Survey Manual

1100.2 - Editorial Review of U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series

This chapter establishes editing policy and editorial review requirements and defines responsibilities with regard to USGS publication series.


OPR:  Geospatial Information Office

Instructions:  This is a new Survey Manual chapter.

1.  Purpose.

Accuracy and clarity of expression ensure the quality and standards of excellence for information products that are released as official expressions of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  Editorial review ensures that the appropriate Bureau standards and quality assurance for accuracy and clarity of expression are met.  This chapter establishes editing policy and editorial review requirements and defines responsibilities with regard to USGS publication series.

2.  Scope.

Review requirements for USGS information products include peer review, editorial review, and policy review.  Editorial review is usually performed after peer review (refer to SM 502.3) and before policy review, which is part of Bureau approval (refer to SM 502.4).  The editing policy applies to all USGS publication series, including limited-use series, USGS periodicals, and special books and maps (refer to SM 1100.3) released to the public in any media (print, digital, or audiovisual).

3.  References.

A.  SM Part 1100 – Publishing.

B.  SM 1100.3 - U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series.

C.  SM 502.3 - Fundamental Science Practices: Peer Review.

D.  SM 502.4 - Fundamental Science Practices: Review, Approval, and Release of Information Products.

E.  SM 205.18 - Authority to Approve Information Products.

F.  SM 550.1 - USGS Visual Identity System.

G.  SM 600.6 - Implementation and Administration of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

H.  Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey.

I.  U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual.

J.  Office of Personnel Management classification standards.

(1)  Writing and Editing Series.

(2)  Technical Writing and Editing Series.

4.  Policy.  USGS publication series information products require an editorial review.  Depending on which series is used, the editorial review may entail a simple edit or a comprehensive edit (refer to section 5 below), both of which include specific items to be checked during the review (refer to section 6 below).  Other requirements regarding editing are as follows:

A.  Regardless of other editing requirements, any publication series information product that contains sensitive issues, including those having implications related to current policy or involving matters of national interest, hazards, security, or potential commercial gain, should receive a comprehensive edit at the discretion of the Science Center Manager or Bureau Approving Official.

B.  Editorial review of publication series information products is performed by USGS Enterprise Publishing Network (EPN) editors located in Publishing Service Centers (PSCs).  EPN staff editors meet professional standards, such as those of the Office of Personnel Management for the classification of “Editor.”

5.  Definitions.

A.  simple edit includes:

(1)  Copyediting.  Editing for correct grammar, spelling, word usage, and punctuation; editing for consistency in style of capitalization, compounding, hyphenation, symbology, and acronym and abbreviation use; and editing for internal consistency among text, tables, figures, and so forth.

(2)  USGS editing guidelines.  For USGS series information products (with the exception of Administrative Reports) ensuring the uniform and correct application and usage of standards and guidelines, such as USGS Visual Identity System, Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological SurveyGovernment Printing Office Style Manual, and other designated USGS standards and guidelines for maps, books, and other formats.

B.  A comprehensive edit includes the components of a simple edit, as well as the following:

(1)  Verification editing.

(a) In consultation with author, using appropriate references to verify accuracy and consistency in the use of such items as biologic, geographic, geologic, and hydrologic terminology; arithmetic processes, terms, functions, and percentages; and regulatory and law references cited.

(b)  Checking text citations against the references cited section; cross-checking information in the figures, tables, and maps against the text and each other; and verifying agreement among the components of the information product, including but not limited to the cover, title page, table of contents, abstract, body, and conclusions.

(2)  Substantive editing.

(a)  Reviewing for completeness, logical organization, appropriate tone, and clear and effective presentation.

(b)  Determining appropriateness of language, presentation, and release media for target audience.

(c)  Identifying inconsistencies or possible errors in scientific content.

(d)  Rewriting to improve clarity and organization when necessary or to address non-technical or specialized audiences.

(e)  Suggesting the addition of information, tables, graphs, photographs, or other illustrations.

6.  Editing Procedures.

A.  A comprehensive edit is required for USGS publication series information products, with the exception of limited-use series (Open File Reports and Administrative Reports), which require at a minimum, a simple edit.

B.  Specific items to be checked during a simple edit (refer to section 5A) include:

(1)  USGS Visual Identity System (VIS) is used correctly in compliance with VIS requirements and guidance (refer to SM 550.1).

(2)  Statements of endorsement or advocacy are not used.  If trade names are used, the standard USGS trade-name disclaimer statement or note is included (refer to SM 1100.3, Appendix A - USGS Publication Series Definitions).

(3)  If copyrighted material is used, written permission has been obtained to publish the material (refer to SM 1100.6) and is retained on file (usually by the author).

(4)  Web products comply with Section 508 requirements (refer to SM 600.6).

(5)  Current and appropriate USGS contact information is provided.

C.  Specific items to be checked during a comprehensive edit include the items to be checked during a simple edit (section 5A), as well as the following:

(1)  In consultation with subject-matter experts, as appropriate:

(a)  Geographic names.

(b)  Geologic names.

(c)  Hydrologic names.

(d)  Biologic and taxonomic species names.

(e)  Arithmetic terms and functions (for example, totals and percentages).

(f)  Regulatory and law references.

(g)  Definitions of units of measure in conversion tables.

(h)  Glossary terms and definitions.

(i)  Scientific terms and chemical abbreviations.

(2)  Colors, symbols, line weights, patterns, labels, and so forth in illustrations are used consistently and are fully explained in captions, explanations, and legends.

(3)  On occasion, new interpretive information is introduced after Bureau approval.  When an editor notes such an occurrence, the author is informed that the information product must be resubmitted to the Bureau Approving Official.  The Bureau Approving Official may require additional peer review. Production will not continue until appropriate review and approval of the new interpretive material by the Bureau Approving Official is complete.

(4)  If General Information Products and Fact Sheets contain interpretive material, that interpretative information must be referenced to a previously published information product (refer to SM 1100.3, Appendix A).

(5)  Interpretive scientific data or information that has not been previously published is not introduced into a noninterpretive information product (for example, a Fact Sheet).

7.  Responsibilities.

A.  Geospatial Information Office.  The Geospatial Information Office is responsible for developing, maintaining, and communicating the policies and procedures that pertain to publishing USGS information products. 

B. USGS Authors, Managers, Bureau Approving Officials, and Others. Authors, managers, Bureau Approving Officials, and others who are involved in the publishing process are responsible for compliance with this policy.

C.  Authors' Supervisors or Managers.  Authors’ supervisors or managers who authorize the expenditure of funds for editing may require a comprehensive edit for any information product.

D.  Publishing Managers, Publishing Service Center (PSC) Chiefs, and Publishing Staff.  Publishing managers, PSC Chiefs, editors, and other publishing staff are responsible for informing USGS personnel of the existence and content of this policy.  Publishing Managers and PSC Chiefs ensure the appropriate editing review is performed.  Editors work closely with authors to ensure Bureau standards and quality assurance for accuracy and clarity of expression are met.  As a result of that collaboration, editors may make editorial-related recommendations to PSC Chiefs that an information product receive additional editing.  To ensure efficiency in production and release of information products, PSC Chiefs may make editorial-related recommendations to an author's supervisor or manager.

E.  Bureau Approving Officials.  To ensure that USGS information products are clear in presentation, Bureau Approving Officials may require additional editing for an information product.  Bureau Approving Officials ensure that an information product is released in the appropriate USGS publication series or external outlet.


/s/ Karen D. Baker                                                                              08/27/2009
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Karen D. Baker                                                                                   Date
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services