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Use of SOHO data --- data rights


The objective of a coherent policy on these aspects should be to ensure the maximum exploitation of the SOHO data in order to extract the best scientific output from the mission. For this purpose, it is necessary to find a just equilibrium between the two conflicting strategies. These are :

  1. to open up free access to the widest possible community, thereby making available special capabilities and expertise from outside the SOHO teams, and
  2. to protect the interests of the PI teams who have invested so much personal effort, and through rewards for this effort to motivate them to continue to work for the collective scientific interest.
Leadership in applying such a policy rests with the PIs, who have a moral responsibility for maximising the science from the mission, as well as the structure and authority within their teams for applying a well-defined strategy. However, since the joint exploitation of combined data sets is a key objective of SOHO, it is important to have joint PI or SWT agreements on this policy. This section summarizes the policy that the SOHO PIs have agreed to abide by with respect to the utilization of the data generated by their instruments.


Data access rights

  Two types of data access rights can be envisaged:

  1. Data access for planning purposes

    All SOHO PIs have the right to access all other SOHO data for the purpose of operations planning during the mission. They also have the right to have access to the data to survey them to evaluate their possible use for cooperative research, but not to carry out data analysis with a view to publication.

    Access rights defined in the above manner may serve many other useful functions, e.g. to allow potential guest investigators to verify the availability of the required data sets before finalising their proposal.

  2. Data access for analysis and research

    This is regulated by the data rights policy of the SOHO SWT as described in this document.

    Specific data rights policies are defined for the SOHO Guest Investigators (GI) (see 3.4.5) and for SWT approved campaigns.

SOHO science projects

A proposed project must consist of a clear scientific objective, together with the proposed means for its accomplishment. It might or might not include the need for new observations, the definition of new observing sequences, cooperation between several SOHO instruments or with non-SOHO space or ground-based observations. It can be based upon analysis of synoptic data over long periods, recorded primarily for completely different objectives. It can involve the use of a new analysis or theoretical techniques to analyse existing data. In spite of flexibility in the form, science projects must be closely defined. Otherwise, approval to follow one research aspect could be interpreted to cover a very wide range of activities.


PI individual responsibilities include :

  1. To manage, in the broadest sense the attribution of science projects amongst their team scientists and CoI's.
  2. To advise on the selection of Guest Investigator (GI) proposals which concern their instrument.
  3. To consider how wider access with appropriate controls could help in stimulating outside (GI) participation.
  4. To define, and announce publicly a Publication Policy. This should include a policy for initial publications; i.e. a declared number of early papers, formally authored, which can also give rewards for those involved in technical or engineering effort. An on-going publications policy should indicate the approval or vetting procedure (if any), authorship policy, etc.

SWT agreements and responsibilities include:

  1. Data access policy, as suggested above.
  2. Joint Public Relations activities
  3. The establishment and managing of joint science projects.
  4. Advice on the selection of GI joint science proposals.
  5. To encourage a common strategy for the PI (Individual) policy.

Data levels

The SOHO data are distributed to the PIs by two channels.

  1. A general line of SOHO data originates at the Data Distribution Facility (DDF):

  2. Another line of data originates at the EOF:

SOHO science data access policy

The intent of the SOHO data access policy is to provide data to as wide a community as possible and as soon as possible. From the beginning of the operational mission, the scientific community is welcomed and encouraged to participate in the analysis of the SOHO data in collaboration with the PI teams. The goal is to make fully callibrated data available for public use through ESA and NASA archives one year after reception by the PIs.
In addition to this general policy, the following rules apply:


A SOHO data archive is being developed at the EOF at GSFC for operation during the mission and for more than 10 years after nominal operations. This SOHO archive will contain copies of all the data sets referred to in section 3.1. The level 0 science, housekeeping, ancillary, summary and synoptic data will be gathered automatically. The PIs will provide the level 2 data according to an agreed schedule. It is understood that the data archived will have to be updated when improved versions of the processed data are generated. Three European institutions (IAS, Orsay, France; RAL, Chilton, England; Univ. of Torino, Italy) will host a copy of the SOHO archive at GSFC. The European and NASA archives will provide the necessary security and infrastructure facilities to ensure that access is limited according to the criteria agreed upon by the PIs.

Guest Investigators



A SOHO Guest Investigator Programme has been envisaged from the onset of the SOHO programme. To ensure the maximum exploitation of the SOHO data in order to extract the best scientific output from the mission, and to attract special capabilities and expertise from outside the SOHO teams, selected Guest Investigators (GI's) will have the opportunity to acquire and/or analyze specific data sets, or, for some experiments, to become part of the PI teams.

Nature of participation

Two types of GI participation in SOHO PI teams are foreseen, depending upon the nature of the SOHO experiment involved. For the coronal experiments (CDS, EIT, LASCO, SUMER, SWAN, and UVCS), GI participation will be of a traditional nature (like for SMM or Yohkoh): GIs will be attached to an experiment team and within that team have priority rights for the analysis of certain datasets (either newly acquired, or from the archive), or priority rights for a certain type of analysis of datasets otherwise available for study to the whole experiment team. An example of the first is the study of a specific event, for example a CME, and an example of the latter is a statistical study, say a study of the magnitude of redshifts as a function of position on the solar disc.

