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August 17, 2023

This story highlights a project team researching an aspect of open science—co-production—and demonstrates how teams can make sensitive social science data open and accessible.

Scientists working with the National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) network are often tasked with carrying out scientific studies that inform policy and decision making. One effective method to develop useful scientific products is co-production with local stakeholders. Co-production improves the open exchange of information among stakeholders. The processes and impacts of conducting this type of collaborative science are not well understood, though.  Limited metrics exist to assess research outcomes. Currently, the only metric is the number of peer reviewed journal publications.  

The North Central and South Central CASCs developed a research project to assess the societal impacts of their science. They distributed a survey to targeted stakeholders in their regions. The goal of the survey was to learn about how stakeholders interact with project teams. The survey results will help to improve how project teams execute their research to best serve the stakeholders.

As a social science project, there were a few extra data management steps required for proper data handling.  This research team developed a novel survey tool that they wanted to distribute to non-federal respondents. So, they needed a Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) review of the proposed data collection and survey questions. They received PRA approval and began data collection. They stored raw data on a secure server in a password protected location to safeguard the personal identifiable information (PII). To meet open data policies, the team summarized the survey results in tables to release to the public.  They also included word cloud graphics in this release. The summarized information helps to protect PII while delivering the same information in an open format.  The final product is Section 508 compliant to allow the document to be accessible to users of all abilities.  The summary dataset and graphics included standard USGS metadata.   

Project Page:;  

Dataset (Survey Responses):   

PRA Approved Survey Template:   

Journal article:

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