LIGO Document T1000414-v13

An Astrophysical Metric for LIGO Open Data Release

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T - Technical notes
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We describe a quantitative criterion, based on the astrophysical predictions for binary neutron star (BNS) coalescence rates, for defining a specific time to bring the LIGO open data release policy into effect. Given the significant uncertainties in the rates and strengths of astrophysical sources, it is possible that no gravitational waves will be detected even when this criterion is met. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to guide our decision on when to release data by considering plausible astrophysical scenarios. We find that an observable space-time volume for BNS systems of \( 3\times 10^7 \) Mpc\( ^3 \) yr, corresponding to an observation time of slightly less than one year at design sensitivity for two Advanced LIGO detectors, would give a ``reasonable chance'' of detecting gravitational waves from BNS mergers, and is a well-motivated astrophysical criterion for defining the beginning of the LIGO open data era.
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