The Committee On INclusiveness in SDSS (COINS) was formed to address issues having to do with inclusion in the survey. Our broad goals are to assess the SDSS project and collaboration’s climate and demographics, to recommend to the collaboration management new policies or practices with regard to increasing inclusiveness, and to assist in the implementation of these new activities where necessary. We publicize our findings to the collaboration and ensure that resources that promote inclusivity are widely accessible. We aim to provide the collaboration tools to improve the climate of equity and inclusion.

COINS in action

Core to our mission is the following definitions: 

  • Diversity: A variety of people from different  backgrounds or with different characteristics
  • Inclusion: Welcoming people with marginalized identities and giving them the resources needed to be successful
  • Equality: Providing the same access to everyone, regardless of difference and need
  • Equity: Providing the resources people need to be successful, meeting their different needs

COINS Initiatives

  •  Identification of effective ways to increase diversity in collaboration leadership.
  • Routine recommendation to SDSS-V on how best to develop its scientific and technical leadership team, in particular, so as to foster greater inclusiveness, ensuring equal participation in the Collaboration regardless of gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, career stage, geographic location, economic background, social and cultural backgrounds, etc and all possible intersections thereof.
  • Routine evaluation of the collaboration’s demographics, as measured by the representation in management, science working groups, collaboration meeting talks, review panels, and other areas.
  • Routine evaluation of the collaboration’s general climate, with respect to having a healthy atmosphere for encouraging young scientists to participate and lead scientifically, for good communication between young scientists and the survey leadership.

COINS Activities

  • Hosting new members and inclusive activities at virtual and in-person SDSS collaboration meetings: Bingo, speed geeking, new members breakfast, FAST buddies, reception ping pong, and lunch discussions.
  • Facilitating Bystander and Inclusive Leadership training at SDSS collaboration and survey team meetings.
  • Conducting SDSS-wide demographics surveys for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021, and 2023.
  • Creating guidelines for inclusive telecons, meeting accessibility, chairing, and conflict resolution (available to the public).
  • Engaging in conferences to promote accessibility and inclusion.
  • Producing a COINS Legacy document for future surveys and other collaborations.

Recommendations and Guidelines Documents

A major component of the COINS has been the creation and dissemination of practical guides to encourage inclusive practices within the collaboration. Below are links to versions of our documents prepared for the Data Release. In addition, we also have “living documents” available in our COINS Document Repository (Github), where the Documents section has content both as markdown pages and as PDF documents created from the markdown.

Best PracticesA document on best practices for an inclusive environment, which is complementary to the SDSS Code of Conduct
Meeting AccessibilityA set of guidelines and suggestions for making meetings more accessible, including suggestions for the venue, organizers, and participants
Chairing GuidelinesA set of guidelines for chairing at meetings to help the session be more inclusive and accessible
Telecon RecommendationsA list of recommendations for making telecons more inclusive, along with a few common questions and answers
Virtual Chairing GuidelinesA set of guidelines for chairing virtual meetings to help the session be more inclusive and accessible
Guide to Conflict ResolutionA set of guidelines for addressing conflict within the collaboration

FAST Program

COINS also has assisted with the implementation of the Faculty And Student Teams (FAST) program within SDSS. The goal of this program is to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in SDSS.

FAST: Faculty And Student Teams

Since 2015, the Sloan Foundation has funded a Faculty And Student Team (FAST) initiative. In June 2018, the Foundation renewed this grant for a second three-year cycle to allow us to continue this program.

The FAST program deliberately targets faculty and their students at US institutions with strong track records of serving underrepresented minority students. Each year, a cohort of three FAST scholar teams will be matched with established SDSS partner/collaborator to tackle a research project together. This can be a new project or one that’s already defined.

The FAST program provides teams with specialized training, data rights, and financial support to help them begin working with SDSS data. Ultimately the goal is that FAST teams will build long-term research relationships with SDSS collaborators and be a lasting and productive part of the collaboration.

COINS Membership

Participation in COINS was determined via an open call to collaboration members for letters of interest. A call was issued annually. The membership selects its co-chairs roughly six months based on the anticipated time commitments of its members. Participation in COINS was eligible for the FTE requirements of evaluation for Architect Status. We acknowledge our membership below and indicate those individuals holding leadership positions in the SDSS-V project.

Current members

  • Diogo Souto (co-chair 2022- )
  • Danny Horta (co-chair 2023-)
  • Emily Griffith (co-chair 2023 – ; 2022- )
  • Mary Loli Martínez Aldama (2022- )
  • Andres Almeida (2022- )
  • Rachael Beaton (co-chair 2019-2022; 2018- )
  • Katia Cunha (2022- )
  • Mariana Cano Díaz (2022- )
  • Logan Fries (2023- )
  • Keith Hawkins (SDSS-V Spokesperson; 2022- )
  • Priscilla Holguin Luna (2023- )
  • Amy Jones (co-chair 2017-2022; 2016- )
  • Darshan Kakkad (2023- )
  • Dhanesh Krishnarao (DK) (FAST liason; 2022- )
  • Sarah Loebman (2023- )
  • Aidan McBride (2023- )
  • Amy Rankine (2023- )
  • Alexander Stone-Martinez (2023- )
  • Artemis Theodoridis (2023- )
  • John Wilson (2019- )

