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
- 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.
- 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, and 2021.
- 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 Practices||A document on best practices for an inclusive environment, which is complementary to the SDSS Code of Conduct|
|Meeting Accessibility||A set of guidelines and suggestions for making meetings more accessible, including suggestions for the venue, organizers, and participants|
|Chairing Guidelines||A set of guidelines for chairing at meetings to help the session be more inclusive and accessible|
|Telecon Recommendations||A list of recommendations for making telecons more inclusive, along with a few common questions and answers|
|Virtual Chairing Guidelines||A set of guidelines for chairing virtual meetings to help the session be more inclusive and accessible|
|Guide to Conflict Resolution||A set of guidelines for addressing conflict within the collaboration|
FAST and REU Programs
COINS also has assisted with the implementation of the Faculty And Student Teams (FAST) and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs within SDSS. The goal of these programs 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.
REU: Research Experience for Undergraduates
Most Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs are traditionally organized within a single institution. In 2016, SDSS supported a pilot program to investigate the possibility of building a student cohort in a distributed REU model. During that summer, six REU students participated in the program, including a week-long boot camp and four different REU sites.
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, as well as using to indicate members serving on the Management Council.
- Diogo Souto (Co-Chair 2022- )
- Emily Griffith (Co-Chair 2023- ; 2022 – )
- Daniel Horta (Co-chair 2023- )
- Rachael Beaton (Co-chair 2019-2022 ; 2018-)
- Amy Jones (Co-chair 2017-2022; 2016-)
- Sarah A. Bird (2018- )
- Brian Cherinka (2016- )
- Peter Frinchaboy (2019- )
- Karen Masters (SDSS-IV Spokesperson; 2016-)
- Gail Zasowski( SDSS-V Spokesperson; 2017-2022)
- Keith Hawkins( SDSS-V Spokesperson; 2022-)
- John Wilson (2019-)
- Jason E. Ybarra (2019)
- Mariana Vargas (2018-)
- Mallory Molina (2022- )
- Katia Cunha (2022- )
- Mariana Cano Díaz (2022- )
- Andres Almeida (2022- )
- Mary Loli Martínez Aldama (2022- )
- Ting Li (2022- )
- Alfonso Aragon-Salamanca (2016-2017)
- Mehmet Alpaslan (2018-2020)
- Francesco Belfiore (2016-2017)
- Nancy Chanover (2016-2017)
- Diane Feuillet (2016-2017)
- Kelly Holley-Bockelmann (2016-2018)
- Sara Lucatello (2016-2018)
- José Sanchez-Gallego (2016-2019)
- Audrey Oravetz (2016-2017)
- René Alberto Ortega Minakata (2017-2019)
- Ashley Ross (2016-2019)
- Sarah Jane Schmidt (2016-2019)
- Zachary Slepian (2017-2019)
- Jennifer Sobeck (2017-2021)
- Keivan Stassun (2016-2019)
- Jamie Tayar (2016-2018)
- Penélope Longa-Peña (2018-2022)
- Mariarosa Marinelli (2019-2022)
- Jesus Pando (2018-2021)
Presentations, Posters, & Publications
|Jones et al. (in prep)||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 Bingo||Constructed bingo cards that encourage members of the collaboration to meet each other during in-person collaboration meetings|
|Speed Geeking||Meet 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 Guides||Each survey constructed Getting Started Guides on the internal wiki|
Developing Inclusive Leadership
|Bystander Intervention||Strategies for intervening in difficult situations|
|Town Hall Events||Question and answer sessions with the Collaboration|
|Code of conduct Discussions||Events to discuss the Code of Conduct and Best Practices for an inclusive collaboration|
|Bi-annual Demographic Survey||Every 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, and 2021.|