A Guide to SDSS Publication Procedures
by David Weinberg, SDSS Scientific Publications Coordinator
This is an informal guide to SDSS publication procedures.
It is intended to supplement the formal description of the
SDSS Scientific and Technical Publication Policy.
If you have never read the publication policy, you should do so.
If you are wondering specifically about a paper that uses only
on publicly released SDSS data, please read the advice of the
CoCo on this topic
As the SDSS Scientific Publications Coordinator (SPC), it is my
job to ensure that SDSS scientific papers follow the publication policy.
The purpose of this guide is partly to save you having
to re-read the publication policy before every paper, but mostly
to highlight the most significant points and to give some additional
details --- in some cases these are ``implementation customs'' that
have developed subsequent to the policy itself.
You should read this guide every time you are ready to
submit a paper, in part to see whether anything has changed.
I'll first address journal article submissions, then conference proceedings
Steps in submitting an SDSS scientific publication to a journal
Decide on the ``analysis group'' author list. The publication policy,
defines the analysis group to be those who were heavily involved in the
specific analysis described in the paper and in the writing of the paper.
Check that your manuscript includes the up-to-date version of the
SDSS acknowledgment, which you should get from the
of www.sdss.org. Do not copy the acknowledgment from some previous
paper, since it changes from time to time as new institutions join
the SDSS; always get the new version.
Titles should not have "based on data from the SDSS" footnotes;
the only standard acknowledgment is the one above, at the end of the
As stated in
Section 3 of the publication policy, "All SDSS scientific papers should
reference the appropriate technical papers." You can effectively read
"should" as "must" --- the purpose of this clause is partly to ensure that
readers get pointers to the right technical information, but equally to
ensure that those who have developed the technical infrastructure of the
SDSS are appropriately recognized and rewarded by having highly cited papers.
You can find a list of the required technical references
here. One of my jobs as Scientific Publications
Coordinator is to tell you to include any technical references that
you missed, but my life will be easier if you
include them all the first time. The list is presently short because
many of these papers have not yet been submitted for publication, but
it will grow a lot in the next few months, so check this list before
every paper you submit.
Post your manuscript to the
Posting the paper will automatically generate an e-mail to sdss-general
announcing the posting and create a link from the index page to the
file that you specify, which people can download to get the manuscript.
(Note that this procedure supersedes the description in 8.1.ii of
the publication policy, which says that the contact author forwards the
paper to the SPC.)
A manuscript is eligible for submission to the journal 3 weeks after it
has been posted to the publication index.
Very important:Posting a manuscript to the publication index implies
that the analysis group authors all consider the paper ready for submission
to the journal. Do not post rough drafts of papers in order to "start the
clock" --- it is not fair to other members of the collaboration to ask them
to decide whether to request co-authorship on a paper that isn't complete,
and it is a waste of everyone's time to send in comments and corrections
on a paper that hasn't been polished by the primary authors.
If all that remains is a specific change of very limited scope,
you may post the paper with a comment about what remains --- e.g.,
"we are calculating results for one additional model, which will
be added to Figure 5."
Of course it can be very valuable to get feedback from SDSS collaborators
on initial or intermediate drafts of papers; the best way to do this is
through the mailing list of the most relevant working group.
Most SDSS manuscripts do get revised and improved, often substantially,
after they are posted
to the publication index, because the authors get useful comments from
a broader spectrum of the collaboration. That should continue to
be the case. However, the criterion for posting to the publication index
should be that the analysis group authors consider the manuscript
complete and ready to go. If I judge that a posted manuscript falls far
short of this standard, I will inform the authors that the "3-week clock"
will not start until a new version of the manuscript is posted.
Author lists should not conclude "for the SDSS Collaboration"
or "and the SDSS Collaboration," nor should the begin
"The SDSS Collaboration:". The only exceptions are Key Project papers
and "Conference proceedings which
are primarily overviews of the SDSS project status or scientific results"
These should have "for the SDSS Collaboration" at the end of the author list.
