Gemini conducted its first user survey at the end of 2008. Principal Investigators (PIs) for all programs from semesters 2006A – 2007B were asked a series of questions as users of one, or both, Gemini telescopes. There were slightly over 500 unique PIs in the sample and the response rate was just over 50%. The response rate varied by partner country by +/- 5%. This survey represents a significant unbiased sample of Gemini’s user base, and with a response rate of 50%, the results are extremely robust.
The respondents greatly favored the queue over classical, but clearly indicated that classical observing should be an option. The respondents were not as positive about Gemini’s instrument suite and the percentage that felt our instrumentation was competitive was disappointingly low. Another area of concern expressed by those who participated was the complexity and ‘unfriendliness’ of the Phase II tool. It was interesting to see that 75% of respondents used our Gemini IRAF package for at least a part of their data reduction and that more documentation on data reduction would help speed up the publication of results.
The complete survey results and a draft ‘action plan’ can found here
Note: the results of the survey will be presented at the Gemini Users Meeting in Kyoto, Japan on May 22.