Abstract: The foundation of the scientific method rests on access to data, and yet such access is often restricted or costly. We investigate how improved data access shifts the quantity, quality, and diversity of scientific research. We examine the impact of reductions in cost and sharing restrictions for satellite imagery data from NASA’s Landsat program (the longest record of remote-sensing observations of the Earth) on academic science using a sample of about 24,000 Landsat publications by over 34,000 authors matched to almost 3,000 unique study locations. Analyses show that improved access had a substantial and positive effect on the quantity and quality of Landsat-enabled science. Improved data access also democratizes science by disproportionately helping scientists from the developing world and lower-ranked institutions to publish using Landsat data. This democratization in turn increases the geographic and topical diversity of Landsat-enabled research. Scientists who start using Landsat data after access is improved tend to focus on previously understudied regions close to their home location and introduce novel research topics. These findings suggest that policies that improve access to valuable scientific data may promote scientific progress, reduce inequality among scientists, and increase the diversity of scientific research.
Abstract: The Open access to Mars Assimilated Remote Soundings (OpenMARS) dataset is a reanalysis product combining past spacecraft observations with a Mars Global Circulation Model (GCM). The OpenMARS product is a global surface/atmosphere reference database of surface and atmospheric properties for almost nine Mars years that can be used by Mars scientists and engineers interested in global surface/atmospheric conditions and the physical, dynamical and chemical behaviour of the atmosphere for the recent past on Mars.
In the OpenMARS dataset, spacecraft observations of temperature, dust and water vapour from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument on the NASA Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, temperature and dust from the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft and ozone from the Spectrometer for the Investigation of the Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars (SPICAM) instrument on the European Space Agency (ESA) Mars Express orbiter are combined with a Mars GCM used at the Open University.
Abstract: The amount of data delivered by modern instrumentation and observing techniques is bringing radio astronomy in the era of Big Data, and the nowadays widely adopted Open Data policies allow free and open access to data from many radio astronomy facilities. A fundamental ingredient to enable Open Science in the radio astronomical community and to engage also public participation (the so called Citizen Science) is thus the availability of public archives in which data can be accessed and searched with modern software tools. A web-based, VO-compliant public archive has been built to host data from the Italian radio telescopes managed by the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). The archive main features consist in the capability to handle the various types of data coming from the different observing instrumentation at the telescopes; the adoption of a policy to guarantee the data proprietary period; the accessibility of data through a web interface and the adoption of VO standards to allow for successful scientific exploitation of the archive itself in the data mining era. We present the progress status of the public Data Archive for the Italian radio telescopes being developed to provide the international community with a state-of-the-art archive for radio astronomical data.
Abstract: Best known as the archive for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) is a multimission data center which provides public access to data from a wide range of astronomical missions. Throughout its history MAST has provided a variety of interfaces which enable both interactive and programmatic discovery of archive data. In this paper we will present the web service API (Application Programming Interface) for MAST, and associated Astroquery Python module. The MAST web service API aims to facilitate access to MAST data by providing a consistent, predictable, and flexible interface, that can be accessed using any language with the capability to send/receive HTTPS requests. The associated Astroquery API provides an intuitive streamlined interface for Python users that removes the need to craft and parse HTTPS requests/responses. In this paper we will discuss the method for building and executing MAST queries, and parsing the output, both in the web service API and using Astroquery. We will give examples of common API queries, and discuss integrating MAST API queries into an analytic workflow. We will finish with a discussion of the future of the MAST API.
“At Harvard College Observatory, women studied and curated over 130 years of the night sky, all preserved on glass plate photographs. The HCO’s Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection (also known as the Plate Stacks) is the world’s largest archive of stellar glass plate negatives, amassing over 500,000 celestial moments captured in time, some dating back to the mid-1800s.”
“Preprint repositories have traditionally served as platforms to share copies of working papers prior to publication. But today they are being used for so much more, like posting datasets, archiving final versions of articles to make them Green Open Access, and another major development — publishing academic journals. Over the past 20 years, the concept of overlay publishing, or layering journals on top of existing repository platforms, has developed from a pilot project idea to a recognized and growing publishing model.
In the overlay publishing model, a journal performs refereeing services, but it doesn’t publish articles on its website. Rather, the journal’s website links to final article versions hosted on an online repository….”
“Summary ? The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Journals are a vital asset of our professional society. ? With the push towards open access, page charges are a viable and sustainable option for continuing to effectively fund and publish the AAS Journals. ? The existing page charge model, which requires individual authors to pay page charges out of their grants or even out of pocket, is already challenging to some researchers and could be exacerbated in the Open Access (OA) era if charges increase. ? A discussion of alternative models for funding page charges and publishing costs should part of the Astro2020 decadal survey if we wish to continue supporting the sustainable and accessible publication of US research in AAS journals in the rapidly-shifting publication landscape. ? The AAS Publications Committee recommends that the National Academy of Sciences form a task force to develop solutions and recommendations with respect to the urgent concerns and considerations highlighted in this White Paper….”
“As a researcher who is trying to understand the structure of the Milky Way, I often deal with very large astronomical datasets (terabytes of data, representing almost two billion unique stars). Every single dataset we use is publicly available to anyone, but the primary challenge in processing them is just how large they are. Most astronomical data hosting sites provide an option to remotely query sources through their web interface, but it is slow and inefficient for our science….
To circumvent this issue, we download all the catalogs locally to Harvard Odyssey, with each independent survey housed in a separate database. We use a special python-based tool (the “Large-Survey Database”) developed by a former post-doctoral scholar at Harvard, which allows us to perform fast queries of these databases simultaneously using the Odyssey computing cluster….
To extract information from each hdf5 file, we have developed a sophisticated Bayesian analysis pipeline that reads in our curated hdf5 files and outputs best fits for our model parameters (in our case, distances to local star-forming regions near the sun). Led by a graduate student and co-PI on the paper (Joshua Speagle), the python codebase is publicly available on GitHub with full API documentation. In the future, it will be archived with a permanent DOI on Zenodo. Also on GitHub users will find full working examples of the code, demonstrating how users can read in the publicly available data and output the same style of figures seen in the paper. Sample data are provided, and the demo is configured as a jupyter notebook, so interested users can walk through the methodology line-by-line….”
“Our recent publication of a paper in the Open Journal of Astrophysicscaused a flurry of interest in social media and a number of people have independently asked me for information about the cost of this kind of publication.
I see no reason not to be fully `open’ about the running costs of the Open Journal, but it’s not quite as simple as a cost per paper.
The Scholastica platform we use (which is very nice, simple and easy to use) costs $99 per month. That includes professional website hosting with a custom domain, a built-in website editor (so the site itself can be easily customized), integrated PDF viewer, indexing through e.g. Google scholar, fully searchable metadata, and readership analytics. That amounts to $1188 per annum, regardless of how many submissions we receive or how many articles get published.
On top of that we pay for the Peer Review service, which amounts to $10 for each submission (subject to an annual minimum of $250). We pay that whether or not a submission is published. So far we have rejected significantly more than we have accepted. This system provides automated emails, deadline reminders, an interface for searching sorting and assigning submissions to editors, file versioning & blindness control, a reviewer database, metrics to track performance, etc.
The final charge is only for papers that are accepted: we pay a fee to Crossref to register the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). That costs a princely $1….”