Publication Policy

1. Introduction

This document describes the policies and guidelines governing the publication of scientific and technical results from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV (hereafter SDSS-IV). The SDSS-IV Publication Policy is designed to promote the scientific and technical accuracy of SDSS-IV publications and ensure that fair credit is given to the authors and to other individuals who have contributed to SDSS-IV. By agreeing collectively on how publication issues will be handled, we aim to minimize future disagreement among SDSS-IV participants. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, this document applies to publications from work started with data taken with the SDSS-IV telescopes and instruments when the data were not yet in the public domain as well as data taken with the survey equipment during commissioning periods. While it does not officially apply to work started using solely public data, authors are encouraged to continue to follow the Publication Policy procedures for announcing Projects and Papers in these cases as well.

This policy applies to: papers submitted to electronic archives and refereed journals; scientific or technical books or book sections about the SDSS-IV and its results; graphical or tabular materials or discussions of results, in electronic or hard-copy form, that are based on analysis of unreleased SDSS-IV data and are generally accessible to non-SDSS participants (e.g., via a public WWW site or a publicly distributed preprint). The special cases of colloquia, conference presentations, conference proceedings papers, and theses are discussed in Section 9 and 10. Communications that are not directly covered by this document, but the dissemination of which should be consistent with it, include popular articles and books, circulars, telegrams, electronic announcements, press releases, and press conferences. Throughout this document, “collaboration members” refers to SDSS-IV Participants, as described in Section 3.1 of the SDSS-IV PoO, and those sponsored by the Participants as allowed by the PoO and the Participant’s institution’s MOU (see Section 4).

Responsibility for oversight of SDSS publications rests with the SDSS-IV Scientific Spokesperson (spokesperson@sdss.org). The SDSS-IV Collaboration Council (hereafter CoCo), which serves as an advisory body to the Spokesperson, has been charged with formulating this Publication Policy and ensuring that it is efficiently implemented to the benefit of the collaboration. The CoCo consists of one member from each Participating Institution with three or more Participants, plus one member who represents, and is elected by, the Associate Institutions with fewer than three Participants.

As the Survey progresses, the Spokesperson may propose revisions of this Publication Policy from time to time in what he or she perceives to be the best interests of (and in consultation with) the collaboration. Final approval of any changes rests with the Advisory Council.

2. Types of Papers

There are many ways in which proprietary SDSS data can be published or described. Scientific papers are based on analyses or presentations of the SDSS-IV data. The publication procedure and authorship for scientific papers is covered in Section 6. Technical papers describe the SDSS-IV instrumentation, calibration, software, strategy, and targeting algorithms. Technical papers may include some SDSS-IV data for illustrative purposes only. The publication procedure and authorship for technical papers is covered in Section 7. Data release papers describe the contents of SDSS-IV data releases to the public.The publication procedure and authorship for data-release papers is covered in Section 8. Using SDSS-IV results for colloquia, conference presentations, and conference proceedings is covered in Section 9. The announcement of theses and the authorship of theses is covered in Section 10. The release of time-critical information is covered in Section 11.

3. Publication Coordinators

Logistical responsibility for handling scientific, technical, and data release papers will rest with the Scientific Publications Coordinator (SPC), Technical Publications Coordinator (TPC), and Scientific Spokesperson, respectively. The SDSS-IV Director, in consultation with the Management Committee (hereafter MC), will appoint the SPC and TPC. The Publications Coordinators will ensure that publications follow the publication processes outlined in Sections 6-8 below. To aid in this process, they will maintain a common electronic WWW-based archive of all scientific, technical, and data release publications of the SDSS-IV, hereafter the Publications Archive, with accompanying graphical and tabular material. The Publications Archive shall be accessible to collaboration members only. The Publications Archive will contain the following proprietary information and links to public documents:

a. projects under investigation or in preparation,
b. papers available for review by the collaboration
c. papers approved for public distribution and journal submission
d. other SDSS-IV documents of general interest, such as related papers by SDSS-IV participants not based upon SDSS-IV data, common proposals, etc.
e. the SDSS-IV acknowledgement script required on publications
f. the current list of SDSS-IV Architects and participants (Sections 4 & 5)
g. the current version of this Publication Policy.

