Office of Science Quality and Integrity

Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) Levels of Delegated Bureau Approval Authority for U.S. Geological Survey Information Products

Updated October 2019

The authority to approve scientific information products with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) authorship for release ultimately rests with the Director of the USGS. However, this approval responsibility is delegated to others in the Bureau (refer to Survey Manual (SM) chapter SM 205.18).

For example, information products that contain research or new interpretive material must receive Bureau approval by a Bureau Approving Official (BAO) in the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI); with the exception of abstracts, posters used in poster sessions, and presentation materials as detailed below, this approval cannot be redelegated to the Science Center or equivalent level.

Information products that are based on previously approved published material or that do not contain new interpretive material can receive Bureau approval by a Science Center Director or equivalent. The term "Science Center Director" is equivalent to other terms that may be used in the USGS, such as Chief Scientist, Science Center Manager, Center or Branch Chief, Coop Unit Leader, and Cost Center Manager. The Science Center Director may redelegate this approval authority to a designee of comparable responsibility or knowledge. Science Center Directors (or designees) may request that any information product be approved by a BAO—for instance, it is strongly encouraged that information products containing content that may be considered highly visible, policy sensitive, influential scientific information or highly influential scientific assessments (for example, mineral, energy, or biological assessments and any associated information products) be passed to BAOs in the OSQI for approval.

Guidance for distinguishing new research or interpretive information products and secondary uses of previously published or noninterpretive information products is available at here. Regardless of the content, Bureau scientific information products must be approved in accordance with USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) requirements.

The table below provides the Bureau approval levels (based on the content) for most of the various information products prepared by the USGS. Information on the reviews required prior to Bureau approval (peer review, data review, metadata review, and editorial review) for the listed product types and related reference information is also included (refer to SM 502.4 for additional information on these and other reviews that may be needed). All information products requiring Bureau approval by a BAO in the OSQI or a Science Center Director must be entered in the internal USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS) where the approval is documented.

 

PDF Version  Note: use this version when printing a hard copy of the tabulated formatted information.

Information Product Type or Name Description or Definition Content Required Review and
Reference Information
Bureau Approval Level
Science Center Director or Equivalent BAO in the OSQI
Abstract, poster session, presentation, exhibit, newsletter Abstract: Information products disseminated or published in programs of formal conferences or meetings of scientific societies and professional organizations. 
 
Poster session and presentation: Materials for formal conferences or meetings of scientific societies and professional organizations that are for conference dissemination or are posted on a public website.
New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. Optional peer review, at the discretion of the Science Center Director (or designee) X  
Interpretive information based on previously approved published products (if new conclusions are not included) OR noninterpretive information. Optional peer review, at the discretion of the Science Center Director (or designee) X  
Book (book chapter, symposium proceedings, conference publication, workshop report, textbook, guidebook, encyclopedia entry, atlas, map, thesis) Information products published outside USGS or held in a library with public access. May include a compilation of extended abstracts or short manuscripts associated with a specific symposium or meeting. New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3   X
Interpretive information based on previously approved published products (if new conclusions are not included) OR noninterpretive information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3 X  
Book review, technical comments and reply USGS-authored review or technical comments and (or) reply published in a scientific outlet (rather than as a news media report). New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3   X
Interpretive information based on previously approved published products (if new conclusions are not included) OR noninterpretive information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3 X  
Cooperator publication Products providing results of studies conducted with cooperators released by the cooperating entity; usually part of a named (and perhaps numbered) series that can include interactive web-based publications. May not be a private communication to the cooperator and is a published release under the auspices of another entity. New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3   X
Interpretive information based on previously approved published products (if new conclusions are not included) OR noninterpretive information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3 X  
Data release Data and associated metadata that may or may not be linked to a companion publication. A data release product is not considered interpretive; all data release products are approved by the Science Center Director (or designee). A data review and a metadata review; refer to SM 502.8 X  
Extended abstract Multipage products summarizing scientific studies, results, and principal conclusions which may include figures and tables to be published as part of a formal conference or meetings of scientific societies and professional organizations.  New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3   X
Interpretive information based on previously approved published products (no new conclusions are included) OR noninterpretive information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3 X  
Extramural-authored publication These products result from USGS-funded research grants, do not have USGS authors, and are not subject to FSP review and approval. The IPDS is used as a mechanism to catalog and store the accepted manuscript of these publications as a record of USGS-funded products to meet USGS public access requirements. Routes through the IPDS with one step ("Prepare for approval") by the person initiating the record after which the product is stored in the IPDS dark archive and cataloged by the Publications Warehouse. Not applicable; refer to this FAQ Not applicable Not applicable
Journal or periodical article Manuscripts for articles and papers submitted to peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed journals and magazines. New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3   X
Interpretive information based on previously approved published products (if new conclusions are not included) OR noninterpretive information. A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3 X  
Science news article, news/press release,  opinion piece, letter to editor, video for news release, obituary, social media, audiovisual products Products released in science outlets such as journals. These products can include general information of interest to the science-related news media.
 
