The Astrophysics Data System Logo astrophysics data system


Who we are

The NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is the primary digital library portal for researchers in astronomy, astrophysics, planetary science and heliophysics. The ADS corpus consists of over 16 million documents and is growing at a rate of over ten thousand per week. Every astronomy paper ever published and nearly every physics and geophysics article refereed in the past 20 years is fully indexed by the ADS. Over 50,000 scientists and librarians use the ADS daily, all over the world.

Recently, the ADS team has been selected by NASA to extend its coverage and services into the fields of earth science and NASA funded research in the biological and physical sciences. This will create new opportunities for engagement between the ADS team and the other NASA science divisions, bringing together space and earth scientists in the pursuit of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate goals.

The ADS project develops and maintains services to facilitate the discovery and access of the scholarly literature published in the relevant fields of research. The project embraces the spirit of openness long championed by NASA and the astronomy community in general: 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.

The ADS 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 four openings to join our team of about eleven developers and four curators. The successful candidates 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:

  • the ADS Project Scientist for Astrophysics, who will work to establish and maintain the ADS as a world leading information resource for astrophysics and related disciplines. The successful candidate will maintain a deep state-of-the-art/practice knowledge of the aspects of Computer/Information Science which could be most beneficial to astrophysicists. The employee will maintain a state-of-the-art knowledge of Astrophysics and Astrophysics organizations, missions, and data archives. The employee will devote 30% of their time to do original research in Astrophysics. (apply here)

  • a Back-office developer experienced in designing well-structured software, data pipelines and REST APIs. The successful candidate will work in Python to enhance the ADS back-office architecture, improving the data processing pipelines and the public cloud-based API, as well as develop new functionalities to support the search engine and ADS natural language processing/machine learning plans. (apply here)

  • a DevOps engineer experienced in administering key components of software infrastructure, including kubernetes, search engines, relational databases, message brokers, and cloud-based microservices. The successful candidate will be responsible for managing and operating ADS’s on-premise and cloud-based computing infrastructure, ensuring the security, stability and scalability of the ADS services and its data; working with team members to ensure software modules are production-ready, including managing their deployment and monitoring; collecting metrics about system operations and service usage to support system monitoring, usage tracking and reporting; and collaborating with other team members and stakeholders in the design and development of new capabilities and the maintenance of existing functionality. (apply here)

  • 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

The ADS project is funded by NASA through a cooperative agreement and provides its services to the entire worldwide research community in astronomy and physics. 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 institution in the world. Here, scientists carry out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and earth and space sciences. By joining our group, 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, multitalented team in a first-class academic environment contributing to the expansion of human knowledge
  • Entry salary typically within the 74-115K range (with yearly revisions) for grades 11/12/13 in the Boston area (see 2022 location-dependent pay scales)
  • Generous benefits, flexible work hours, and local (to the Cambridge, MA area) telecommuting and hybrid options
  • Access to the astronomical 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

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