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 scientists publish in both free open access journals and journals requiring a fee to provide access.

Regardless of where published, all USGS funded or authored scholarly publications (including journal articles) published on or after October 1, 2016, are subject to the USGS Public Access Plan, which requires that free public access be provided no later than 12 months after publication.

USGS publication series (both past and present) are immediately available for public access.

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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 it mean when a publication is peer reviewed?

A peer-reviewed publication is also sometimes referred to as a scholarly publication. The peer-review process subjects an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field (peers) and is considered necessary to ensure academic scientific quality. Learn more: USGS Manual: Peer Review

What is the review process for USGS scientific information products (publications)?

All USGS-authored publications (whether published internally or externally) receive a minimum of two peer reviews, a supervisory review, and final clearance by a Bureau approving official to ensure that all related USGS and Federal policies have been followed. Additional reviews might also be needed, including editorial review by the USGS Science...

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...

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...

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.

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