If these products contain policy sensitive, highly visible, or influential information (refer to the USGS Peer Review Agenda for required documentation for influential products), the BAO will request an additional review by the Bureau Public Affairs Officer. Final approval by the BAO is granted only after all reviews and reconciliations are complete and any concerns by the Public Affairs Officer have been addressed.
A minimum of two peer reviews; refer to SM 502.3
 
Bureau Public Affairs Officer review, at the request of the BAO; refer to SM 500.5
  X
Products released in a non-scientific news media outlet. These products can include interpretive information based on previously approved published products (if new conclusions are not included) or noninterpretive information. Optional peer review, at the discretion of the Science Center Director (or designee); refer to SM 502.3
 
Bureau Public Affairs Officer review, at the request of the Science Center Director (or designee); refer to SM 500.5
X  
All Other Official Public News Media Communications, Audio Visual Products, Social Media Accounts Official Public News Media Communications: Press releases, media advisories, media events, news features, news media interviews, speeches, statements about official business for public release, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, social media, internet and intranet postings, technical announcements, or other information and material given to news media representatives and by other means.
 
Audiovisual Media and Products:  Video productions, motion picture films compact discs, photographs, slides, animations, public service announcements, video news features, and electronic/satellite transmissions.
 
Social Media Accounts: All official USGS social media presences.
These public news media communications are distinguished from the types of scientific new articles published in science outlets as described in the previous row.
 
Audio visual media used for purposes of broadcasting public information.
 
Social media accounts including, but not limited to, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Required reviews determined and documented by the Office of Communications and Publishing (OCAP); refer to SM 500.5 (for official news media communications, SM 1100.7 (for audiovisual products), and https://www.usgs.gov/connect/social-media (for social media accounts) OCAP, Bureau Public Affairs Officer
Software release Source code or executable code instructions suitable for computer processing regardless of intended platform (web server, mobile device, supercomputer, and others). Examples include computational models, applications for mobile devices, data-processing applications, scientific programming scripts and workflows, code libraries, and algorithms; these products may or may not be linked to a companion publication. A software release product is considered noninterpretive Review, at the discretion of the Science Center Director (or designee); refer to IM OSQI 2019-01 and the Software Management website X  
USGS-owned online databases or web data services Database: Datasets and other items stored together to serve one or more purposes or applications, often including data query or search and retrieval capabilities.
 
Web Data Service: A web service that provides remote access to data using standard data-access protocols.  Data services may include application program interfaces (API), which are sets of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. 
A database and data services are considered noninterpretive A data review and a metadata review; refer to SM 502.8 X  
USGS web page A web page may contain text, images, sounds, and video that are viewed through a web browser, at a single unique URL. Based on previously published information products. A web page cannot be used to release new interpretive material, except in certain applications, such as an interactive web-based map or model simulations based on real-time data that cannot be effectively released in a USGS publication series or other information product. Optional peer review, at the discretion of the Science Center Director (or designee) X  
USGS series publications Refer to chapter SM 1100.3 and its Appendix A for general descriptions and detailed definitions for the various USGS publication series that may be used.
 
All USGS publication series information products are produced through the OCAP’s Science Publishing Network (SPN).
New interpretive information and (or) policy sensitive or highly visible information. A minimum of two peer reviews
 
An editorial review by the SPN; refer to SM 1100.2
  X
Interpretive information based on previously published products (no new conclusions are included) OR based on noninterpretive information. A minimum of two peer reviews
 
An editorial review by the SPN; refer to SM 1100.2
X  

 

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