(this is in draft from pending approval at the next Annual General Meeting)

What is ORSO and how do we collaborate?

The Objectives of the Open Reflectometry Standards Organisation (ORSO)

ORSO is an open group of reflectometry scientists from across the globe that are interested in improving our field through collaboration. The collaboration is formed by the efforts of its contributors and has no legal status.

The objectives of the organisation were agreed when the organisation was formed in 2019:

  • to promote international cooperation across X-ray and neutron reflectometry
  • to facilitate consistency across instrumentation and software packages, thereby improving reproducibility of measurement and analysis
  • to facilitate international standardization of methods, units, nomenclature and symbols used in X-ray and neutron reflectometry
  • to provide useful resources for both new and experienced users of these techniques

These objectives can be changed as required, if the ORSO community agrees (see rules for decision making below).

How we administer the organisation

ORSO is intended as a fully open organisation and does not have any formal membership criteria. ORSO will seek balanced representation of the international community but is dependent on the contributions of the community. For the purposes of decision making, we consider as a member any person that contributes to the activities of one of the working groups, registers for the mailing list or attends the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The ORSO chairs (see below) will organise an AGM that is open to all, either as a physical, hybrid or online meeting. Notification of the meeting will be issued via the ORSO webpage and mailing list, as soon as possible and at least 4 weeks prior to the meeting. The purpose of the AGM is to:

  • elect chair persons for each Working Group (every 4 years)
  • allow the chairs persons of each working group to report on the activities of the previous year
  • discuss and vote on significant issues and/or the decisions made by the ORSO chairs
  • resolve disputes on any of these decisions.

In certain cases, in order to ensure timely decision making, consultation with the ORSO membership can be done online between AGMs. The outcome of the consultation or vote should be reported at the AGM in the appropriate forum or working group. The work of ORSO is currently managed by eight elected chair persons, with at least two per Working Group. These positions will normally have a term of four years with one chair from each Working Group elected every two years at the AGM. There is no limit to the number of consecutive terms and self-nominations for these positions are always welcome.

The currently active Working Groups are:

The Reproducibility Working Group is concerned with improving reproducibility in reflectometry by defining calibrations and common references samples. The working group will evangelise on the subject of analytical reproducibility and its importance.

The File Formats Working Group is concerned with managing a standard, shared file format for reflectometry and engaging the community in the uptake of this format.

The Data Analysis Working Group is concerned with collaboration between reflectometry analysis software developers. This will include developing a universal descriptive model language for analysis and generate information about efficiencies of reflectometry calculations.

The Education and Outreach Working Group is concerned with improving the understanding of reflectometry techniques and cataloguing information about reflectometry methods and software. The working group will take the lead on dissemination of the output from all the working groups and organization of annual meetings.

Each Working group is responsible for documenting its contributions and uploading them to the GitHub or other current online repository for the membership to access. A webpage, mailing list, GitHub organisation and Slack channel will be maintained by the ORSO chairs to facilitate communication on active issues. Access to these should be granted to all that request it, with the exception of malicious actors (as decided by the ORSO chairs).

The working groups are intended to be modified to reflect the needs of the reflectometry community. Working Groups can be created, modified or dissolved by a majority vote at the AGM. Any ORSO member can propose/setup a new working group by emailing the current chairs with a 1-page proposal. This proposal will then be put to a vote at the subsequent AGM and chairs elected if it is agreed upon.

Rules for Decision making.

In order to represent the reflectometry community we have the following rules for decision making to ensure that all decisions receive appropriate consultation and approval. Minor decisions for each Working Group can be made by agreement of the ORSO Chairs. These decisions should be summarised in a presentation to the AGM, at which time any such decision can be challenged and voted on accordingly.

Any decisions that do not receive unanimous support of the Chairs, or are considered significant enough to merit it, will be put to a vote at the AGM or by soliciting an online vote. An online vote can be held at any time, according to the rules defined below.

To enable full consultation with the community we will communicate all issues to be voted on at least 4 weeks prior to the scheduled vote. This will primarily be done through the ORSO mailing list and website.

For the purpose of voting each ORSO member will have one vote only. Any interested parties not represented at the AGM or other discussion session may forward their views to the ORSO chairs prior to the meeting, and such views shall be made known to those present. The decisions at the AGM (or in an online vote) are taken by a simple majority of the votes cast (>50%). In the event of an equal division of votes the ORSO Chairs shall take the final decision.

Code of Conduct

  • Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative. Communicate openly, with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals and avoid personal attacks.
  • Contributions to any working group should be appropriately credited in any publicly disseminated output from ORSO (webpage, applications, presentations etc.)
  • It should be understood that acknowledgement will be made on a best-effort basis by anyone making the acknowledgement. Significant contributors should always be acknowledged by name, with minor contributions acknowledged as the “ORSO community”.
  • Each contributor is responsible for policing their own acknowledgement. Any perceived misrepresentation or bad practice should be reported to the ORSO chairs.
  • Any output (document, app, tool or concept) published in the public domain in the name of ORSO should include a brief explanation of how the content was generated and agreed upon (for example through a discussion session at the annual meeting) and acknowledge all contributors. It is expected that major outputs should always be reported at the AGM following publication.

Openness and Independence

The principle of open access is fundamental to the founding principles of ORSO. All systems and decision making should, by default, be open to all. Exclusions should only be made for malicious actors or persistent confrontational or damaging behaviour. On a practical level it may be necessary for the ORSO Chairs to police activity and access to critical systems. ORSO is a collaboration. It is therefore expected that efforts should be made to be inclusive of anyone wishing to contribute. In particular, all activities should be documented on the website or GitHub, and reported at the AGM.

ORSO should be independent of any governing large facility or university. However, it should be acknowledged that contributions can only be made with the consent of such bodies (the employers of ORSO members). This consent is assumed through contributions made to ORSO.