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User Guide | Applying for Beam Time
General User Proposal Cutoff Scores and Beamline Subscription Rates
All NSLS-II proposals are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the best. For proposals with multiple beamline requests, a separate score is generated by every PRP that reviews the proposal. Proposal scores from multiple PRPs are treated separately for allocation and not averaged. Hence, proposals may have more than one score.
Beam time is allocated based on the PRP's score compared to all other proposals for a given beamline in a given cycle. Proposals receiving a rating of 4.0 or greater are automatically expired and no beam time request may be submitted for that proposal in a future cycle. A score of 5.0 is used only for incomplete proposals.
Beginning in the Sept – Dec 2019 cycle (2019-3), NSLS-II proposal scores for each PRP are being normalized to a mean of 2.5 with a standard deviation of 0.5. This will be done every cycle going forward in order to keep proposal scores meaningful, i.e. by maintaining a broad score distribution. This procedure is also necessary in order to compare scores across PRPs, something that is now required by the multimodal (multiple-beamline) access.
General rating guidelines
- The highest rated proposals will be highly innovative with revolutionary or transformative societal impact or scientific importance. The proposed research will significantly advance knowledge in a specific scientific discipline or address critical open questions in a particular field. The potential for publication in a leading scientific journal is very high, and the capabilities characteristics of the NSLS-II are critical for the success of the proposed work. Generally, these proposals have very well-developed experiment plans that address all phases of a successful experiment such as pre-measurement preparations, data collection methods, data analysis, additional ancillary measurements and theoretical calculations.
- These excellent proposals represent high quality, cutting edge research that has significant societal or scientific impact. The proposed research has potential for making an important contribution to a specific field or scientific discipline. The work is likely to be published in a leading scientific journal, and the capabilities characteristics of the NSLS-II are important to the success of the proposed work. These proposals typically have well-developed experiment plans that address the important phases of a successful experiment.
- These proposals represent good, near-cutting edge research that has direct societal or scientific importance. The research goals have potential for making notable contributions to a specific field or scientific discipline. The work is likely to be published in a respected scientific journal, and the capabilities characteristics of the NSLS-II would benefit the proposed work. The experiment plan is sufficiently well developed to assure a successful result.
- These proposals represent interesting research that may or may not have direct societal or scientific importance. The research goals might influence a specific field or scientific discipline. The work might be published in a scientific journal, but the capabilities characteristics of the NSLS-II might not be required to accomplish the research goals. The experiment plan may be lacking sufficient details to assure a successful result.
- These proposals represent research that does not appear to have direct social or scientific importance. The work might not be publishable in a scientific journal, and synchrotron radiation might not be required to accomplish the research goals. The experiment plan might be missing key elements to assure a successful result.
If a proposal did not receive beam time previously, the score of the proposal is “aged” by 0.21 points during the allocation process. The proposal will remain aged until it either (1) receives beam time, or (2) expires. Once an aged proposal is allocated beam time, aging no longer applies for the remainder of the proposal’s lifetime. A proposal cannot be aged more than once. Please note: Aging does not represent a new proposal score; rather, it is a process to accommodate proposals that fall near the beamline’s cutoff score. Hence, the score reported in a proposal’s Summary tab in PASS will not change even when aging is applied at allocation.
If a Principal Investigator (PI) on a proposal would like to appeal the reviews and/or score of a proposal, the PI should send an email to the NSLS-II Proposal Coordinator and include a point-by-point explanation for the appeal request. The appeal request is first evaluated for administrative errors. If none are found, the request is sent to the Proposal Review Panel Chair for further evaluation. The final decision on an appeal request is made by the Photon Division Director. Only the PI of a proposal may submit an appeal request. All appeal requests are due within 5 business days after receipt of allocation notification from the PASS system.