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What is WorldWideScience.org?

WorldWideScience.org is a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals.

Maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) in partnership with the International Council of Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) (link is external), WorldWideScience.org allows the user to search multiple scientific sources from around the world with a single query. Multilingual translations capabilities exist for ten languages, enabling access to the most current findings in fields such as energy, medicine, agriculture, environmental sciences, and engineering. Much of the information accessed via WorldWideScience.org is freely available, in support of open science.

Figure 282132: Illustration depicting a computer displaying the WorldWideScience.org logo, surrounded by keywords.

Figure 282132: World Wide Science About Illustration

A laptop computer held up by a hand displays the logo for WorldWideScience.

A globe is set between, on the right, a grey crescent, to the left, a blue crescent. An orange crescent slashes across the globe from left to right.

Around the computer are the words, clockwise from top left, Federated Searching, Collaboration, Global, Research Data, Gateway, International, Open Science, Scientific and Technical Information, Databases, Multilingual, and Deep Web.

National and international scientific databases and portals participating in WorldWideScience.org benefit from increased usage and dissemination of their scientific and technical information, and from collaboration and organizational networking with some of the world's leading science libraries and information centers.

WorldWideScience.org Flyer (PDF 420.99 KB)

How does WorldWideScience.org Work?

WorldWideScience.org uses federated search to provide its encompassing coverage of global science and research results. Unlike some popular search engines that only search the surface web, WorldWideScience.org drills down into the deep web, which contains a vast amount of scientific and technical information.

Figure 282011: 2022 WWS Flyer Image for About Page

Picture of search form in front of earch globe with multiple words in different languages entering and exiting the left and right sides of the picture of the search form.

To search WorldWideScience.org, a user enters a query in his/her preferred language in the search box and the query is translated and sent to every individual database or portal connected to WorldWideScience.org, using both federated search and multilingual translations technologies. The individual databases and portals send back a list of results from the search query. WorldWideScience.org then ranks the results from all the sources by order of relevance, giving the user the option to translate each page of results. The user can review this list and travel to the host site of a particular result for more detailed information such as the bibliographic citation, abstract, and in many cases, the full text of the document.

WorldWideScience.org enables real-time searching and translations of globally dispersed scientific literature, with ten languages currently supported (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish), giving native speakers of these languages unprecedented access to foreign-language content.

History of WorldWideScience.org

The WorldWideScience.org concept was first conceived at the June 2006 annual conference of the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) and a WorldWideScience.org prototype debuted one year later at the June 2007 ICSTI conference in Nancy, France.

Stemming from a bilateral statement of intent between the U.S. Department of Energy and the British Library, participating countries transitioned the governance of WorldWideScience.org to the WorldWideScience Alliance, and officially launched the portal in June 2008 at the annual ICSTI conference in Seoul. A signing ceremony marked this milestone. The Alliance was closely affiliated with ICSTI, which served as a member and primary sponsor.

Figure 281913: Group photo of attendees of the WorldWideScience Alliance Signing Ceremony in Seoul, Korea

Figure 281913: WorldWideScience Alliance Signing Ceremony, 2008

Group photo of attendees to the WorldWideScience Alliance Signing Ceremony, held in Seoul, Korea 12th June 2008 at the C0EX Intercontinental Hotel. All attendees are holding their arms crossed across their chests, each holding the hand of the next person.

Photograph by: Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information
Figure 281909: Attendees of the meeting where the multilingual WorldWideScience.org was announced.

Figure 281909: Multilingual WorldWideScience.org Announcement Group Photo, June 2010

Attendees of the announcment of the Multilingual WorldWideScience.org, at the 2010 ICSTI Conference.

Photo courtesy of Jakke Nikkarinen/STT info Kuva

Recognizing the need to expand beyond English language scientific resources, multilingual translations capabilities were added to WorldWideScience.org and introduced at the June 2010 ICSTI conference in Helsinki. Improvements and enhancements since then have expanded the languages offered to ten: Arabic, Chinese, German, English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian.

In celebration of WorldWideScience.org's 10th anniversary in September 2018, a special panel convened at the British Library to reflect on WorldWideScience.org's growth and evolution over the past ten years, and to affirm its future role in supporting the open science movement.

In 2022, the WorldWideScience Alliance established a partnership with ICSTI, facilitating scientific and technical information dissemination across borders and supporting the next generation of science research communication.

Figure 281924: Group photograph of attendees of the WorldWideScience 10th Anniversary gathering. Held at the British Library, London, UK on 10 September 2018

Figure 281924: WorldWideScience Alliance 10th Anniversary Group Photo

Group photograph of attendees of the WorldWideScience 10th Anniversary gathering. Held at the British Library, London, UK on 10 September 2018

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