Are USGS reports/publications copyrighted?

USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain and can be freely used without permission. All we ask is that you acknowledge the USGS as the source.

While the content of most USGS webpages is in the U.S. public domain, not all information, illustrations, or photographs on our site are. Some non-USGS photographs, images, and/or graphics that appear on USGS websites are used by the USGS with permission from the copyright holder. These materials are generally marked as being copyrighted. To use these copyrighted materials, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder under the copyright law.

When using information from USGS information products, publications, or Web sites, we ask that proper credit be given. Credit can be provided by including a citation such as one of the following:

     Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
     Department of the Interior/USGS
     U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Jane Doe (if the photographer/artist is known)

Policy - For relevant USGS policy on copyrights and trademarks, see our Copyrights and Credits statement or the Survey Manual chapter on USGS Visual Identity System.

You are welcome to create a link to any USGS websites. There is no need to request permission.

Related Content

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What is the USGS policy about coming onto private property to conduct research?

When conducting research on private property, United States Geological Survey (USGS) employees must comply with State and Tribal laws, including trespassing and privacy laws. USGS employees are required to obtain written permission from the landowner when conducting new research and must make the data available at the landowner's request.

What are the Terms of Use/Licensing for map services and data from The National Map?

Map services and data downloaded from The National Map are free and in the public domain. There are no restrictions; however, we request that the following acknowledgment statement of the originating agency be included in products and data derived from our map services when citing, copying, or reprinting: "Map services and data available from U.S...

Are USGS topographic maps copyrighted?

All topographic maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are in the public domain and are not copyrighted except for the following three cases that apply only to US Topo maps (produced 2009-present): Most maps in the period 2010-2016 contain commercially licensed road data (see note below). Orthoimages in Alaska are commercially licensed...

How can I find out-of-print USGS publications?

Out-of-print USGS publications and maps, depending on series and date, can be obtained in various ways: Check the USGS Publications Warehouse for online availability. If the publication is listed but does not have a link to a digital version, contact the Publications Warehouse Team to request a digital copy. Borrow from your local public, academic...

How can I find publications of the USGS?

The USGS Publications Warehouse is an online catalog for searching all USGS publications and downloading free digital versions. USGS Libraries contain sets of all USGS publications plus many state geological survey publications. The public go in person to any USGS library to do research, but USGS library materials can only be borrowed by placing a...
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Date published: February 8, 2016

USGS Increases Public Access to Scientific Research

The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan.

Date published: March 21, 2001

Not Just Another Library - At the USGS in Menlo Park

With more than 400,000 volumes and 35,000 maps, the library of the U. S. Geological Survey, at 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, is the largest earth-science library on the West Coast, and part of the largest earth sciences library system in the world.

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April 5, 2011

Treasures of the USGS Library

Since its creation in 1882, the USGS Library has grown to become the world's largest library dedicated to earth and natural sciences, holding more than 1.5 million volumes and 800,000 maps. Richard Huffine, Director of the USGS Libraries Program, will highlight some of the rarest, most valuable, and significant materials held by the USGS. These include early maps of

Image: Treasures of the USGS Library: Rare Book Room
November 12, 2009

Treasures of the USGS Library: Rare Book Room

The USGS Library contains a collection of rare books including those featured in this gallery. The collections housed in Reston, Virginia are closed and are available for use by appointment only.

Image: Central Region Library Field Records Collection
August 1, 2008

Central Region Library Field Records Collection

The USGS Denver Library, Field Records Collection is an archive of unpublished field notes, maps, correspondence, manuscripts, analysis reports, and other data created or collected by USGS Geologic Discipline scientists during field studies and other project work. Materials in the collection represent almost 130 years of scientific investigations by the USGS, from the

Cover of publication for Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey

Publication Cover for Public Access to USGS Research

Cover of publication for Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data