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SEP-0002 - SunPy Organization Definition

title SunPy Organization Definition
author(s) Steven Christe
contact email
date-creation 2014/02/16
type process
discussion Unavailable
status accepted


The SunPy organization currently lacks a formal organization structure. This proposal defines the SunPy organization which manages the code and related properties (e.g. docs, website, etc.)

Detailed Description

The organization of SunPy is modeled on that usually adopted by non-profit organizations (e.g. 501c. This organization structure is tried and tested and has the added advantage that it should provide a smooth transition to incorporating a SunPy foundation if it becomes necessary in the future (e.g. for funding purposes). The primary role of the organization is to facilitate and promote the use and development of community-led, free and open-source solar data-analysis software based on the scientific Python environment. This includes but is not limited to the following tasks

  • developing the SunPy software library
  • manage and protect the SunPy brand and identity
  • promote SunPy to the community
  • managing SunPy assets, i.e. github account, domain name etc.

The organization consists of an executive director, a board, and the developer community. The goal of the proposed structure to provide and promote community input into the project.

Board of Directors

The primary function of the board is to elect an executive director as well as review and vote on proposed SEPs. SEPs are the primary mechanism through which all major changes to SunPy both the organization and the codebase are proposed and accepted.

  • Membership Limit: The board shall consist of at least 5 members and no more than 10 members. Within these limits, the board may increase or decrease the number of directors serving on the board, including for the purpose of staggering the terms of members.

  • Term Length: All members shall be elected to serve a maximum of a two-year term, however the term may be extended until a successor has been elected. A member may be re-elected at the end of their term.

  • Staggering: Members terms shall be staggered so that approximately half the number of members will end their terms in any given year.

  • The term of office shall be considered to begin January 1 and end December 31 of the second year in office, unless the term is extended until such time as a successor has been elected.

  • Vacancies: The board may fill vacancies or may appoint new members to fill a previously unfilled board position, subject to the maximum number of directors under these Bylaws. Known upcoming vacancies shall be advertised no less than 4 months before the vacancy become available. Unanticipated vacancies shall be advertised as soon possible. All vacancies shall be advertised to the community via the appropriate mailing lists, newsletters and webpages and other communication channels. The board shall fill vacancies as soon as possible.

  • Removal: A member may be removed by a two-thirds majority vote of the full board, if (a) the member is absent and unexcused from 50% or more meetings of the board in a twelve month period. The board chair is empowered to excuse members from attendance for a reason deemed adequate by the board chair. The chair shall not have the power to excuse him/herself from the board meeting attendance and in that case, the board vice chair shall excuse the chair. Or (b) for cause or no cause, if before any meeting of the board at which a vote on removal will be made the director in question is given electronic or written notification of the board’s intention to discuss her/his case and is given the opportunity to be heard at a meeting of the board.

  • Quorum: A strict majority (>50%) of the members shall constitute a quorum for a meeting of the board. No business shall be considered by the board at any meeting at which a quorum is not present.

  • Majority Vote: Except as otherwise specified the act of the majority of the directors present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the board.

  • Absentee Voting: Voting by proxy is not allowed. An act of the board may allow for a vote to take place by correspondence (e.g., email). A time window of at least a week must be provided for votes to be cast and a quorum will be defined by the number of votes cast.

  • Hung Board Decisions: On the occasion of a tie, the board chair or vice-chair in the order of presence shall have the power to swing the vote based on his/her discretion.

  • Regular Meetings: The board shall have at least a meeting every quarter at times and places fixed by the board. Board meetings shall provide at least one week (7) days notice. Notice of meetings shall specify the place, day, and hour of meeting. The purpose of the meeting need not be specified.

  • Extra Meetings: Extra meetings of the board may be called by the chair or vice-chair or any two (2) members of the board. A special meeting must be preceded by at least 7 days notice to each member of the date, time, and place, but not the purpose, of the meeting.

  • Board officers: The officers of the board shall be a board chair, vice-chair, and secretary, all of whom shall be chosen by, and serve at the pleasure of, the board. Officers shall serve one year terms and can serve consecutive terms.

  • Board Chair: The board chair shall lead the board in performing its duties and responsibilities, including, if present, leading all meetings of the board, and shall perform all other duties incident to the office or properly required by the board.

  • Vice-chair: In the absence of the board chair, the vice-chair shall perform the duties of the board chair. When so acting, the vice-chair shall have all the powers of and be subject to all the restrictions upon the board chair.

  • Secretary: The secretary shall be responsible for keeping the minutes of all meetings and actions of board. The minutes of each meeting shall state the time and place that it was held, the members present, and such other information as shall be necessary to determine the actions taken and whether the meeting was held in accordance with the law and these Bylaws.

  • Executive Director: The board shall select an executive director (ED). The ED cannot also serve as the board chair or vice-chair. The ED may also be a member of the board though this is not required. The ED shall serve a one year term, and can be re-elected.

The Executive Director

The role of the executive director is to manage the day to day operations of the SunPy organization. The executive director (ED for short) shall:

  • hold regular meetings with the developer community (at least monthly)
  • make regular reports to the board (at least quarterly)
  • have push privileges to the SunPy repository and can delegate those privileges
  • have ownership privileges to the SunPy GitHub organization
  • create and maintain the SunPy code of conduct (see below)

The current Executive Director is named in SEP-0006.

Code of Conduct

The SunPy organization shall have an explicit code of conduct to state the norms of peer interactions, including inclusiveness and respect, and describe the process for dispute resolution. The code of conduct shall be publicly posted on the SunPy website. The code of conduct shall be accessible in such a manner as to welcome and incorporate feedback from the developer community, even anonymous feedback.

The Advisory Board

The board or executive director may appoint an advisory board to advise the board and executive director.

Board Members

Initially, a 2-year term is defined to expire on December 31, 2016 and a 1-year term is defined to expire on December 31, 2015. Initial member of the board shall be (with term length in parentheses):

  1. Steven Christe (2 year)
  2. Jack Ireland (2 year)
  3. Stuart Mumford (1 year)
  4. David Perez-Suarez (2 year)
  5. Albert Shih (2 year)
  6. Russell Hewett (1 year)
  7. Andrew Inglis (1 year)

For an up to date list of board members see SEP-0006.


Decision Rationale

Voted on and approved at the 2nd SunPy organisation meeting (which took place on 17-Mar-2014), approved by all present (the members of the initial board).