The data from the helioseismology (GOLF, VIRGO, MDI), and from the particle experiments (CELIAS, COSTEP, ERNE) are of a totally different nature; they do not lend themselves to being split up into `events', observing sequences, or time intervals, each of which could be studied by different investigators. Hence the mode of participation of GIs attached to these instruments will be different. It is envisaged that, possibly for a limited period of time, approved GIs will be included as members of the PI teams and share the rights and obligations of the team members, according to the team-specific rules. Approval of proposals for these SOHO experiments will depend on whether the proposed work adds to the expertise existing within the SOHO experiment team -- an example could be the implementation of a statistically superior method of analyzing time series for a helioseismology instrument.

Mechanics of selection

The first cooperative ESA/NASA Announcement of Opportunity (AO) will be issued on -issue, about 1 month after SOHO launch, and prospective GI's are required to react with a letter of intent by -due. Proposals will be due on -due. Proposals received at the due date by the Project Scientist Office (PSO) will be forwarded to the SOHO PI teams proposed for attachment. These PIs will comment on the proposals in writing, and forward their comments to the for consideration in the Guest Investigator Selection Committee (GISC). PIs can object to proposals that

A Guest Investigator Selection Committee (GISC) will be nominated by ESA and NASA after recommendation by the SOHO SWT, ESA's SSWG, and its NASA equivalent. The GISC will rate the GI proposals according to the evaluation criteria, and rank them in order. Those proposals will be selected that meet an absolute quality standard t.b.d. by the GISC, and rank within the cutoff defined by 30% cumulative observing time for the coronal instruments, or the maximum number of GIs for the particle and helioseismology instruments, set in advance by the PI teams.

The GISC will produce a referee report for each proposal. The referee report, the absolute rating of the proposal according to the criteria, and the notification of selection or rejection, will be forwarded to the GIs approximately -ann. For US proposals, the same will be forwarded to NASA for consideration for funding.

Selected GIs from other countries can forward their proposals and their GISC evaluations to their national, or to international agencies for funding. The 6 month time span between the announcement of the GI selection (-ann) and the start of the GI investigations (-gi) leaves time for the selected GIs to secure this funding.


After selection of their proposal, approved GIs will be assigned a point of contact within the relevant SOHO PI team, who will work with the GI until completion of the investigation.

Initial scheduling of the new observations from accepted GI proposals will take place at the last quarterly SWT meeting before the start of the GI investigations (-gi). Selected GIs approach their point of contact before this meeting (i.e. at least three months before the start of the GI investigations) to discuss the need for their presence during their observations, and the times of their availability. GIs that are required to assist with obtaining their observations, and that do not show up at the mutually agreed scheduled time, may lose their rights, at the determination of the SWT.

Approved GIs who have requested data from the SOHO archive should contact the Project Scientist at the EOF at least two weeks before the start of their guest investigation. They will be given network access to the approved data only in the SOHO data archive, and to the general SOHO software for visualisation and data analysis. If necessary, data can also be forwarded on tape, or by other media, but network transfer is the preferred means.

In case of accepted Guest Investigations which do not require new SOHO observations, or have to secure additional funding, the starting date of the investigation can be moved forward in consultation with the Project Scientist and the relevant SOHO PI Teams.

Selected GIs for the coronal instruments will have a priority right to carry out the research described in their proposal, and/or the data identified in their proposal, for 12 months after the receipt of the data in usable form, or from access to the archive. After this time the relevant SOHO PI team in consultation with the GI will decide on how to proceed. Approved SOHO GIs will have access to data from other SOHO experiments, in the same manner as SOHO Co-I's for the subject for which they have been selected.

Approved GIs for the helioseismology and particle experiments will become members of the relevant SOHO PI team. They may have to attend PI team scientific meetings, and otherwise will have to comply with the team rules on division of tasks, reporting, and authorship of publications. In general they will be the lead authors on publications of the direct results from the specific new research identified in their proposals.

The guest investigation ends 12 months after access to the data, or, in case of theoretical investigations, 12 months after the formal start of the guest investigation (on -gi). However, this period can be extended in mutual agreement with the SOHO PI team that the GI is attached to. A final report on the guest investigation is due within one month after the end of the investigation period. The final report shall briefly summarize the main results and list all publications resulting, or partially resulting, from the guest investigation, and have copies of these publications attached. After the final report has been submitted, the GI will provide the relevant SOHO PIs and the PS with copies of any further publications resulting from the guest investigation.

It is intended that the AO for the SOHO GI programme will be renewed every year, until several years after the end of the mission, with a similar review cycle each time.

next up previous contents
Next: EOF Functional Requirements Up: Data Previous: Standard formats

SOHO Archive
Fri Apr 28 14:32:42 EDT 1995