Proposal Assessment

The purpose of the proposal-selection process for Observatory telescopes is to select the proposals that potentially are most valuable for the advancement of scientific knowledge. This does not necessarily mean giving high marks to those proposals that will provide sure results; it also includes a careful consideration of well-reasoned proposals that may be unconventional, but provide opportunities for new discoveries. In the evaluation of proposals, reviewers consider how best to exploit the full capability of the unique scientific instruments that the Observatory operates for the community. Reviewers may also consider other factors such as

Publication record

Due recognition should be given to teams who have an established publication record for past related proposals. In contrast, some observers may have considerable data that clearly has not been analyzed and published yet.

Possibility of acquiring more appropriate data

Reviewers may also wish to consider the possibility that other data may be more appropriate for reaching the scientific goals of the proposal. For instance, the relevant data might already exist in the Archive (available through the Archive Access Tool).

Selection of resources

Reviewers may judge whether the requested observations are an appropriate approach to meeting the stated science objectives.

Resource requirements

Reviewers may take into account the amount of resources requested. For example, a particular proposal or scientific goal may be viewed as a valuable use of 4 hours of telescope time, but may not be as valuable if it requires 80 hours of time.

Student status

The Observatory encourages the use of its facilities for student research, particularly for PhD dissertations. In this case, it is most helpful if the proposal will say in some manner how the proposed observations will be used in the dissertation, and whether they are a sidelight or a main focus of the thesis. Reviewers are encouraged to comment on this topic and may choose to support proposals more strongly if there appears to be a well-thought-out program of student research.