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3 July 1998 Proposal solicitation and selection for the 21st century
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Writing, reviewing, and selecting the proposals which are to define the science program of any state-of-the-art observatory/space mission are all tasks which have grown in complexity, and as a consequence large amounts of time and effort are currently being invested in this process by proposers as well as reviewers. Viewed from the opposite vantage point, the currently used solicitation and selection process is a significant operational expense: mailing paper copies of proposals and gathering reviewers for panel meetings and a 'time allocation committee' involves a large amount of logistical support and time by the observatory staff. Finally, the batching of proposals into yearly cycles increases the time form concept of a scientific idea to receipt of actual data which decreases the ability to respond to new scientific developments and also increases the general operational overhead of handling a large batch of observations. In this paper we explore two experimental steps towards an optimal proposal selection process: streamlining the current process via 'paperless' and 'groupware' technologies, and use of a 'steady state' process which accepts submission of the reviews proposals continuously. The pros and cons of each approach are examined and we demonstrate that not only are the enabling technologies available, but when resources are considered in a global manner we can identify both major improvements to the current process and significant reductions in the expenditure of resources.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Palle Moller, Glenn E. Miller, Brett S. Blacker, and C. Megan Urry "Proposal solicitation and selection for the 21st century", Proc. SPIE 3349, Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return, (3 July 1998);


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