SDSS Policy for Press Releases

1) A proposal for a press release of an SDSS scientific result (and possibly an associated press conference) may arise from any source. Often this source is the principal author of a paper recently posted to the Collaboration. In the following "principal author" will be used to designate this lead scientist. Normally a press release is timed to coincide with the public release of the paper (e.g. posting to astro-ph or a talk at a AAS meeting).

2) The principal author confers with the SDSS Project Spokesperson to determine that pursuing a press release is appropriate.

3) If the Spokesperson concurs, the principal author contacts the Public Information Officer (SDSS PIO) and provides him with the current version of the paper, a non-technical summary of the key results, and any graphical or other relevant information.

4) The first draft of the release is written by the principal author, with the assistance of the Spokesperson and the PIO. The PIO of the principal author's institution is invited to contribute. The SDSS PIO ensures inclusion of the standard acknowledgment of sponsoring institutions and funding agencies.

5) Comments and corrections to the first draft are requested by the SDSS PIO of all authors on the paper. It is the responsibility of the principal author to ensure that the SDSS PIO has a current list of authors and their email addresses.

6) The Spokesperson, aided by the working groups and the CoCo, is responsible for reviewing the second draft of the release for balance in credit for discovery and scientific accuracy, including specific mention of scientists and institutions. He or she will post the draft to the collaboration via sdss-general, and will notify the Chair of the SDSS Advisory Council and the Chair of the ARC Board of Governors, for further comments; this posting must happen at least one week before the release goes to the press.

7) The SDSS PIO then sends the third draft of the release to the Director, who formally approves the release if at this point there are no objections.

8) The final draft is then distributed to the updated list of authors by the SDSS PIO. Any changes at this point are made by the SDSS PIO with the concurrence of the Spokesperson and the principal author. The release is then distributed publicly by the SDSS PIO.

9) In some cases an institution may wish to formulate a version of the SDSS release for local distribution. In that case, the institutional PIO sends a draft of that release to the Spokesperson, with a copy to the SDSS PIO, allowing an opportunity for input from the SDSS. The local release must not precede the national release, and it will be requested that the local release refer to the national release (e.g. as posted on

10) In the case of a non-national release requested by a collaboration member (such as the findings of an undergraduate team) using non-public SDSS data, the press release procedures still apply. The PIO of the principal author's institution is invited to contribute. Like SDSS participating scientists, students need to understand and participate in the process of getting a press release to the public. The release will be placed on the SDSS Web site.

11) It must be understood by all parties that in order to meet the target date for the release, all comments must be sent to the SDSS PIO in a timely manner.