The `Organizations and Strategies in Astronomy' (OSA) Books

Paul and Marie Stroobant Prize 2007

The OPSA Volumes

"Organizations and Strategies in Astronomy plays
a key role in recording much of the history of our field,
particularly the developments of programs and institutions."
(C. Pilachowski, Amer. Astron. Soc. President 2002-2004)
[from the OSA 5 Foreword]

"I relish the series Organizations and Strategies in Astronomy,
which help us recover our memories, reconstitute our own story [...]
The other keyword these days, [...] clearly a precursor here, is strategy."
(C. Cesarsky, ESO Director General & IAU President-Elect)
[from the OSA 6 Foreword]

The leading master of this series [...] should be
warmly congratulated for having taken the initiative
of this series and having led this set of useful tools.
There is a need for pursuing this activity in the future
given the rapid status of evolution of astronomy as the
new century promises to be one of even more numerous
and extraordinary discoveries, as the tools described in the
OSA books become operational and deliver their promises.
(R.M. Bonnet, ISSI Executive Director & COSPAR President)
[from the OSA 7 Foreword]

Presentation in The Observatory (Vol. 127, Oct. 2007, pp. 336-337)

s5book Volume 01 (2000)
Volume 02 (2001)
Volume 03 (2002)
Volume 04 (2003)
Volume 05 (2004) (with CD)
Volume 06 (2006)
Volume 07 (2006)

The range of subjects tackled in those seven volumes - published by Kluwer/Springer in their Astrophysics and Space Science Library - is quite broad.
Here are the main themes:
-- characteristics and strategies of astronomy-related organizations (globally and specifically, nationally and internationally), with a planetary sample including even Antarctica;
-- recruitment and promotional policies;
-- economy of activities;
-- evaluation processes (proposals, individuals, institutions, etc.);
-- policies for professional publications;
-- bibliometric studies;
-- evolving sociology of scheduling and coordinated observing;
-- communication under its diverse facets;
-- series of astronomy-related conferences;
-- interactions with other communities and the society at large;
together with a long list of matters covering the astronomy-related life and context, in the spirit of sharing specific expertise and lessons learned.

Rather than being devoted to the publication of hard-science results, the OSA volumes describe how astronomy research lives: how it is planned, funded and organized, how it interacts with other disciplines and the rest of the world, how it communicates, etc.

Thus this series has been a unique medium for scientists and non-scientists (sometimes from outside astronomy) to describe their experience and to elaborate on non-purely scientific matters -- often of fundamental importance for the efficient conduct of our activities.

As illustrated by the histogram included in OSA 6's Editorial, the global number of astronomy-related papers on organizational, strategical and socio-dynamical issues is growing more than steadily, reflecting increased interest. Years ago, the term ``sociology" was carrying a negative connotation in hard-science circles where only bibliometric counts were barely accepted. As exemplified by the above diversification, the overall approach has now evolved and matured. The OSA series substantially contributed to this.

Links to the volumes are provided at the top of this page. All contributions have been refereed.

The OPSA Volumes
Other edited books.
List of authors in edited books
List of authors in conference/meeting proceedings

© Copyright André HECK, current year.