Robust Archives Maximize Scientific Accessibility

by   J. E. G. Peek, et al.

We present a bibliographic analysis of Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer publications. We find (a) archival data are used in >60 output and (b) archives for these missions enable a much broader set of institutions and countries to scientifically use data from these missions. Specifically, we find that authors from institutions that have published few papers from a given mission publish 2/3 archival publications, while those with many publications typically have 1/3 archival publications. We also show that countries with lower GDP per capita overwhelmingly produce archival publications, while countries with higher GDP per capital produce guest observer and archival publications in equal amounts. We argue that robust archives are thus not only critical for the scientific productivity of mission data, but also the scientific accessibility of mission data. We argue that the astronomical community should support archives to maximize the overall scientific societal impact of astronomy, and represent an excellent investment in astronomy's future.


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