Start Guide

Welcome to the SDSS collaboration!

This page is for members who are new to the collaboration to briefly introduce how to get started with SDSS. Follow these simple steps and soon you will be able to:

  • Join mailing lists, where important information such as project and paper announcements, ancillary targeting calls, survey meeting details, job opportunities, and other things are announced.
  • Announce your own SDSS projects and publications
  • Join the discussion of ongoing decisions within the collaboration
  • Find information on proprietary data, including proprietary Data Release 15, now available to the collaboration members.

Only interested in making the most of the current public data? Then our current data release page will get you started.

Getting a Wiki Account

To be an active member of the SDSS collaboration, the first step is to get a wiki account. Here’s how to do this

  • Go to the registration page of the SDSS wiki and complete all the steps.
  • When you send an email to asking for approval, cc your Collaboration Council representative, asserting that you are covered by an SDSS-IV data agreement.
    • You may look up the relevant person to cc on the Collaboration Council page. If your institution is not listed there then you are at an associate institution with < 3 slots or working with an external participant and should cc David Wake, who is your CoCo representative.
    • Mike Blanton approving your wiki account!
    • If you are suffering writer’s block about writing the requested email, please cut, paste, and edit the following as needed:

      Dear Trac Admin,
      My name is XXX from YYY University and I would like to register for an SDSS wiki account. YYY University is a full SDSS member institution (or, I am working with Dr. QQQ who is an SDSS member at the associate YYY institution, or whatever is appropriate) and therefore I have SDSS data rights.
      My username is sdssisgreat.

    You can see whether your institution is a full member institution, associate institution, etc. here.

  • If you have not heard back from trac-admin in 2 days, then double-check that you remembered to include your username. If so, then please check in with If not, then send your request again, this time with your username.

Behind the scenes, our very own Director, Mike Blanton, will be happily approving your wiki account.

SDSS Password for Data Access

To download proprietary data from the links on the wiki, you will need the SDSS-IV data username and password. To get this, please ask your Collaboration Council rep, anyone at your institution who is involved in SDSS-IV, anyone on a telecon that you are participating in, etc. This password is for SDSS members and other officially approved people only. So please do not give to inappropriate people (such as anyone without a wiki account).

What to do once you have a Wiki Account

To aid you in doing great science, here are some things to do from your wiki account.

  • Immediately sign up for mailing list . This is required of all sdss4 members. The number of messages averages 1 a day, but they are critical announcements of projects, publications, external collaborator requests, leadership opportunities, and collaboration meetings.
  • While on the lists of mailing lists, please see if there are other relevant mailing lists you would like to join. Many of these mailing lists are very active. Key communications include announcements of times and agendas for telecons, notes from telecons, calibration, targeting, and data reduction and processing discussions. They are an immediate way to tap into the expertise of the collaboration
  • APOGEE-2, eBOSS (including SPIDERS & TDSS), and MaNGA each have their own Quick Start guides:

Making Contact with the Science Working Groups

The Science Team Chairs for each survey, as well as the Science Working Group chairs for particular science areas within each survey, are very useful people to get in touch with if you have questions about how your project fits in with other ongoing work in the SDSS collaboration, to see if your particular skills are needed by a project, and in general if you have any questions about joining the scientific work within the collaboration. The current list of Science Leads can be found here. The relevant mailing lists are also an excellent place to get started, including for asking the question “How do I get the data I need to do this project?”

If All Else Fails

By following the above instructions, we think that you will soon be immersed in data and ideas. If you are having trouble accessing wiki, mailing lists, working groups, etc and the suggested steps are not helping, please email the Spokesperson at, and she will be happy to help straighten things out.