What is the USGS policy for release of scientific data? Are any USGS products restricted?

Scientific data obtained through USGS funding are the property of the Federal Government and as such are Federal records. USGS scientific data are made available publicly at no cost and are considered to be in the public domain except where access must be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality, or other constraints.

If you can’t find USGS products or data through our website or our Science Data Catalog, please contact USGS Science Information Services for assistance.

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When/Why does the USGS publish research results in outside journals that require a fee to access rather than in the USGS publication series?

Publishing in outside journals by USGS scientists allows the research—including its scientific and practical contributions—to be disseminated to others in a particular field. This makes scientific researchers and practitioners with similar interests aware of new knowledge in their field, and it helps to advance knowledge and its application. USGS...

What are the different USGS publication series?

The primary USGS publication series include: Fact Sheet (for general audiences) General Information Product (for general audiences) Circular (for general audiences) Professional Paper Scientific Investigations Report Scientific Investigations Map Data Report Techniques and Methods Open-File Report Learn more: USGS Manual: USGS Publication series...

What does the USGS (United States Geological Survey) do?

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) is a science bureau within the United States Department of the Interior . The USGS provides science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate...

When should I use a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request information?

All USGS products and publications are in the public domain. Most are readily available for free download on our website. Before launching a potentially time-consuming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, make sure that the information you need cannot be easily obtained by immediate means. Visit the USGS website , explore our FOIA Reading...

What USGS products are already publicly available?

As the Nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, we have numerous types of products. Most of these--including data, tools, maps, and publications--are publicly available through our website. Almost all digital materials can be downloaded at no cost to the public. For information about the availability of...

What can I do if I cannot find a publication in the USGS Publications Warehouse?

If you can't find a known publication in our USGS Publications Warehouse , first try contacting the Publications Warehouse Team . If a print copy is readily available to them, they’re sometimes able to scan it and post it online for free download within a few days. If that doesn’t work, chances are good that the publication can be requested...

Can I join the USGS?

As a science agency for the United States government, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves all United States citizens. The USGS can only be “joined” by its employees, but citizens can get involved in USGS research through its Citizen Science programs . Some USGS Citizen Science opportunities are also listed on the Volunteer.gov website. Keep...

How do I find a USGS news release?

The easiest way to find USGS news releases is to select " News " in the top navigation menu on our home page . You can also subscribe to our news through RSS feeds and social media outlets . A quick way to find news releases on specific topics is to put a keyword in the search box that's at the top of most USGS websites, then select the "News"...

How do I get USGS data?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides data on many different science topics. Most of it can be downloaded for free from our website. Our Science Data Catalog is a good starting point. Also try using your browser's search engine and including the keyword "usgs.gov". If you are looking for a particular data set and cannot find it...

How do I contact the USGS?

For general inquiries, call 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747). You can also use this website to send us a message or to initiate a live Web chat with a USGS Science Information Specialist. Most of our employees are listed in our online Staff Profiles . USGS offices are located in every state. Please note, however, that most of them perform very...
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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.

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Embudo Gage Graph, NMWSC
April 23, 2019

NWIS graph of Embudo, NM Gage showing discharge

Image of an NWIS graph of Embudo, NM gage showing discharge measurements https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis