Office of Science Quality and Integrity

C. Publication Approval

  1. Who are the approving officials with authority to grant Bureau approval of science information products?
  2. How is approval granted and what documents at a minimum must be submitted to the approving official?
  3. How do BAOs respond to authors and Science Center Directors after reviewing a manuscript for approval?
  4. What policy failures or issues can result in a manuscript’s rejection, revision, and resubmittal to a BAO?
  5. What editorial failures or issues can require manuscript rejection, revision, and resubmittal to a BAO?
  6. What is a reasonable timeframe for Bureau approval?
  7. How will an author or Science Center Director be informed that a scientific information product has been approved by a BAO?
  8. What happens after a manuscript for a scientific information product has received Bureau approval?
  9. How is an author informed if a manuscript for a scientific information product is not approved?
  10. What is the role of the approving official in selecting an appropriate publication release or outlet?
  11. Where can I find information specifically related to the approval requirements for USGS scientific information products?
  12. What are the review and approval requirements for releasing scientific data to the public?

 

C.1. Who are the approving officials with authority to grant Bureau approval of science information products?

Depending on the product or product content, Bureau approval authority (formerly Director's approval) is delegated to Science Center Directors and to Bureau Approving Officials (BAO)s in the OSQI. Refer to SM 205.18 for detailed information on the approval authority for various scientific information products. Guidance information on Levels of Delegated Bureau Approval Authority for U.S. Geological Survey Information Products.

 

C.2. How is approval granted and what documents at a minimum must be submitted to the approving official?

  • Approval is granted via the IPDS. The following documents must be made available to the approving official:
  • The original manuscript
  • The revised manuscript
  • For USGS-series and journal submissions, editor comments and directions in original form
  • All original peer reviewers' comments, including memoranda or emails from reviewers, and all manuscript markups
  • A reconciliation document addressing all substantive peer review comments and any directions from the editor

 

C.3. How do BAOs respond to authors and Science Center Directors after reviewing a manuscript for approval?

For brief comments, the BAOs will use the comment box in the IPDS and indicate changes needed on the manuscript as necessary. For more extensive comments, the BAOs will provide a memorandum attached as a supporting document in the IPDS or as notes and tracked changes in the approved manuscript that indicates changes needed in the manuscript as necessary. During review of a manuscript, the BAOs may also contact authors or supervisors by email or telephone to resolve or mitigate issues that may affect final approval.

 

C.4. What policy failures or issues can result in a manuscript’s rejection, revision, and resubmittal to a BAO?

Issues in clear violation of FSP policy and procedures or other policies, such as scientific integrity, can result in rejection of a manuscript with a request for revision and resubmittal for approval. These issues include, but are not limited to:

  • inappropriate/inadequate peer reviewers
  • incomplete peer review or reconciliation
  • revised text not addressing reconciliation conclusions
  • inappropriate criticism of others and their work
  • advocacy in presentation of results
  • lack of product endorsement disclaimers

In matters of policy wording, the BAOs may work with authors to mitigate these issues.  If policy issues are not resolved, the manuscript will be rejected. If the issues are major or pervasive, manuscripts may be immediately rejected.  Manuscripts with straightforward but required changes can be approved with the expectation that those changes will be made prior to release of the product.

 

C.5. What editorial failures or issues can require manuscript rejection, revision, and resubmittal to a BAO?

The BAOs recognize poorly written/edited manuscripts as not acceptable under general USGS standards for science presentation and clarity of expression and will return them for further work. Texts with editorial issues of sufficient scope and scale such that one cannot focus on content usually result in rejection. Overall, anything that gives the impression that USGS work is careless of detail, of poor quality, or otherwise insufficient will be rejected. More serious issues include incompleteness of text, inconsistency in presentation, deficient cross-checking of material, poor organization, poor grammar, and major problems with clarity.

 

C.6. What is a reasonable timeframe for Bureau approval?

The length of time for Bureau approval depends on a number of factors such as the length and complexity of the information product, the overall quality and editorial clarity of the presentation, the workload of the approving official, the completeness of the review documentation in IPDS (for example, clearly labeled file records), and so forth. For example, a short paper might take less than one day, whereas a 500-page report will take longer. The average approval time for information products approved by BAOs (excluding abstracts, presentations, posters and data releases and including occurrences where additional information or reviews were required) for FY2017 was six business days. Authors should contact the approving official in advance to ensure that the timeframe in which approval is needed can be met.

 

C.7. How will an author or Science Center Director be informed that a scientific information product has been approved by a BAO?

The product’s lead or senior USGS author, as identified in the IPDS, will receive an automated notice from the IPDS when a scientific information product has received Bureau approval. If so specified, the Science Center Director and the author’s supervisor will also be notified.

 

C.8. What happens after a manuscript for a scientific information product has received Bureau approval?

After Bureau approval, the author can return the manuscript to the PSC for production and publication, if it is to be a USGS publication series product, or submit the manuscript  to the outside entity (for example, journal, cooperator, or symposium publisher) for publication. Before dissemination, approved digital manuscripts and a copy of the final manuscript sent to the journal (referred to as the accepted manuscript) must be added to the IPDS. Once the dissemination step occurs the IPDS record is closed. The routing record that demonstrates FSP compliance and all documents are removed from the active portion of IPDS and go to the IPDS dark archive. The routing record can be retrieved from the dark archive through the custom reports tool in IPDS. Other documents may be retrieved from the dark archive by contacting the IPDS help desk. Once the record is closed no new documents may be added.

 

C.9. How is an author informed if a manuscript for a scientific information product is not approved?

The author is informed by the Science Center Director or designee after he/she receives a rejection notification from the IPDS. 

 

C.10. What is the role of the approving official in selecting an appropriate publication release or outlet?

Generally, selection of the appropriate USGS publication series or external outlet is made by the author and Science Center Director or by the author and Science Center Director in consultation with PSC staff. However, approving officials may consult with authors and managers to ensure the manner of release is consistent with FSP and publishing practices and with the intended audience in mind, and BAOs may make the final decision on the appropriate USGS series or external outlet.

 

C.11. Where can I find information specifically related to the approval requirements for USGS scientific information products?

Information related to what’s involved in obtaining Bureau approval for USGS science information is found in SM 502.4. Requirements regarding who has the authority to approve specific scientific information products are found in SM 205.18.

 

C.12. What are the review and approval requirements for releasing scientific data to the public?

Data intended for public release are subject to USGS FSP review, approval, and release requirements. These requirements include one data review and one metadata review followed by Bureau approval documented in the IPDS as described in SM 502.8. Data are never placed in the IPDS—only the documentation of the required metadata review and data review and any necessary reconciliation are placed in the IPDS as part of the approval package. Data are approved for release by Science Center Directors or their designees.

 

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