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ScienceBase Updates - Winter 2024

Winter 2024 topics include news on the Asset Identifier Service (AIS), an update on multi-factor authentication (MFA) in ScienceBase, a tip on using your "My Items" folder, and a featured data release on the wildland-urban interface in the United States.

The Asset Identifier Service (AIS) application programming interface (API) was released on December 20, 2023, and replaced the USGS Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Tool and the USGS Persistent Identifier Registration (PIR) Tool. AIS allows USGS personnel to reserve, register, publish, and manage USGS persistent identifiers to make our research more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). AIS includes separate modules for unique identifier types including the following: 

  • DataCite Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
  • DataCite International Generic Sample Numbers (IGSNs) 
  • USGS Persistent identifiers (PIDs) 
USGS Asset Identifier Service UI

The user interface (UI / website) for AIS will be released at the beginning of February 2024. The initial UI release will only include the DOI edit form and user dashboard. The PID edit form and user dashboard will be released later in February 2024.

AIS was created to leverage identifiers for people and organizations in order to build a connected persistent identifier ecosystem. To achieve this connectivity, AIS requires unique identifiers for all people and organizations (ideally, ORCIDs for people and ROR IDs for organizations). Additionally, AIS includes an optional contributor field for DOIs. Contributors are responsible for collecting, managing, distributing, or otherwise supporting the development of a dataset or software. These people and organizations deserve credit for their contributions but do not necessarily rise to the level of being included as a creator and listed in the citation. 


How does this change to AIS affect ScienceBase Data Release authors? 

ScienceBase Data Release authors shouldn’t see any major changes due to this switch to AIS. The ScienceBase Data Release Tool is now connected to AIS so authors starting a new data release can get a DOI just as they would have through the DOI Tool. When an author is ready to publish their data release, they will still reach out to the ScienceBase Data Release team at and the SBDR Team will update their DOI and make their ScienceBase landing page public.  

DOIs for software releases will need to be created and managed via the AIS API until the UI is released. Authors that need assistance creating or managing software DOIs can reach out to and a Science Data Management (SDM) team member will be available to help. 


What can you do to take advantage of the connected persistent identifier ecosystem? 

Diagram detailing the Persistent Identifier Ecosystem
  • Make sure your ORCID has been added to your Active Directory profile. This is the only way to associate your ORCID with your DOIs in DataCite. 
  • Encourage your external collaborators to register for an ORCID and include their ORCIDs when you add them as creators on a dataset. 
  • Encourage your external collaborators to request a Research Organization Registry (ROR) ID for their organization. Their organization can then receive credit as a creator or contributor for data or software products. 


How can you get contributors added to the DOI for your data release in ScienceBase? 

When you reach out to the ScienceBase Data Release Team to make your data release public, please indicate if there are particular contacts listed on the ScienceBase landing page that you would like included as a contributor and the team can get them added to your DOI. Learn more about contributors on the AIS SharePoint Site: What are contributors and how can I use this field in my DOI? 


How can I learn more about AIS? 


Multi-Factor Authentication in ScienceBase 

Screenshot of the multi-factor authentication log-in in ScienceBase

In order to comply with new Federal and USGS security requirements (Executive Order 14208 on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity), ScienceBase has transitioned to Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for user login. This means that DOI employees and contractors now use their PIV cards and DOI-issued PIN to log in, instead of their Active Directory username and password. ScienceBase users who are external to DOI should sign up for accounts to access ScienceBase. 

This change streamlines the login process for users. The new login method matches the one used in ScienceBase’s File Manager, the feature that allows users to upload files directly to cloud storage and publish to S3. Users who log in to ScienceBase are now automatically logged in to File Manager at the same time. 


Authentication for API use 

The elimination of Active Directory (AD) passwords has required updates to the ScienceBase Python and R libraries. The ScienceBase team has worked with maintainers for both sciencebasepy (Python) and sbtools (R) to coordinate new version releases. If you use these libraries in your ScienceBase workflows, please update your local copies to the latest versions.

For the near future, login with password will still work for connecting to the ScienceBase API (although users will still need to update their local Python or R ScienceBase libraries to handle changes). However, many users have already had their passwords removed from AD. All users should plan for password-less authentication with the eventual elimination of passwords from AD and should begin to update code accordingly. The latest releases of the R and Python libraries for ScienceBase now support a multi-factor approach for obtaining an API token and using it instead of a password.