Past members

  • Mehmet Alpaslan (2018-2020)
  • Alfonso Aragon-Salamanca (2016-2017)
  • Francesco Belfiore (2016-2017)
  • Sarah A. Bird (2018-2023)
  • Adam Burgasser (2016-2021)
  • Nancy Chanover (2016-2017)
  • Brian Cherinka (2016-2023)
  • Emily Farr (co-chair; 2018-2020; 2018-2021)
  • Diane Feuillet (2016-2017)
  • Peter Frinchaboy (2019-2023)
  • Zoe Hackshaw (2023)
  • Kelly Holley-Bockelmann (2016-2018)
  • Ting Li (2022-2023)
  • Penélope Longa-Peña (2018-2022)
  • Lucy Lu (2023-2024)
  • Sara Lucatello (2016-2018)
  • Mariarosa Marinelli (2019-2022)
  • Karen Masters (2016-2020)
  • Audrey Oravetz (2016-2017)
  • René Alberto Ortega Minakata (2017-2019)
  • Mallory Molina (2022-2023)
  • Jesus Pando (2018-2021)
  • Ashley Ross (2016-2020)
  • José Sanchez-Gallego (2016-2019)
  • Sarah Jane Schmidt (2016-2019)
  • Zachary Slepian (2017-2019)
  • Jennifer Sobeck (2017-2021)
  • Keivan Stassun (2016-2019)
  • Jamie Tayar (2016-2018)
  • Mariana Vargas (2018-2023)
  • Jason E. Ybarra (2019-2022)
  • Gail Zasowski (2017-2022)

Presentations, Posters, & Publications


Jones et al. (2023)Presentation of the 2015 and 2016 Demographic Surveys with a comparison to the 2014 surveys. Analysis of trends identified over the three years.
Lucatello & Diamond-Stanic (2017)A preliminary dive into the 2015 and 2016 Demographic Surveys as part of a special issue of Nature Astronomy
Lundgren et al. (2015)A demographic snapshot of the SDSS-IV collaboration in 2014 at the outset of SDSS-IV


A. Jones & R. Beaton (2022)Women in Astronomy blog interview (2022)
R. Beaton (2021)Inclusion in a Large Astronomy Collaborations (4MOST All Hands Meeting 2021)
R. Beaton (2021)The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS (SDSS2021 Collaboration Meeting)
K. Masters (2021)The demographics of Education Public Outreach (EPO) participation among professional scientists in the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys IV (Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2021)
A. Jones (2020)COINS, Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS: Lessons Learned (LSST Working Group Meeting)
A. Jones (2020)The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS: Demographic Surveys 2014-2018 (SDSS2020 Collaboration Meeting)
A. Jones (2019)Report on The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS (SDSS2019 Collaboration Meeting)
M. Alpaslan (2019)The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS (Presentation to the Multi-Messenger Diversity Network)
M. Vargas Magaña (2019)The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS (Presentation to DESI Collaboration)
A. Jones (2018)The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS: An Introduction (SDSS2018 Collaboration Meeting)
J. Sánchez-Gallego (2018)The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS: First Results from the Demographic Survey (SDSS2018 Collaboration Meeting)
S. Schmidt (2017)Report from The Committee On INcusiveness in SDSS (SDSS2017 Collaboration Meeting)
S. Schmidt (2016)Equity & Inclusion at the intersection of identities (AIP Equity Lunch)


Ross et al. (2019)Efforts to Improve Accessibility in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SciAccess 2019 Conference)
Jones et al. (2018)SDSS efforts on inclusion for bridging different communities (2018 IAU General Assembly)
Schmidt et al. (2017)The Formation of COINS: Equity and Inclusion in SDSS (AAS Meeting Abstract)
Holley-Bockelmann et al. (2017)The FAST Initiative: Fostering a More Inclusive SDSS Collaboration (AAS Meeting Abstract)

Materials and Activity Templates

Materials affiliated with COINS activities can be found in our COINS Materials Repository (Github).

Activities to Engage New Members

Collaboration BingoConstructed bingo cards that encourage members of the collaboration to meet each other during in-person collaboration meetings
Speed GeekingMeet and Greet activity where experienced and new members of the collaboration rotate through spending a short time (3-5 minutes) introducing themselves and their science. This adapted well to virtial meetings in 2020 using randomized breakouts
New Member GuidesEach survey constructed Getting Started Guides on the internal wiki

Developing Inclusive Leadership

Bystander InterventionStrategies for intervening in difficult situations
Town Hall EventsQuestion and answer sessions with the Collaboration
Code of conduct DiscussionsEvents to discuss the Code of Conduct and Best Practices for an inclusive collaboration

Demographic Surveys

Bi-annual Demographic SurveyEvery two years, COINS conducts a demographic survey of the Collaboration. The Survey also measures attitudes toward E/PO and Question Asking. Surveys were conducted in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021, and 2023.
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