I just filed https://github.com/scipy/scipy/pull/15607 after an offline discussion with Ralf earlier this month.
The summary of that PR is: This is a good time to get rid of the `scipy.misc` submodule since it houses only a handful of functions. As of today, most of the methods have already been deprecated from the `misc` module. They have generally moved under some other submodule. In this case, it is best to create a `scipy.datasets` submodule that can be home to the dataset functions (ascent, face, ecg). Adding a datasets submodule is not a new idea, and was proposed a couple of years ago by Warren (see https://github.com/scipy/scipy/pull/8707), but unfortunately, it never went ahead.
Adding this submodule is not only sensible from an organizational/structural point of view but will also help reduce the wheel size of SciPy package. This is possible if we decouple the dataset files from the SciPy repository making use of Pooch to download and cache datasets kept in separate repos. See the PR for more details.
I also filed https://github.com/scipy/scipy/issues/15608
Out of the 5 methods in `scipy.misc`, three dataset functions can be moved to this datasets submodule and will slowly be deprecated from misc. The question about the other two methods i.e (derivative, central_diff_weights) is up for discussion and I'd like to understand what will be the best way to deprecate them. Should we move them to a submodule like integrate (keeping derivative makes sense to me)? On the other hand, considering these two methods are not used extensively so one possibility is to deprecate both of them completely and remove them from SciPy.
Please share your opinion/concerns, and comment if you see a potential issue with this.