The papers in this archive that have been approved for public distribution can thereafter be used by any SDSS-IV participant for purposes of public presentation, review articles, etc.

The Scientific Spokesperson will have overall responsibility for the Publications Archive. The TPC will maintain a complete list of technical publications describing the hardware, software, etc on the Publications Archive. The SPC is responsible for assuring that all SDSS-IV papers (scientific, technical, and data release) reference the appropriate technical papers. The TPC will help coordinate publication of these technical papers to ensure that technical documentation of the project is disseminated efficiently and promptly. The Scientific Spokesperson will coordinate the publication of the data release papers.

4. Participants

Participants are defined in Section 3.1 of the SDSS-IV PoO. An updated list of participants shall be maintained by the Spokesperson, with input from the participating institutions. All participants and other collaboration members must read and agree to the contents of this document before accessing the SDSS-IV data and must follow the rules of authorship and publication described in this document. Those who violate these rules may be sanctioned, with the potential of losing participant status or data access in severe cases.

4.1 Non-Participants

According to Section 3.1 of the SDSS-IV PoO, Participants may request permission to share a limited and approved portion of the SDSS proprietary data archive with non-Participants who are not at member institutions of the SDSS-IV for collaborative research on a specific topic or project. The policy regarding use of proprietary SDSS data by these non-participants, or external collaborators, can be found in the

Policy for external collaborators

Once granted limited data access, non-participants must read and agree to the contents of this document and follow the rules described herein. Non-participants violating these rules may lose their External Collaborator status and data access.

5. Architects

In order to ensure that proper credit is given to those who were responsible for the construction and maintenance of the hardware, software, and other infrastructure of the SDSS, the CoCo and MC will establish a list of “Architects”.

Architects are those who have made substantial contributions to the success of the SDSS-IV survey outside of explicit scientific results, including (but not limited to) work on optics, telescope, infrastructure, calibration, camera, spectrographs, data reduction and archiving software, commissioning, management, collaboration climate, centrally organized or sponsored work in the areas of education and public outreach, and major fundraising. We emphasize that the above list does not include all possible contributions that can be considered toward Architect status. The definition of “substantial contribution” is a total of one year of effort across the whole SDSS-IV collaboration (see SDSS-IV PoO as well). This can include multiple small (part-time) contributions to all the SDSS-IV surveys that total to a year of effort spread over several years. Work done for SDSS-I/II/III does not count to this total.

To request Architect status, an individual (or someone acting on behalf of the proposed Architect, e.g., a CoCo representative) should submit a brief summary of their contributions to the CoCo for assessment. The justification must extend beyond merely being on the SDSS-IV payroll, or being involved in SDSS-IV science activity, for the appropriate length of time. The CoCo will make a formal recommendation to the MC (who makes the final approval) on all requests for Architect status.

The Scientific Spokesperson will keep the Architect list up-to-date, including a brief summary of the contributions for which Architect status was awarded, and posted to the Collaboration web page. Since individuals become members of the above lists by dint of work already performed, they cannot be removed unless they explicitly request removal. Architects remain on the Architect list when they leave an SDSS-IV participating institution and even in the unlikely event that they commit sufficient infractions to have their data rights revoked.

Once approved, Architects can add their name to any science paper that they have read and whose main content and results, especially items close to their expertise and contributions, they broadly understand (See Section 6.2).

6. Scientific Publications

6.1 Publication Procedure

To ensure that SDSS-IV publications fairly represent the contributions of those involved and that publications are vetted in a timely and efficient manner, scientific papers based on unreleased SDSS-IV data will be handled as follows:

a. As soon as a specific scientific investigation begins, a project team of SDSS-IV collaboration members identifies a team contact who must fill out the form at the SDSS-IV Projects Web Page listing a project title, a list of current project members, and a brief abstract of the intended project. An electronic announcement of the project will then be automatically sent to the collaboration. At this, and any other stage of the process, other collaboration members can join the project.

