AAS and Astrobites Formalize Partnership
Richard Fienberg American Astronomical Society (AAS)
At its 228th meeting now under way in San Diego, California, the AAS announced that it will begin officially sponsoring Astrobites. This widely acclaimed daily blog, written by graduate students in astronomy, briefly summarizes one astro-ph preprint each day in a format accessible to undergraduates (astro-ph is the astrophysics section of arXiv.org, where researchers post their latest papers, often before official review and publication).
“As Astrobites has grown and evolved over the past six years, we’ve established a community of young astronomers from the US and around the world who are exceptionally passionate about welcoming others into the field,” says Nathan Sanders, co-founder and administrator of Astrobites and recent recipient of his PhD in astronomy from Harvard University. “It’s only natural that we would develop a vision that is strongly aligned with that of the AAS, which has been developing such a community among the broader profession for more than 100 years.”
Astrobites strives to make the astrophysical literature more accessible to readers with diverse backgrounds and levels of experience and seeks to lower the barrier for undergraduates transitioning to careers in research. The collaborative’s record of achievement is extraordinary: Astrobites has published more than 1,500 summaries of research papers and other original content read daily by thousands within the astronomical community and beyond. Sanders and his colleagues have sustained and grown their all-volunteer organization since they launched the effort in 2010 and have maintained consistently high editorial standards. The AAS plans to further the two organizations’ shared mission by providing hosting for the Astrobites website, increasing the project’s visibility within the astronomical community, and ensuring the team’s editorial independence as a standalone graduate-student organization supported by the AAS.
“I’m thrilled about our new partnership with Astrobites,” says AAS Executive Officer Kevin Marvel. “The content they produce has great value to readers spanning the range from college students to senior scientists, and their community-focused efforts resonate with the AAS leadership. Making the Society’s resources available to this all-volunteer effort will help ensure its sustainability while ensuring that Astrobites retains its unique brand and independence.
“How wonderful it would be if every scientific discipline could boast a ‘bites’ site like we enjoy in astronomy,” continues Marvel. “I remain humbled and impressed by the efforts of the founders and participants in the Astrobites program since its beginning. We could not have built such a great resource on our own, which makes this partnership all the more important.”