The Astropy Problem

2016Oct
Authors: Demitri Muna, Michael Alexander, Alice Allen, Richard Ashley, Daniel Asmus, Ruyman Azzollini, Michele Bannister, Rachael Beaton, Andrew Benson, G. Bruce Berriman, Maciej Bilicki, Peter Boyce, Joanna Bridge, Jan Cami, Eryn Cangi, Xian Chen, Nicholas Christiny, Christopher Clark, Michelle Collins, Johan Comparat, Neil Cook, Darren Croton, Isak Delberth Davids, Éric Depagne, John Donor, Leonardo A. dos Santos, Stephanie Douglas, Alan Du, Meredith Durbin, Dawn Erb, Daniel Faes, J. G. Fernández-Trincado, Anthony Foley, Sotiria Fotopoulou, Søren Frimann, Peter Frinchaboy, Rafael Garcia-Dias, Artur Gawryszczak, Elizabeth George, Sebastian Gonzalez, Karl Gordon, Nicholas Gorgone, Catherine Gosmeyer, Katie Grasha, Perry Greenfield, Rebekka Grellmann, James Guillochon, Mark Gurwell, Marcel Haas, Alex Hagen, Daryl Haggard, Tim Haines, Patrick Hall, Wojciech Hellwing, Edmund Christian Herenz, Samuel Hinton, Renee Hlozek, John Hoffman, Derek Holman, Benne Willem Holwerda, Anthony Horton, Cameron Hummels, Daniel Jacobs, Jens Juel Jensen, David Jones, Arna Karick, Luke Kelley, Matthew Kenworthy, Ben Kitchener, Dominik Klaes, Saul Kohn, Piotr Konorski, Coleman Krawczyk, Kyler Kuehn, Teet Kuutma, Michael T. Lam, Richard Lane, Jochen Liske, Diego Lopez-Camara, Katherine Mack, Sam Mangham, Qingqing Mao, David J. E. Marsh, Cecilia Mateu, Loïc Maurin, James McCormac, Ivelina Momcheva, Hektor Monteiro, Michael Mueller, Roberto Munoz, Rohan Naidu, Nicholas Nelson, Christian Nitschelm, Chris North, Juan Nunez-Iglesias, Sara Ogaz, Russell Owen, John Parejko, Vera Patrício, Joshua Pepper, Marshall Perrin, Timothy Pickering, Jennifer Piscionere, Richard Pogge, Radek Poleski, Alkistis Pourtsidou, Adrian M. Price-Whelan, Meredith L. Rawls, Shaun Read, Glen Rees, Hanno Rein, Thomas Rice, Signe Riemer-Sørensen, Naum Rusomarov, Sebastian F. Sanchez, Miguel Santander-García, Gal Sarid, William Schoenell, Aleks Scholz, Robert L. Schuhmann, William Schuster, Peter Scicluna, Marja Seidel, Lijing Shao, Pranav Sharma, Aleksandar Shulevski, David Shupe, Cristóbal Sifón, Brooke Simmons, Manodeep Sinha, Ian Skillen, Bjoern Soergel, Thomas Spriggs, Sundar Srinivasan, Abigail Stevens, Ole Streicher, Eric Suchyta, Joshua Tan, O. Grace Telford, Romain Thomas, Chiara Tonini, Grant Tremblay, Sarah Tuttle, Tanya Urrutia, Sam Vaughan, Miguel Verdugo, Alexander Wagner, Josh Walawender, Andrew Wetzel, Kyle Willett, Peter K. G. Williams, Guang Yang, Guangtun Zhu, Andrea Zonca

The Astropy Project (http://astropy.org) is, in its own words, "a community effort to develop a single core package for Astronomy in Python and foster interoperability between Python astronomy packages." For five years this project has been managed, written, and operated as a grassroots, self-organized, almost entirely volunteer effort while the software is used by the majority of the astronomical community. Despite this, the project has always been and remains to this day effectively unfunded. Further, contributors receive little or no formal recognition for creating and supporting what is now critical software. This paper explores the problem in detail, outlines possible solutions to correct this, and presents a few suggestions on how to address the sustainability of general purpose astronomical software.


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