b. When the scientific paper has been written, the project team posts the paper to the Publication Archive as a pending paper, which will send an electronic notification to the sdss4-general mailing list. This announcement must indicate the journal to which the paper will be submitted. Posting a manuscript to the Publication Archives indicates that the analysis group considers the paper ready for submission to the journal; at most any remaining intended changes should be very limited in scope and described in the comments that accompany the posting. Collaboration members have three weeks to make comments, request co-authorship, etc, to the project team contact (with copies sent to the SPC). The team contact is required to circulate substantive comments received on the paper’s content, along with the team’s response. The project team revises the paper in response to the comments and other requests it deems valid. The SPC, or a representative of the SPC, also checks that the authorship, references, and acknowledgements fairly represent the contributions made to the publication, in particular checking that the appropriate SDSS-IV technical publications are referenced. The SPC carries out this duty within the same three-week period. All science publications, with the possible exception of conference proceedings, must contain the standard SDSS-IV acknowledgement, which is maintained by the Spokesperson and posted on the Publications Archive. A publication can be withdrawn at any stage of this process.

c. The authors revise the paper according to comments and suggestions from the collaboration. At the end of the three week period, or at the end of the revision process (whichever is longer), the final version of the paper is posted to the Publications Archive and, as a professional courtesy, a final version of the paper should be sent to all co-authors by the lead author(s) 48 hours before submission to a journal (and/or the arXiv archive) to solicit any final critical comments or issues. After this final stage, the paper, its results and accompanying material may normally be submitted for publication in a journal and to the arXiv archive (the latter is left to the discretion of the lead author(s)). The paper is not considered public until its embargo is lifted by the lead author(s), as indicated at its posting in the Publications Archive (or until its appearance in the arXiv archive or the publication to which it was submitted, should the lead author(s) neglect to lift the embargo before then). Until the embargo is lifted, the paper and its results cannot be quoted in public, referenced in other publications, etc. without the permission of the lead author(s).

d. When a project team makes revisions in response to an external referee report, it should post the final accepted or published version on the Publications Archive. In cases of disputes about credit, authorship, or scientific results, the SPC shall work with the author(s) and collaboration members to resolve them. In cases where a dispute cannot be resolved, the issue will be settled by the Spokesperson. Decisions by the Spokesperson may be appealed to the Director, or, if the Director has a conflict of interest, to the Advisory Council Executive Committee.

Publications based on projects started with proprietary SDSS-IV data should follow the publication procedure outlined in this section, even if the data being used has become public during the project and before any publications have been finished and posted to the SDSS-IV publication page. This was standard practice in SDSS-I/II/III.

6.2 Author inclusion

A scientific paper will include in its author list any individual who has made a significant contribution to that specific research project, along with all Architects who have requested authorship. Authorship requests should be made via the webform available through a link on the publication page. With the exception of Architects, those requesting co-authorship must include a brief description of their contributions to the project.The first author, in consultation with the analysis team, may determine an acknowledgment is more appropriate in some cases.

Anyone who has been placed on a paper’s author list may make a request to the paper’s team contact at any time that her or his name be removed from the paper and it shall be removed.

We stress that all authors should have read and broadly understood the content of all papers they are co-authors on. SDSS-IV’s co-authorship policies reflect the spirit of guidelines outlined by professional societies such as the American Astronomical Society and the American Physical Society and as cited in the PoO-IV.

In addition to following the above policies, lead authors should keep co-authors informed and their consent obtained as for non-SDSS papers.

6.2.1 Two-group author order

The scientific achievements of the SDSS are truly collaboration achievements, because the SDSS hardware and software make possible projects that would in many cases be inconceivable without them (or without some similarly ambitious undertaking). However, an authorship policy that strictly recognizes all scientific papers purely as products of the collaboration (e.g., alphabetical authorship on all papers) runs the risk of making the individuals in the project effectively anonymous, and it provides little incentive for project participants to analyze the data quickly rather than wait for data to become public. Therefore for most SDSS-IV scientific publications, the order of authorship will not be alphabetical. One alternative is a “two-group” system. The first group of authors, the “analysis group”, will consist of those who were heavily involved in the specific analysis described in the paper and in the writing of the paper. The other group will consist of all other authors on the paper and will be ordered alphabetically after the analysis group authors.

Membership in the analysis group and order of authorship within the analysis group is decided by those involved in writing the paper, just as they would decide on membership and order in the author list if they were writing a non-SDSS science paper.

6.2.2 Alphabetical author order

For some key papers, the author list may be alphabetical. To ensure that the publication plan is clear to collaboration members from the start, the announcement of projects (See Section 6.1.a) where one or more of the resulting papers is expected to have an alphabetical author list should include the planned scope of such papers along with their identification as alphabetical author papers.

