This page describes the Rubin Community Science team (CST) and its responsibilities, activities, and members. (Prior to Mar 2023, this team was called "Community Engagement").
The CST is responsible for supporting the community to maximize scientific productivity and excellence in their use of the Rubin data products and services.
Model for Community Science.
The Rubin Observatory's model for community science is currently being developed and implemented by the CST. An early version is available in the Rubin Tech Note RTN-006. The model's three main components are: (1) Facilitate the scientific analysis of LSST data by providing documentation, tutorials, and workshops that are accessible and inclusive. (2) Coordinate expertise to resolve issues with deep dives into scientific applications and responsive and transparent communications. (3) Sustain a global self-supporting science community via online forums for peer-to-peer Q&A, networking, and collaboration.
Context within the Rubin Observatory organizational structure.
The CST is part of the Rubin System Performance department, which is responsible for ensuring that the LSST is on-track to achieve its 10-year science goals and includes three other teams: Survey Scheduling, Verification and Validation, and Systems Engineering. The CST is part of System Performance because the scientific results produced by the community are a key success metric of the Rubin System.
Community Science team members.
All CST members hold the role of "Rubin Community Scientist", are Rubin staff members, and most are employed at either AURA/NOIRLab or DOE sites. Internally, four team members hold specialized roles: the Lead Community Scientist (team lead and point of contact); two Community Scientists for Documentation; and one Community Scientist for Citizen Science. Several secondments to the team will be provided by international in-kind programs. A list of the CST members is available here in the Rubin Community Forum.
Who is "the Community"?
• Rubin community is a broad term that refers to anyone, anywhere, interacting with the Rubin Observatory data products and services, in any capacity. It is a union set of all of the following communities.
• Science community refers specifically to the subset of the Rubin community doing scientific analyses with the LSST data products and services.
• Science Collaboration members are science community members who have joined one of the LSST Science Collaborations.
• Rubin Observatory staff are individuals who work for Rubin Observatory as part of the construction or operations teams. All staff are members of the Rubin community and are data rights holders. Any staff engaging in scientific analyses are part of the science community, and many staff are also Science Collaborations members.
• Data rights holders are individuals with the right to access, analyze, and publish work based on the Rubin Observatory proprietary data products and services (such as the Rubin Science Platform) as described in the Rubin Data Policy document, RDO-013.
CST and the LSST Science Collaborations.
The LSST Science Collaborations are independent, worldwide communities of scientists, self-organized into collaborations based on their research interests and expertise. As the first place that many scientists will turn to for support, many aspects of Rubin's model for community science are designed to directly support the LSST Science Collaborations, such as supporting special groups and categories in the Rubin Community Forum; facilitating a Rubin staff liaison program; soliciting expertise and input to the issue resolution process; attending meetings as observatory representatives; and supporting participation in the annual Project and Community Workshop. All Rubin Community Scientists are members of at least one LSST Science Collaboration.
CST and Data Preview 0 (DP0).
As the first stage of the plan for early science with the LSST, the CST is implementing and revising its model for community science with DP0. The link to "Data Preview 0" in the left-hand sidebar leads to the DP0 documentation which contains tutorials, virtual events, and instructions for getting involved.
CST and Research Inclusion.
So far, efforts to seed expertise across the community during DP0 have included prioritizing DP0 access to those who identify as under-represented in astronomy; recruitment and engagement activities with researchers at small, minority-serving, and/or primarily-undergraduate institutions; and supporting researcher-led partnerships between institutions. Accessibility studies to implement tools for vision impaired astronomers are underway.
CST and the Rubin Users Committee.
The Rubin Users Committee is charged with soliciting feedback from the science community (LSST “users”) about the LSST data products and Rubin Science Platform, and recommending improvements in their twice-yearly reports that are delivered to the Rubin Operations director. The CST facilitates the Users Committee meetings, supports their investigations, and implements their recommendations.
CST and Citizen Science.
Given the unique size and complexity of the LSST data set, the CST anticipates that there will be certain scientific results that are only obtainable via citizen science methodologies. The CST will help scientists identify and prepare LSST data and documentation for citizen science programs, and will coordinate with the Rubin's Education and Public Outreach (EPO) department and Zooniverse to help ensure that the data are installed and the outputs will meet the program’s science goals. (We acknowledge that in some circles, the term "citizen science" is evolving, and in some cases to terms like "community science" or "public science" are emerging as preferred).
CST and the Rubin Community Forum.
In order for the model for community science to be scalable and sustainable, a thriving online forum is being built that enables thousands of LSST scientists to crowd-source solutions from a deep reservoir of expertise. A place where users can help users and staff can help users, without knowledge bottlenecks. Everyone is welcome to obtain an account in the Rubin Community Forum and participate.
Financial support for Rubin Observatory comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded Rubin Observatory Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The DOE-funded effort to build the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (LSSTCam) is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support Rubin Observatory in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.
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