JWST Cycle 1 proposals will be reviewed by panels of scientists from the international astronomical and planetary science communities that will make recommendations to the STScI Director.
How STScI Conducts the Proposal Review
JWST programs are selected through competitive peer review. A broad range of scientists from the international astronomical community evaluate and rank all submitted proposals using a well-defined set of criteria and paying special attention to any potential conflicts of interest. The review panels and the Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) offer their recommendations to the STScI Director. The STScI Director is the Selecting Official for JWST. Based on the recommendations, the Director will make the final allocation of observing time.
The Review Panels
The review panels will consider Small GO (≤ 25 hours), Medium GO (25-75 hours), Calibration GO, Survey, Regular AR, Calibration AR, Community Data Science Software, and Theory proposals. Each review panel has an allocation of a specific number of hours, depending on the overall proposal number submitted in a given area. Medium Proposals are reviewed by the panels and ranked together with the Small Proposals, but are charged differently to the panel's allocation. Each panel will be allowed (but not required) to recommend one Medium Proposal that falls above the hour allocation line at no cost to the panel's allocation total. However, any subsequent Medium Proposals that are ranked above the allocation line will be deducted from that allocation. The panel recommendations generally do not require further approval of the TAC, and scientific balance will be determined within each panel rather than by the TAC. The panels do not adjudicate Large GO (>75 hours) or Treasury GO proposals, but they will send comments on those proposals to the TAC.
Panelists are chosen based on their expertise in one or more of the scientific topics covered by the panel. Each panel spans several scientific categories. In Cycle 1, we anticipate having panels covering the following areas: Solar System, Planets and planet formation, Stellar Physics, Stellar Populations (resolved) and the Galactic/nearby galaxy ISM, Galaxies and the IGM, Massive black holes and their host galaxies, and Cosmology. Examples of the topical areas covered by each panel are given in the following table:
Within a panel, proposals are assigned to individual expert reviewers based partly on the keywords given in the proposal and partly on analysis of the proposal text. The Science Mission Office at STScI reserves the right to re-classify proposals.
The Telescope Allocation Committee
The TAC will include the TAC chair, the panel chairs from all panels, and three at-large members to ensure broad expertise across the full range of scientific categories. The primary responsibility of the TAC is to review Large GO and Treasury GO programs, and any other particularly large requests of resources, and will be the arbiter of any extraordinary or cross-panel issues.
Reviewers are instructed to focus on the science case presented in the proposal.
Evaluations of JWST proposals are based on the following criteria:
Additional Criteria for all GO Proposals
Additional Criteria for Large GO and Treasury GO Proposals
Additional Criterion for Survey Proposals
Additional Criterion for Calibration Proposals
Additional Criteria for all Archival Proposals
Additional Criteria for Treasury GO Proposals
Additional Criteria for Theory Proposals
Additional Criteria for Community Data Science Software Proposals