The NICER Users Group Charter

(Version: November 5, 2020)

The NICER Users Group (NUG) provides input from the community of NICER users to the NICER Mission leadership at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Its primary purpose is to ensure that the broad interests of Guest Observers (GOs) and other investigators who observe with NICER or use archived NICER data are well served by the NICER Guest Observer Facility (GOF) and instrument and operations teams in planning for, executing, and facilitating NICER science.

Key areas that the NUG shall consider and review include:

  • NICER data analysis software and data distribution
  • support (e.g., helpdesk) for NICER data analysis and proposal preparation tools
  • data rights and policy issues
  • calibration considerations and products
  • planning for execution of GO programs
  • balance of resources for GO, legacy science, and target-of-opportunity/discretionary time (TOO/DT) programs
  • dissemination of NICER science results, through workshops, scientific meetings, and other community outreach.
The NUG shall be an important interface between the user community and the NICER mission over its lifetime and will assist the NICER Principal Investigator (PI) in preparing for future NASA Astrophysics Senior Reviews of Operating Missions.

Members of the NUG are chosen by the NICER PI, with the NUG Chair in concurrence. The Chair is appointed by the NICER PI, with the NASA HQ Program Scientist for NICER in concurrence. Between eight and ten members (including the Chair) shall constitute the NUG, from relevant science communities and excluding the NICER Mission leadership at GSFC, with staggered terms of 2 years duration. NICER Science Team members are eligible for NUG membership, but their terms at the outset (in the first year of NUG activities) will be limited to one year only; subsequently, they may serve two-year terms. Members are chosen for their expertise in a broad range of science areas relevant to NICER as well as for representation across a diversity of institutions and researcher populations. NASA recognizes and supports the benefits of having diverse and inclusive scientific, engineering, and technology communities and fully expects that such values will be reflected in the composition of the NUG.

It is anticipated that two NUG meetings will be held each year, with one coinciding approximately with the start of each annual GO cycle. The NUG shall report to the NICER PI and the NASA HQ Program Scientist. Minutes of the NUG meetings, as well as presentations, reports, and recommendations, shall be posted on a NUG website. Agendas of meetings shall be posted well in advance of meetings to encourage input from the community at any time.