Proprietary Periods and Observational Data Access

The observational data are reserved for the exclusive use of the proposing team for a fixed period of time, after which they become publicly available. The proprietary period for Regular, Large, and Triggered proposals is normally a maximum of 12 months after the last observation. For data acquired by the VLBA, HSA, or GMVA, the nominal proprietary period begins when the correlated data are entered into the data archive by Observatory science operations. At its discretion, the TAC may recommend a proprietary period that differs from the nominal 12 month period. For Large proposals, the proposing team is encouraged to make their data available to the public after a shorter proprietary period. The TAC recommendation regarding any change in the normal proprietary period is considered as part of the Director’s Review. If the recommendation is accepted, the proposers will be informed and the reason will be provided.

The proprietary period for data acquired by DDT proposals will normally be no more than 6 months and may be waived entirely; i.e., under certain circumstances, the data will be available to other teams or the public as soon as they are acquired. The proprietary period for data obtained by ToO proposals will be assessed on a case-by-case basis but will be no more than 6 months. An example where this option might be exercised is when the announcement of a transient event by one team triggers an active proposal of another team. The data would be made available to both teams immediately. The relevant Director’s office, in consultation with the NRAO Director or designee, will assign a proprietary period for the data based on scientific and programmatic considerations.

The Observatory staff will have access to observational data at all times as necessary for technical analysis and performance tuning. In addition, if a project qualifies to be run through the Science Ready Data Products (SRDP) pipeline, then Observatory staff can download and reduce project data for this purpose. Until the proprietary period expires, Observatory staff may not disclose or scientifically use the observational data from projects for which they are not a PI or co-I, including projects they support, without explicit recorded permission from the PI.

For the VLA and VLBA, the observational data is released to the PIs soon after the data are collected via the Archive Access Tool. Users must log-in to access their data. Qualified datasets are run through the SRDP pipeline and can be accessed through the Archive Access Tool as well. For the GBT, the observational data are immediately available.