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Please note that the policies on this page are no longer current and are of historical interest only.

NAIC Policies and Guidelines for ALFA Legacy Surveys

* Memorandum from the NAIC director to the PI's of the ALFA surveys (March 23, 2007)


Some of the information provided below will be revised to reflect the changes that occurred after the NSF-AST Senior Review.

1. Overview

The ALFA multibeam receiver is a facility instrument available to all users proposing scientific programs for its use at the Arecibo Observatory. There are no access or use restrictions unique to ALFA. However, because ALFA was built to enable very large-scale sky surveys, NAIC seeks to encourage the formation of research teams, consortia, to take on the task of conducting ambitious sky surveys with the primary goal of creating legacy archival databases for public use. The legacy sky surveys are done as a partnership between NAIC and the research consortia, the policies and guidelines for which are summarized here.

2. NAIC Commitments to the ALFA Legacy Surveys

In order to encourage the ALFA legacy surveys, NAIC reserves 50% of the observing time allocated annually to radio/radar astronomy for the approved ALFA legacy survey programs. This amounts to approximately 2400 observing hours per year for the ALFA survey programs. The allocation is reviewed annually by the Arecibo Users and Scientific Advisory Committee (AUSAC) and may be revised on the recommendation of the AUSAC. In addition, NAIC will work with the legacy survey consortia to establish the database archive and to make the links between that data archive and the NVO that are necessary to facilitate public access to the data products. NAIC will archive the raw data at the Arecibo Observatory.

3. Responsibilities of the ALFA Legacy Survey Consortia

The ALFA consortia are responsible for:

4. Oversight

NAIC will review the ALFA legacy survey proposals as they are initially submitted using the normal Arecibo Observatory refereeing process. In addition, the proposals will be screened through the "skeptical review" process using a panel of external reviewers chosen for their experience with astronomical surveys. Once approved by both of these groups of referees, the legacy surveys will be scheduled on the telescope for an initial period of 12 months. The legacy survey teams are required to submit annual progress reports that will also be screened by the skeptical review panel. The criteria for continued scheduling of the survey observations used in the screening by the skeptical review panel include the following: