About the Community Engagement Team

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The Rubin Observatory Community Engagement Team (CET) is part of the System Performance department, the component of Operations responsible for ensuring that the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) is proceeding with the efficiency and fidelity needed to achieve its 10-year science requirements. The purpose of this topic is to share the preliminary activities and plans of the CET with the community, and to serve as a reference for the Community Engagement Discussion Series that will follow-up the CET’s presentation at the Rubin 2020 Project and Community Workshop.

Motivation: The community’s scientific activities are an integral part of The Rubin Observatory System and are a key success metric to its overall performance.

Goal: To maximize scientific results from the Rubin Observatory by engaging the community to make optimal use of the LSST’s data products and services.


  • promote inclusive and equitable engagement in LSST science
  • facilitate access to, and analysis of, the LSST data products and services
  • enable the community to collaborate and to crowd-source solutions
  • coordinate expertise within the community to inform Rubin software development

What will the CET do?

  • Provide Resources for Community Science
    • manage peer-to-peer networking platforms for crowd-sourced problem solving
    • curate documentation, tutorials, and analysis demonstrations
    • e.g., user manuals, technical notes, jupyter notebooks, recorded demos
  • Be an Interactive Interface with the Science Community
    • participate in conferences, workshops, webinars, hackathons
    • engage with the science community via the open Community Forum
    • facilitate the Resource Allocation Committee and the Users’ Committee
    • connect (and serve as) Rubin staff liaisons to the Science Collaborations
  • Coordinate Expertise to Maximize Science
    • involve Rubin staff to address user-reported issues
    • arrange scientific assessments of internally proposed changes or issues
    • assist with the ingestion of user-generated algorithms, data products, and/or science verification/validation tests
  • Enact and Inform Rubin Policies/Goals Regarding Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
    • promote diversity in representation on user committees (feedback channels)
    • develop inclusivity policies for all workshops (location, format, contents)
    • collaborate with other facilities to increase our combined reach
  • Support Diverse Research Methodologies
    • e.g., supporting the community’s citizen science projects (via Zooniverse)

What is the CET focused on now?

The CET is in the process of preparing a comprehensive model for community engagement – a model capable of serving thousands of scientists with a wide variety of skills, background, expertise, and resources.

The CET recognizes that the science community has a deep well of experience in both providing and receiving support from astronomical facilities for user science, and that it would be to the benefit of all to leverage this experience in our plans. Therefore, the community is invited to provide input on this model via the Community Engagement Discussion Series.

Two foundational components of this model will be to build a deep repository of openly available and searchable knowledge, and cultivate a global community of engaged scientists with the means to crowd-source solutions. Towards this end, the CET has begun to assume administrative responsibilities for the Community Forum and Stack Club, and is preparing to curate documentation and tutorials, and assist with new user onboarding, for Data Preview 0 in 2021.

The CET especially looks forward to creating opportunities for engaging with the Science Collaborations and the broader Rubin community, and welcomes feedback on how best to do this.

Who is the “community”?

  • The “community” or “Rubin community” is a broad term that refers to anyone, anywhere, interacting with the Rubin Observatory and its data products and services, in any capacity. It is a union set of all of the following communities, and is more than just data rights holders.
  • LSST science community”, or simply “science community” when the context is obvious, 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” refers to 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”, many of whom are also “Science Collaborations members”.
  • Data rights holders” are individuals with the right to access, analyze, and publish work on LSST proprietary data, as described in RDO-013.

People who find themselves reading this topic might also be interested in this recording of the presentation about the CET made during one of our Community Engagement Discussion Series.