IRTF Data Archive Policy

Last updated Apr. 13, 2018

All raw data obtained with IRTF facility instruments will be archived. Observations taken during the 2016B semester and later will be made publicly available through the Caltech/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA). "Legacy" observations made during the 2001A through 2016A semesters have been preserved and will be made available upon request to the IRTF.

IRTF policy regarding 2016B data and later:

  • The standard proprietary period is 18 months from the time data are collected at the telescope. This applies to raw data obtained with SpeX beginning August 1, 2016 (the start of the 2016B semester) which became publicly available via IRSA starting February 1, 2018. Raw data obtained with iSHELL beginning February 1, 2017 will similarly become publicly available through IRSA starting August 1, 2018.

  • Special programs, such as observing campaigns or instrument commissioning, may be subject to shorter proprietary periods.

  • Any request to extend the proprietary period beyond 18 months must be made in the original observing proposal, and will be judged by the Telescope Allocation Committee during the proposal review process. Proposers will be informed of any approved extension to the proprietary period in the letter announcing that observing time is granted. Requests for extension to the proprietary period made outside of the time allocation process would be considered only for exceptional cases at the discretion of the IRTF Director.

  • Metadata that includes target IDs and positions, as well as observing circumstances and conditions, are collected as part of the archive and will be released along with the observations at the end of the proprietary period.

  • All IRTF observations will be immediately available to IRTF staff for the purposes of (1) calibrating and checking the performance of instruments, and (2) improving the software for the instruments. For any other uses, such as educational applications, the IRTF Director will consult the PI of the observing program.

  • Test data taken with an instrument for engineering purposes may have scientific value. These data may be made publicly available immediately at the discretion of the IRTF Director.

  • Scientific observations obtained during IRTF engineering time will have a proprietary period of 18 months (no exceptions).

IRTF policy regarding legacy data (semesters 2001A through 2016A):

  • Raw data files obtained with IRTF facility instruments during the interval of February 1, 2001 and July 31, 2016 have been restored from backup tapes. The IRTF will make these legacy data publicly available upon request following an 18-month proprietary "grace" period that begins December 1, 2017. Requests for access to these legacy data will be accepted beginning June 1, 2019.

  • IRTF observations taken prior to February 1, 2001 were not recoverable from the tape media on which they were stored, and requests for these data cannot be fulfilled.

  • Legacy data will be provided "as is" with no guarantee of quality or associated metadata other than the information contained in the file headers.

  • Initial search options provided by the IRTF for the legacy database will be rudimentary, probably limited to the observation date and instrument. IRTF staff members will attempt to improve on these search capabilities over time, and will consult with staff members at IPAC regarding the possible future incorporation of the IRTF legacy data into IRSA.

For more information contact Bobby Bus.