I spent the afternoon with the LIGO team at Caltech. I got the invitation from Roy Williams (Caltech) after I tweeted (yes, tweeted) my disappointment with the LIGO data release policies. So I spent half my talk discussing the costs and benefits of open data sharing. The discussion in the room was very lively, with a range of opinions but none of them very far from my own: Everyone sees data release as hugely beneficial but also very costly. Advanced LIGO is required to do data release and the team is thinking about how to stage and structure it. Much of the discussion we had was about the salient differences between astronomy observatories and missions and physics experiments; the crucial point that LIGO has no sources yet is key and relevant. And a big issue for LIGO is lack of agreement both within LIGO and between LIGO and its partner projects about what is appropriate.
As for current LIGO data: The team is attempting to build a lightweight MOU structure to permit outside access to data without jeopardizing their core mission. I discussed what that would look like and promised to get back to them with a proposal if anyone on my team wants to fire up some analysis. Perez-Giz: I am thinking of you.
[note added later: PDF slides from my talk available here.]