Oral Abstract

Oral Contribution (O8.3) Anne-Marie Weijmans (University of St Andrews)

Theme: Open data access/provisioning

Streamlining the Sloan Digital Sky Survey public data releases: changes made and lessons learned

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has a long tradition of making its data publicly available. This tradition started in 2002 with the early SDSS data release, and 17 years later we are now in full preparation for Data Release 16 (scheduled for December 2019). Over the years, these data releases have significantly grown in scope, and have placed serious demands on the SDSS data, science, management, and education and public outreach teams. The data releases have however shown to be worthy of these efforts, as over 30% of the US astronomical community reported using SDSS data for their research, and over 8000 papers have been published based on SDSS data.

In this talk I will discuss the organisation of the SDSS data releases, with an emphasis on the changes that have been made in SDSS-IV (2014 - 2020). I will discuss my role as data release coordinator (newly created for SDSS-IV) and will show how we create the components of a data release, which include the data products themselves, catalogs, software, documentation and tutorials. I will showcase the new framework that we introduced in SDSS-IV to streamline the inclusion of value added catalogs (VACs) into the data releases: these VACs are contributed data products generated mostly by individual science team members. This new framework has made the creation of VACs more transparent and accessible, lowering the barriers for science team members to contribute and therefore significantly increasing the number of VACs in SDSS-IV compared to the previous surveys.