7. Technical Publications

Technical papers have a special status in the SDSS-IV. As described above in Types of Papers, their content differs from scientific papers. As described in this section below, they are not subject to the same authorship rules as scientific papers, and their page charges are covered by the project.

7.1 Publication Procedure

a. Prospective authors of a technical paper must submit to the Technical Publications Coordinator (TPC) a summary of the proposed paper, which includes an outline, expected author list, and a justification for designation as a technical paper. Authors are encouraged to consult with the TPC and the Survey Science Teams during the development of the proposal. The TPC will present the proposal to the Management Council (MC), which will decide in a timely manner whether to designate the work as a technical paper. The MC’s decision in the matter is final.
b. When a technical paper has been approved, the project team working on the technical aspects should identify a team contact who then fills out the form at the SDSS-IV Projects Web Page listing a project title, a list of current project members, and a brief abstract of the intended project. An electronic announcement of the project will then be automatically sent to the collaboration.
c. When the project team has prepared a submission-ready (see Section 6.1.b) paper, they post it to the Publications Archive. This announcement must indicate the journal to which the paper will be submitted. The TPC, or a representative of the TPC, will review the paper to ensure that the authorship, references, and acknowledgements fairly represent the contributions made to the publication. All technical publications must contain the standard SDSS-IV acknowledgement, which is maintained by the Spokesperson and posted on the Publications Archive.
d. The TPC and collaboration members have three weeks to send comments to/request changes from the lead author. Copies of comments should also be sent to the TPC. The lead author(s) follows the procedures for revisions in response to comments in Section 6.1.c.
e. The lead author posts the final draft on the Publications Archive and submits the paper to the appropriate journal and the arXiv archive. The contents of the paper may thereafter be quoted in public presentations, etc., by members of SDSS-IV.
f. When a technical paper is revised in response to an external referee report, the lead author will post the final version on the Publication Archive.

In the case of disputes about technical publications, which the TPC cannot resolve, the matter may be referred to the Spokesperson for a decision. Decisions by the Spokesperson may be appealed to the Director, or, if the Director has a conflict of interest, to the Advisory Council Executive Committee.

7.2 Author inclusion

Those who have worked on a particular component or subsystem will author the appropriate technical paper, with author order decided by the authors. In contrast to scientific publications, Architects who are not part of the project team may not request co-authorship. Lead authors should discuss questions or concerns about the author list with the TPC. In addition to following the above policies, lead authors should keep co-authors informed and their consent obtained as for non-SDSS papers.

8. Data-Release Publications

Major releases of SDSS-IV data will be accompanied by a paper (or papers) describing the contents of these data releases. The Scientific Spokesperson and the Chairs of the Survey Science Teams (SSTs) shall be responsible for the production of journal papers that describe all of the SDSS-IV data releases. The schedule for these publications is determined by the schedule for data releases. There are no announced projects associated with these papers.

8.1 Publication Procedure

a. When the Spokesperson and STCs have prepared a submission-ready (see Section 6.1.b) paper, they post it to the Publication Archive. This announcement must indicate the journal to which the paper will be submitted. All data-release papers must contain the standard SDSS-IV acknowledgement, which is maintained by the Spokesperson and posted on the Publications Archive.
b. Collaboration members have three weeks to send comments to/request changes from the Spokesperson and STCs. The Spokesperson follows the procedures for revisions in response to comments in Section 6.1.c.
c. The Spokesperson posts the final draft on the Publication Archive and submits the paper to the appropriate journal and the arXiv.
d. When a data-release paper is revised in reponse to external referee report, the Spokesperson will post the final version to the Publication Archive.

8.2 Author Inclusion

The Spokesperson and SST Chairs, in consultation with the CoCo, shall also determine the author list. All data release papers have alphabetical author lists. Those who have contributed to the writing of the data release paper or who have contributed in a substantive way (typically one month of effort) to the creation or science validation of the data described in the paper are eligible to be authors. Only persons who request to be co-authors are included on the author list. In addition to following the above policies, lead authors should keep co-authors informed and their consent obtained as for non-SDSS papers. Unresolved disputes about authorship will be settled by the Spokesperson. Decisions by the Spokesperson may be appealed to the Director, or, if the Director has a conflict of interest, to the Advisory Council Executive Committee.