If you’d like to adopt this approach early, you can obtain API tokens by logging in to File Manager ( and selecting “Copy API Token”: 

"Copy API Token" option on ScienceBase file manager

Within a Python script, you can use the sciencebasepy function sb.get_token() to open a browser window directly to the File Manager and the option to “Copy API Token”. You can then use sb.add_token(token) to start your session. For example:  

Example python code for accessing API

If you have questions about these changes or would like to request assistance with a programmatic connection using MFA, please contact  


Featured Data Release

Map of change in wildland-urban interface across the U.S.

Change in total wildland-urban interface (WUI) area (intermix and interface combined) mapped by the building-based method relative to census block-based WUI area, as percent difference, for each circular neighborhood size used to aggregate building locations and vegetation. Results are plotted by state to show important geographic patterns in the differences between the building-based and census-based approaches, in which the building-based approach resulted in the greatest increases in WUI area in the north-central states (Carlson and others, 2022)

The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is the area where cities or towns meet or mix with wildland vegetation. Identifying these areas can be especially important for assessing wildfire risk, as housing near the WUI is particularly vulnerable to wildfire. A recent data release on ScienceBase created new WUI maps for the conterminous United States. These maps integrate detailed building point data from a satellite imagery dataset produced by Microsoft and vegetation data from the 2016 National Land Cover Dataset, also available through ScienceBase.

This data release highlights the value and practicality of integrating and reusing data, merging freely accessible information from Microsoft with previously published data on ScienceBase. The data release landing page in ScienceBase has been accessed over 17,000 times, and its files downloaded over 5,000 times (according to the SBDR Dashboard) since its publication in 2022.

Carlson, A.R., Helmers, D.P., Hawbaker, T.J., Mockrin, M.H., and Radeloff, V.C., 2022, Wildland-urban interface maps for the conterminous U.S. based on 125 million building locations: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Carlson, A.R., Helmers, D.P., Hawbaker, T.J., Mockrin, M.H., Radeloff, V.S., 2022, The wildland-urban interface in the United States based on 125 million building locations. Ecological Applications.

Did You Know? My Items and Shortcuts 

The “My Items” section in Sciencebase is a personal workspace for users. It allows folks to create new items, manage shortcuts, and share their data products with selected other users. These features can help you make the most of Sciencebase as a platform for your scientific research. 


Creating an item

Creating an item in My Items 

One of the main features of Sciencebase is the ability to create items, which are collections of metadata and data files that describe your research. Items can be organized into folders, subfolders, and projects, and can be linked to other items or external resources. To create an item, click on “My Items” in the top banner. Select “Add” dropdown menu in the top right corner of the page, then “Add Child Item,” located in the navigation bar:

This opens a menu with three options: “Create New Record”, “Import File(s)”, or “Import URL”. The first option leads to an empty form for manual metadata entry and data upload. The second option lets users upload a metadata file which can auto populate the form. **Users who want to create an item for a ScienceBase data release should use the Sciencebase Data Release Tool** 


Adding a shortcut

Sometimes, you may want easy access an item from another Sciencebase folder or project that is not yours. For example, you may want to use a dataset from a collaborator or a public item from the Sciencebase Catalog. Instead of looking for the item every time, you can add a shortcut to it in your “My Items” section. A shortcut is a link that shows up as a child item in your folder. It does not copy or move the original item. It just lets you access it quickly and easily. To do this, find the item you would like to shortcut. Scroll down to “Item Actions” at the bottom of the page to find “Add Shortcut to…”. Then, select “My Items” as the destination.  

Adding a shortcut in the ScienceBase UI

The shortcut will be displayed in a list of child items in your “My Items” folder with an italicized title and a link icon.

Sharing an item

One of the benefits of using Sciencebase is that you can share your data and information with other users or groups. Sharing an item allows you to collaborate with others on your research, get feedback, or disseminate your results. While you cannot make an item public when it is in the “My Items” folder, you can share it with others. 

To share personal items from the “My Items” section in Sciencebase, you can follow these steps:  

Managing item permissions in the ScienceBase UI
  1. Navigate to the item you want to share in your “My Items”.
  2. Click on the “Manage” drop-down menu located in the top right corner of the page.
  3. Select “Manage Item Permissions” from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the “Manage Item Permissions” window, you can add users or groups with whom you want to share the item.
  5. You can also specify the level of access you want to grant to the users or groups you added.
  6. Once you have added the users or groups and specified their access level, click on the “Save” button to save your changes.