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII is defined as information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. For additional privacy guidance please visit or contact the USGS Associate Privacy Officer at
  2. Fiscally sensitive information.
  3. Copyrighted or other restricted materials, outside of permitted use.
  4. Lewd or inappropriate materials.
ScienceBase Directory
ScienceBase Directory performs automated syncing with DOI Active Directory to manage contact information for current USGS and FWS staff. For these individuals, a limited set of fields (i.e., 'business card contact info') is publicly accessible to support the ability to link science products across current USGS and/or FWS staff. USGS or FWS staff members may opt out of having a public-facing entry ScienceBase Directory entry at any time by contacting

API Interaction and Programmatic Content Editing in ScienceBase
In addition to the browser-based interface, ScienceBase also supports powerful API access and interaction via any programming language that can access and parse a JSON response on the web or software that uses both standard services (e.g., Open Geospatial Consortium services) and a REST interface. This type of use is permitted for all authorized users, and while not explicitly regulated, users are expected to adhere to practices of responsible use in accordance to web convention, government policy, and the guidance provided in this document and by the ScienceBase team. Actions that may compromise the system directly or for other users (e.g., very high volume file creation or access requests, etc.) may be temporarily suspended by ScienceBase staff if necessary, so that a more opportune time or approach for system use may be arranged.
Please feel free to contact the ScienceBase team with any questions or for guidance related to advanced use. The ScienceBase team encourages innovative and collaborative uses for ScienceBase and will be happy to offer more targeted developer guidance and information on request.
Item Permissions
Users are responsible for managing permissions for their personal and shared community spaces and the individual resources they create and manage within the system. The ScienceBase team is not responsible for any deletions or modifications made by other users with write permissions to shared spaces. Please note that ScienceBase items with controlled privacy access settings remain visible to ScienceBase staff.
File Size Limitations
Funding and technical limitations are a factor with size restrictions, both for individual file uploads and the overall size of a community or collection’s content in ScienceBase.  Currently, files up to 20 GB in size are supported for upload (using the cloud file upload feature). For assistance with uploads larger than 20 GB please contact to discuss additional options. Files for which geospatial services are generated are currently limited to approximately 2 GB.
Download performance is dependent on bandwidth and network capacity available to users at their particular location.
Overall community size limits or use load may vary based on constraints of the system, the type of products being uploaded to ScienceBase, and the group or individual authoring the content and have not been formally defined at this point. A level of use is provided, free of charge, for all USGS authors as part of core science support. The ceiling on this use may evolve through time based on the ScienceBase funding model and tech stack. Other large-scale use cases may arrange details directly with the team. Fee-for service options may also be available for dedicated use and support or for other non-USGS partners. Please contact the team for more details or inquiries.
USGS Data Release Products in ScienceBase
In 2015, a new type of product, the USGS data release, was introduced as a resource within the USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS) to provide USGS scientists with a formal way to release digital data products.  In support of the USGS Instructional Memoranda (IMs) that set forth the initial guidelines for these products, ScienceBase has introduced a specialized workflow to support public hosting for formal USGS data release products. The guidelines below apply only to USGS data release products hosted in ScienceBase:
ScienceBase Team Responsibilities for USGS Data Release items
  • Before data releases are made publicly available:
    • USGS data release items will be required to have metadata and to have completed the IPDS review process.
    • The ScienceBase team reserves the ability to correct the formatting of metadata records and descriptive information related to distribution of data from within ScienceBase (accuracy, etc.). Correct formats for fields including citation and distribution information are available here:
    • The ScienceBase team will inform data providers of all changes that are recommended or required. If the ScienceBase team makes any corrections, the data provider(s) will be informed.
    • The ScienceBase team will not alter datasets, although team members may make recommendations for data formats to facilitate more long term sustainability and access to products.
    • The ScienceBase team has a set of criteria for data releases (informed by OSTP and FSPAC guidance), and will review data releases against these criteria to ensure these products adhere to USGS guidance. Official data releases will be identified by the data release team via system tags for inventory and tracking purposes.
    • The ScienceBase team will work with data authors to determine when a data releases should be made publicly available.
  • After data releases are finalized and made publicly available, additional edits will be restricted in most cases to help preserve accurate citations for finalized, static datasets. If the need arises for corrections or updates, data providers should contact the SB Team to discuss options for releasing new versions.
  • At this time, ScienceBase will provide reliable access to public data release items, however no formal plans are currently in place to conduct file format migrations or other ongoing maintenance for these products. Commonly-used open file formats are encouraged and additional services or conversion options may be available at a future point to help support these data types through time, in line with ongoing system improvements and data integration efforts in the ScienceBase platform.
  • The ScienceBase team will respond to data release questions and requests sent to or through direct correspondence with staff.
  • The time required to complete a data release will vary but will be determined largely by the data author (finalizing data, creating metadata, conducting FSP review, etc.). 
Policies for Making Items Public in ScienceBase
To remain compliant with government policies pertaining to publishing public content, the following policies are implemented in ScienceBase:
  • USGS policy requires that all public web content be reviewed by a content manager. To meet  this goal, the ability to publish items in ScienceBase (i.e., create a new public item, or change an item from a private to public status) will be restricted to USGS employees and authorized publishers. USGS users, by virtue of their Bureau affiliation, will be in a content manager role by default and will have the ability to publish resources. For non-USGS partners, working for or in partnership with the USGS, a publisher role has been created. This role will be granted to non-USGS ScienceBase users on an as-needed basis to ensure partner data stewards are able to create public items to meet their needs in the system. A non-USGS partner must have a USGS sponsor prior to being placed in the publisher role. The identified USGS sponsor associated with the user will assume the role of content manager for the non-USGS partner. For publisher access, please send requests to with first name, last name, and email address of the non-USGS partner and the first name, last name, and email address of the USGS sponsor. After the sponsor authorizes access, the non-USGS partner will be granted publisher permissions.  

Previously, a user’s 'My Items' folder in ScienceBase had no restrictions in terms of hosting public-facing content. To better meet the USGS public web content requirements, public items in a user's 'My Items' folder will no longer be supported. This location in the system was designed for items and resources intended for an internal/limited audience, or as a scratch workspace for users learning to navigate ScienceBase. New public items should be created in, or moved when completed, into an appropriate community folder or other public-facing folder as part of making the item available to public site visitors.

Notes / Additional Information
Role of content managers and sponsors        

  • A. Designate individuals authorized to post information into ScienceBase;
  • B. Train authorized individuals to ensure that publicly accessible information does not contain nonpublic information;
  • C. Review the proposed content of information prior to posting onto the publicly accessible information system to ensure that nonpublic information is not included; and
  • D. Review the content on the publicly accessible information system for nonpublic information at least quarterly and removes such information, if discovered.

For more information on the language of this guidance, please see:
AC-22 Publicly Accessible Content- -NIST Requirement (

ScienceBase Communities

  • Well-managed ScienceBase communities should define the intent of the collection, identify one or more data managers, outline processes and expectations for content organization, and define publication policies and minimal requirements for item content. For non-USGS users working in partnership with USGS, at least one USGS employee should be listed as a Community Manager that will also serve as a point of contact for the community.