Other members of the collaboration can request co-authorship on the
paper via the publication index web page and/or by e-mailing the contact
author. The publication index does not automatically generate an e-mail
to the contact author; it is that person's responsibility to check
all authorship requests on the index before submission and incorporate
them. If you request authorship after the paper has been submitted, you
should be sure to send e-mail to the contact author, not rely on them
checking the index after the paper has been submitted.
If there are people who you think would
be particularly appropriate co-authors but are not in the analysis group
list, you should invite them to request co-authorship.
In the event of disagreements about co-authorship, contact the
Scientific Publications Coordinator (me).
Technical papers, those whose purpose is to
"describe the SDSS instrumentation, calibration, software, strategy, and
targeting algorithms," are not open to general co-authorship requests.
The publication index listing indicates whether a paper is a Scientific
Paper or a Technical Paper. If you believe you have been incorrectly
omitted from the author list of a Technical Paper, communicate directly
with the contact author, and if necessary with the Technical Publications
Coordinator (currently Jill Knapp).
This is new.
Although it is not required by the publication policy, I would like
to strongly encourage all authors to repost their papers one week
prior to the intended submission date. "Repost" means: update the
link from the publication index so that it points to an up-to-date
version of the revised manuscript (with the current author list),
briefly describe changes that have been made in the comments section
on the publication index (or say that there have been no changes),
send a message to sdss-general saying that the paper will be submitted
in a week and briefly describing changes that have been made.
The purpose of this new procedure is to let people know whether and how
manuscripts have changed and to let them know that the paper is
about to be submitted (some papers are revised extensively and are
therefore submitted long after they are posted to the publication index).
When you submit the paper, update the comments on the index page to indicate
that the paper has been submitted, though you do not need to send an
additional sdss-general e-mail.
There is no general policy on whether papers should be posted to
astro-ph upon submission or after acceptance (or at all, for that matter).
This decision should be made by the analysis group authors.
Steps in submitting an SDSS scientific paper to a conference proceedings
The procedure for submitting a conference paper based on SDSS data
is the same as that described for journal articles above, with the
Because of their length constraints,
conference papers may be exempted from the authorship policy (i.e.,
from allowing co-authorship requests). However, quoting from
of the publication policy:
"Any conference paper that
does not follow this authorship policy may only include quantitative
results (tables and figures, for example) based on papers that have been
published or submitted for publication, and it must reference those papers
as the primary source for the results.
The rationale for this requirement is that conference papers authored
by a single author or a small group should not become the
primary reference for results that are properly products of the SDSS
If you post a conference paper under this clause, for which you do not
intend to accept co-authorship requests, you should note this in the
comments section of the index posting and in the sdss-general e-mail message.
If you are unsure whether you paper qualifies for this treatment,
you can contact me before posting. Also contact me if you think that
someone has erroneously posted a paper under this clause.
Based on the rationale given above, I usually make a judgment in such
cases by asking myself whether the conference paper is likely to be
referenced as the source of an SDSS scientific result --- if so, it
should follow the usual authorship policy.
Although the requirements about technical references and acknowledgments
apply to conference papers as well as journal articles, I am in practice
somewhat more lenient in enforcing them for conference papers with
tight length constraints (2 or 4 pages).
The CoCo has agreed to the following policy on a trial basis.
The abstract and initial author list for a conference paper may be
posted in advance of the draft manuscript, and this will start the
three week "clock." The full draft manuscript must be available on the
publication index for ten days.
This modified policy is intended to give authors a bit more breathing space
to meet conference proceedings submission deadlines. In order for it
to work, it is essential that authors not trim its corners.
Note that the
abstract must still be posted three weeks ahead of submission.
You should send an additional sdss-general message
when the manuscript itself is available, noting that submission
is intended in ten days (or three weeks from the abstract posting,
whichever is later).
Go to David Weinberg's Home Page
Updated: 2001, June 4[dhw]