Open Access Strategy

The official ALMA documents “ALMA Proposer’s Guide” and “ALMA User’s Policies” (that are available electronically) specify the eligibility of ALMA users by stating that: ‘Users of any professional background, nationality or affiliation may submit an ALMA proposal. All proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility. ALMA uses a panel-based proposal review system to ensure that scientifically knowledgeable peers representing the broad diversity of the community at large provide expert and non-discriminatory proposal evaluations. ALMA believes that inclusiveness and broad representation of the users’ community produces the most compelling scientific program.’ 

Excellence-driven access is applied in the time allocation with ALMA – proposals are accepted exclusively dependent on the scientific excellence, originality, quality and technical and ethical feasibility. The same policy of open access is guaranteed and applied in the European ALMA regional center structure. The central point of contact for call ALMA users (including prospective users) is the ALMA Helpdesk, which is available to all (registered) users from the ALMA Science Portal and that has been developed and is maintained as the main communication channel between ALMA and its external users. The strategy guarantees open access to all users to services provided by the Czech node, as well as to educational activities performed by the node. All interested users are granted access to the services, not only successful users of ALMA. Also users that are only discovering ALMA and need consultations and/or assistance with the preparation of observing proposals at any stage of the process.

The access policy applied by the ALMA observatory is fully consistent with the principles described in the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures and it assures open access to the node and thus to ALMA, one of the best astronomical facilities available today, to every user. The Czech node, as part of the global infrastructure of the ALMA observatory thus helps to conducts innovative research and development. In order to facilitate access to ALMA and the European ALMA center, several detailed guides and manuals are available online. In collaboration with the EU ARC network and ESO, the node organizes or co-organizes a number of workshops and meetings for the current and prospective ALMA users.

As is a good practice in astronomy in general, vast majority of scientific results achieved with ESO telescopes, including ALMA, are at the same time as being published in scientific journals, posted also on open access web archive. This virtuous practice enables everybody to reach the latest results achieved with ALMA. See ESO's information on Open Access Publishing and its currently expressed endorsement to the European Open Science Cloud Declaration.

Protection of intellectual properties

The services provided by the node are transparent and clearly defined in the document Guide to the European ALMA Regional Centre (available online). Questions from users and any potentially sensitive information regarding the user or project details communicated to the node staff are held in the strictest confidence. Also information exchanged with users through the Helpdesk can only be accessed through a secured database by ARC-affiliated staff. The ALMA data management policy further ensures that the data acquired with ALMA and processed by the ARC, are appropriately maintained and archived. This ALMA Science Archive is accessible through the ALMA Science Portal.

Successful proposers have exclusive access to scientific data issued from their project for the proprietary period of one year. The data become publicly accessible after the one-year proprietary period. The proprietary period begins when the ARC sends an email notification to the PI that the data are available. The proprietary period is typically 6 months for DDT projects.