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National Optical Astronomy Observatory

AURA/NOAO Data Rights Policy


B. Procedures for NOAO

2. Scientific Materials

a. Conditions of Use

Pursuant to its Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation for the management and operation of NOAO Facilities, AURA claims ownership over all intellectual property arising from its performance of that Agreement, subject to a comprehensive royalty-free license to the Federal Government. Such property includes scientific images and data, including, but not limited to, images, databases, catalogs, and scientific works (but not scientific papers produced by researchers using NOAO facilities). It is normally AURA's policy, consistent with the Cooperative Agreement, after the completion of the proprietary period described in subparagraph (b) below, to make such scientific images and data products available for free use by the astronomical community throughout the world. However, any use of such scientific images and data products is subject to the NOAO Conditions of Use policy, which is available from the NOAO Science Archive web site, including proper acknowledgement to NOAO, AURA, and NSF.

b. Proprietary Period

To promote the maximum scientific impact of data collected at NOAO facilities, all data will be retained and archived at NOAO, with the expectation that the data will be made available electronically to the world-wide astronomical community following a nominal period during which the proposing investigators have exclusive scientific rights. This "proprietary period" is subject to the following provisions:

  1. The duration of the proprietary period is normally 18 months from the time the data are collected at the telescope.
  2. Certain special programs (such as surveys) may be subject to shorter proprietary periods; these cases will be identified in the Call for Proposals.
  3. The proprietary period for any program may be shortened at any time at the discretion of the Principal Investigator for that program. PIs so inclined must notify the NOAO director or designee in writing.
  4. The proprietary period may be extended for certain programs at the discretion of the NOAO Director upon receipt of a well justified request from the PI. Normally this request should accompany the original proposal for the observing program, and such requests will be considered by the Telescope Allocation Committee during the proposal review process. Proposers will be informed of the approved proprietary period when they are told that their proposal has been granted telescope time.
  5. Meta-data that describe the individual exposures, including location and extent of the aperture, instrument configuration, time and duration of the exposure, etc., will be stored in a database that will be searchable by the community immediately upon ingest of the exposure in the NOAO Archive.
  6. All internal calibration data, such as darks, flat-fields, and arc-lamps, will not be considered proprietary, and will be made available to the public immediately upon ingest in the NOAO Archive.
  7. All data will be available to NOAO science and technical staff for the purposes of: For any other use, such as educational applications, NOAO will consult the PI.
  8. Data taken with an instrument for engineering or test purposes may have scientific value. These data are not considered proprietary, and will be made available to the public immediately upon ingest in the NOAO Archive.

This policy applies to all data obtained with NOAO facilities, and to all data obtained at partner facilities through NOAO-facilitated community access.

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NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Posted: Sep 1 2003

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