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Proceedings Paper

Operating observatories: the need for a new paradigm
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Paper Abstract

At a time of declining funding, the managers of ground based observatories may not be in the best position to ensure adequate resources either for developing new facilities or new instruments or for upgrading existing facilities. Nor can there be dependence upon the traditional support for researchers which in turn implies that there is inadequate founding to cover the cost of operations. For historical reasons, an overwhelming number of observatories in the USA are affiliated with, or hosted by, universities yet, because of the traditional lack of entrepreneurial thinking and the complexity and the extent of administrations, a university may not be the best environment to develop new approaches to the management of observatories; nor is an academic background of necessity the best preparation for best management practices. We propose that observatories should adopt a business-like approach, to be service providers, and to use the same metrics as for a business. This approach may entail forming corporations, forming consortia, spreading the risk and to find additional sources of income from sales and spin-offs.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 2014
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 9149, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V, 91491A (6 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056505
Show Author Affiliations
Ifan Payne, Magdalena Ridge Observatory (United States)
Christian Veillet, Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9149:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V
Alison B. Peck; Chris R. Benn; Robert L. Seaman, Editor(s)

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