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Spitzer Observing Rules

13    Data Rights

Observers may have exclusive access to their science data during a proprietary period, intended to facilitate the processing and scientific analysis of the data by the relevant investigator.

For regular General Observer and Snapshot programs, Spitzer observations shall have a proprietary data period of twelve months, commencing from the time that scientifically usable data from fully commissioned pipelines are made available to the Principal Investigator via the Spitzer Science Archive. For Exploration Science General Observer programs, Spitzer observations have a maximum proprietary period of three months.  Once the proprietary period expires, the raw and pipeline-processed data will enter the public domain and be available to anyone through the Spitzer Science Archive. The SSC no longer does duplication checks or embargoing data from duplicating observations in the warm mission. Therefore the SSC may not be able to ensure all proprietary periods for warm mission observations. Only a small number of observations are likely to be affected.


The SSC Director reserves the right to designate any Target of Opportunity data for early release when such a release is deemed to be in the interest of the community.


Because observations obtained through Director’s Discretionary Time (DDT) are assumed to be urgent and of interest to the broad scientific community, proprietary periods for DDT observations will not exceed three months.  The SSC Director reserves the right to make all raw and calibrated data publicly available immediately as a condition for approving a DDT request, particularly when the data involve an unexpected Target of Opportunity.


The Spitzer Time Allocation Committee may recommend a shorter proprietary period for individual proposals, particularly large programs, due to the high value of the data to the general astronomical community.  As part of their proposal, observers may request that the SSC Director waive all or part of their proprietary period if the proposal is approved.