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USGS Data Management

Publish/Share > Data Release / Embargo

U. S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram Plan Acquire Preserve Publish/Share Describe (Metadata and Documentation) Manage Quality Backup and Secure
USGS Data Lifecycle Diagram

Data Release / Embargo

Data Release

Key Points

  • The Data Release Working Group will develop a system for determining when data from the USGS can be released for USGS users and researchers.
  • Data embargo is a policy in which data are submitted to a repository but not released to the public for a specified amount of time.
  • Allowing data producers to control when their data are released can minimize their risks and concerns about data sharing.

Most often external scientists, other agencies, and organizations request data from the USGS for analysis or integration with their databases and datasets. Additionally, journals and publishers are increasingly requiring release of data to accompany approved publication. Lastly, USGS policy will require a review of the data and metadata intended for release.

In February 2012, the Community for Data Integration (CDI) created a new working group called the Data Release Team, which is focused on addressing the release of USGS data and metadata. The working group has developed helpful guidance for data and metadata review:

Confused about interpretive versus non-interpretive information products?

USGS Fundamental Science Practices provides a decision tree [PDF] to help clarify when an information product is non-interpretive or interpretive. More information about the differences is available at the Web site Fundamental Science Practices (FSP).

Data Embargo

Setting a guideline for data releases or establishing data embargos can be useful tools for data producers to manage and analyze their data before sharing.

A data embargo is a policy in which data are submitted to a repository with the understanding that they will not be publically released for a specified amount of time. Some repositories have the capacity to prevent access until release to the public is approved and agreements about the terms of the embargo should be specified between the repository and the contributor.

Utilizing an embargo policy can minimize risks to the data producer and therefore encourages data sharing.

Best Practices

  • Search the chosen repository for guidelines on data embargos for data producers.
  • Set clear dates for the data embargo and formalize this understanding with the repository.
  • See Preserve > Repositories for more information.

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