9. Colloquia, conference presentations, and conference proceedings

9.1 Use of Results "In Progress" for Conference Presentations

In oral or display presentations, colloquium or conference speakers and presenters may, upon consultation with the project team contact, make use of SDSS-IV results that have not (yet) appeared in papers submitted to the Publication Archive and subsequently published or posted to arXiv as a submitted paper. Conference presenters are expected to give appropriate credit to the SDSS-IV Collaboration and to those involved in producing the results shown or described. Results should be presented from announced projects only.

9.2 Use of Results "In Progress" for Online Archives of Conference Presentations

If the conference organizers are uploading the conference proceedings to a publicly accessible site, the relevant working group or survey must be consulted before any material not yet appearing in a submitted and unembarged paper or in a published (including on arXiv) paper is included. In all cases, only material presented in public by the speakers can be posted to conference websites (i.e., extra slides containing unpublished results must be removed if not presented in public as part of the talk).

9.3 Publication Process for Conference Proceedings

Conference proceedings are required to follow the publication procedure described in Section 6.1. In special cases, given the realities of conference proceedings submission deadlines, the authors may request from the Spokesperson an exception from some or all of the publication process requirements, such as exemption from including the full SDSS-IV Acknowledgments.
Such requests should be submitted at least three weeks prior to the submission deadline.

9.4 Author inclusion

Because of the practical constraints of page limits, submissions to conference proceedings are not required to follow the authorship policy of other scientific publications. However, any conference paper that does not follow this authorship policy may only include quantitative results (tables and figures, for example) based on papers that have been published or submitted for publication, and it must reference those papers as the primary source for the results. The rationale for this requirement is that conference papers authored by a single author or a small group should not become the primary reference for results that are properly products of the SDSS-IV Collaboration.

10. Theses

All theses in which SDSS-IV data play an essential role must be announced to the collaboration when they are begun, just as with other publications (see Section 6.1.a above). It is the responsibility of each SDSS-IV institution to work out a process for publishing theses which is consistent with both SDSS-IV and departmental policies.

Theses based on SDSS-IV data should not be distributed to the public via the WWW or other electronic archives until either the data on which it is based are public or journal articles describing its main results have been published or submitted for publication. Any such distribution should note the journal articles describing the results, so that they can be appropriately cited by others.

The SDSS-IV Spokesperson will maintain a list of approved SDSS-IV theses in the Publication Archive. The contents of this list are included in quarterly and annual reports to demonstrate the contribution of the SDSS to graduate education.

Although they would otherwise qualify as scientific or technical papers, some undergraduate or graduate theses will be authored by a single author. However, it is required that the author will acknowledge the contribution of the SDSS-IV collaboration and reference the papers describing the thesis results that have been published in or submitted to research journals.

11. Dissemination of Time-critical Information

The SDSS-IV will detect time-variable events and/or objects for which timely dissemination to the broader astronomical community will pay big scientific dividends. Participants who carry out programs with SDSS-IV data that detect time-critical events are encouraged to report these to the collaboration as a whole and to the broader community through IAU Circulars and the like. Given the space constraints and expense of IAU Circulars, the attribution for the report should read “The Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV (see http://www.sdss.org/) reports…”. Relevant finding charts, positions, and photometry drawn from the SDSS-IV data set can be released. Authors of time-critical results can also request to the Spokesperson and CoCo for a shorter review period (outlined in Section 6.1.b) if the scientific dividends are high and/or there is a fear of being scooped by others not part of the SDSS-IV collaboration. Such cases will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the CoCo and Spokesperson.

Members of the collaboration who wish to regularly release substantial amounts of time-critical data, such as positions and photometry of asteroids, must request approval from the SDSS-IV MC. Upon approval, the project must be posted to the Publications Page under the category of “On-line Catalog”. At this point the project falls under the rules governing Scientific Publications (three week posting period, authorship rules). Since some (if not all) of these publications will be “living documents”, individuals who contribute to the publication but were not part of the project when it was originally posted can, with approval of the lead author, be added to the list of authors at any time.

12. Page Charges

SDSS-IV funds will not be used to pay page charges for any scientific paper. The SDSS-IV will pay page charges for approved technical and data release papers, subject to the budget.