Vera Rubin Observatory re-naming and the Science Collaborations
The Vera C. Rubin Observatory name usage guide describes how to refer to Rubin Observatory, plus the survey, camera, and telescope, including initial and subsequent references in the same document. What remains is the question of the Science Collaborations (SCs). This document was written to enable a discussion amongst chairs of the SCs about how to refer to the SCs given the renaming of the Observatory.
Considering the desire to acknowledge Rubin Observatory by name, to emphasize that the SCs function specifically in relation with the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (rather than Rubin Observatory in general), as well as requirements on brevity that aid clarity and may be imposed by length restrictions on reports and proposals, the SC chairs, in consultation with the Rubin Observatory Communication team formulated the following recommendations for how to refer to the SCs collectively and to each SC individually.
“Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Science Collaborations (SCs)”, subsequently “LSST SCs”.
References to each SC (e.g. TVS SC for Transients and Variable Stars or DESC for Dark Energy SC) should follow the following pattern :
“Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Transients and Variable Stars Science Collaboration (TVS SC)”, subsequently “LSST TVS SC”.
“Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC)”, subsequently “LSST DESC”.
If LSST has been defined previously the first reference would be to Rubin Observatory LSST Transients and Variable Stars Science Collaboration (TVS SC)”, subsequently “LSST TVS SC”.
In circumstances where Rubin Observatory and LSST have already been defined and where ambiguity is not an issue, the use of TVS SC or DESC (dropping LSST) is also acceptable.
The discussion initiated by Federica Bianco (as coordinator of the SCs) and Rachel Mandelbaum (DESC spokesperson) centered on three possible combinations of initial & subsequent references for the SCs, collectively and individually. There is a need to balance considerations of brevity (often tight requirements in publications the SCs are accustomed to such as Research Notes, or funding proposals) and proper acknowledgment of the Observatory, along with the context that the SCs do not have a formal connection to the Observatory at this time (Observatory here seen as opposed to survey, the Legacy Survey of Space and Time that the SCs are effectively attached to). Given this, the chairs overwhelmingly preferred the second or third option described below (with a large majority preferring the second), rather than the first option. Calling them the LSST SCs in general, but with a requirement to acknowledge the Rubin Observatory at the first mention of LSST (either through option 2 or 3 depending on the broader context of the document) could be a reasonable solution. To ensure that the adopted name scheme appropriately acknowledges the Observatory, this document will be shared with the Rubin Observatory Project for further feedback and with the SAC to properly refer to the SCs in the context of SCs governance documents and SAC reports.
Current terminology: Consider the “Science Collaborations” page at lsst.org. The initial reference to SCs is as “LSST Science Collaborations”, and subsequent references throughout the page are either “LSST SCs” or the same as the initial reference.
New terminology: There are three obvious options. The choice should consider the need to properly acknowledge the Rubin Observatory but also the need for a name option that allows for brevity (e.g., for use in slide show titles, and in proposals -- where length restrictions are often strictly enforced). Note that the Science Collaborations are currently not formally affiliated with the Rubin Observatory. This may change, particularly due to the close connection of the SCs with the Observatory in dealing with LOIs for international in-kind contributions.
1. “Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Science Collaborations (SCs)”, subsequently “Rubin Observatory LSST SCs”. Both references highlight the observatory. There’s no really short name option. If LSST has been previously defined, the initial mention could be “Rubin Observatory LSST Science Collaborations (SCs)”.
2. “Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Science Collaborations (SCs)”, subsequently “LSST SCs”. Initial reference highlights the observatory; subsequent reference is short, since the SCs will use the survey data and LSST has already been appropriately associated with the observatory.
3. “Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Science Collaborations”, subsequently “LSST SCs”. Initial reference emphasizes the connection with the survey and subsequent references are consistent with current usage. Documents would have a separate phrase highlighting the observatory; e.g., “the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST)”.
Current terminology: As a use case, consider the TVS webpage. On this page,
There are similar name usage patterns on the webpages for DESC, Galaxies, SMWLV, SSSC, AGN, SLSC, and ISSC, though some SCs pick a consistent acronym for subsequent references (LSSTGSC, SLSC, ISSC) rather than interchangeably using the version without/with LSST.
New terminology: It’s not necessary that all SCs have consistent patterns for initial and subsequent references, as long as all follow Observatory-approved norms. The options for individual SCs follow the three above - e.g., if option 2 is the only acceptable option for the SCs as a group, then references to DESC should follow the same pattern - initially “Rubin Observatory LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC)”, subsequently “LSST DESC”.
For individual SCs, however, there is a variant of option 2, which we call 2a: same initial name as 2 - “Rubin Observatory LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC)”, subsequently “LSST DESC” or “DESC”. The latter version (“DESC” alone) avoids the frequent repetition of LSST without the observatory association; however, it should only be used standalone after the association with the LSST is made explicit. (We can’t do this for the SCs as a group, since “SCs” is so generic - but for some individual SCs their names have taken on a life of their own and could stand without the “LSST” after the initial naming and association with LSST.)
 These words should always be capitalized, “Science Collaborations” since, otherwise, they could appear to be a reference to any science collaboration in any generic context.