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E. Extended Guidance and Specific Products


E.4.1. What is the FSP policy for abstracts?

It is important to note that USGS abstracts generally fall into two categories: they can be “placeholders” for scientific conference or meeting sessions or they can be “extended” abstracts that are multipage, summarize scientific studies, results, and principal conclusions, or contain new interpretive scientific information, figures, and tables. The Science Center Director determines the need for peer review of abstracts that contain new interpretive content, that is, peer review of abstracts is at the discretion of the Science Center Director. The Science Center Director determines what constitutes an extended abstract, extended abstracts have the same approval requirements as journal articles and require approval by a Bureau Approving Official in the Office of Scientific Quality and Integrity. For all other abstracts, regardless of the content (new interpretive or previously published material), Bureau approval is granted by the Science Center Director. Additionally, all abstracts must be tracked, and approval documented in the IPDS. Also refer to a diagram showing review and approval for abstracts, SM 205.18, and SM 502.3. An FSP training module that provides additional guidance on the requirements for abstracts is available.

E.4.2. What is the FSP policy for presentation materials and posters used in poster sessions? 

Presentation materials and poster sessions for scientific meetings, conferences, and hearings that are presented once and not left for conference dissemination or posted on a public website do not require peer review. If these products are left for conference dissemination or are posted on a public website, whether they do or do not contain new interpretive material, the need for their peer review is at the discretion of the Science Center Director. Presenters are cautioned that it is inappropriate to display sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information in these materials and they must consult with their supervisors and other managers before presenting any materials that potentially contain such information. Additionally, all poster session/presentation materials requiring Bureau approval must be tracked and approval documented in the IPDS. Refer to a diagram showing approval for poster session/presentation materials, as well as SM 205.18 and SM 502.3 for more information. Note: If the poster session/presentation materials have been disseminated (made available to the public in any way) without author permission or knowledge and without Bureau approval, then an after-the-fact approval (and peer review as appropriate) must be done to confirm the record. The timing of the process should be made clear by adding applicable comments in the IPDS. Managers or supervisors may request changes to or require removal of the poster session/presentation materials from dissemination if an after-the-fact review and approval shows that such actions are warranted. For additional guidance, refer to the FSP training module on the requirements for posters and presentation materials. Policy references and other guidance on virtual presentations and poster sessions are also available.

E.4.3. What is the FSP policy for using previously approved abstracts, poster sessions, and presentation materials for various meetings?

If an abstract, poster session, or presentation that has received prior review and approval is reused in a different meeting venue, then additional Bureau approval is not required as long as the content of these materials has not been substantially changed. Authors should always ensure that supervisors and management are informed, however, whenever USGS scientific information is presented, even if the material has been presented in a prior venue. Refer to delegated Bureau approval authority for additional information about approval for these products.

E.4.4. Can working notes be posted to a public web page as supplementary material for others to use?

No, working notes, field notes, and other related material that have not met FSP requirements of peer review and Bureau approval cannot be posted to a public USGS or other website. These materials are considered predecisional and are protected from public disclosure as described in SM 502.5, section 5, unless the materials have been specifically included for publication as part of the approved manuscript or are subject to a FOIA request. 

E.4.5. What are the requirements for audiovisual media and products? 

The USGS Office of Communications and Publishing (OCAP) has primary responsibility and provides policy direction for audiovisual products, including video productions, motion picture films, public service announcements, video news features, and electronic/satellite transmissions that are produced by or attributed to the USGS. For these proposed audiovisual products, the OCAP reviews, approves, and certifies them for approval by the DOI Office of Communications (refer to SM 1100.7). Other audiovisual products that do not require approval by the OCAP include optical discs (such as CD, DVD, and Blu-ray), photographs, slide presentations, animations, and productions by private organizations produced in cooperation with the USGS or sponsored in part by the USGS through grants or cooperative agreements, provided that the USGS contribution does not exceed 50 percent of the total production cost. When in doubt about the requirements related to your audiovisual product, contact OCAP for guidance. In addition, FSP and publishing requirements related to review, approval, and release of scientific information products must be followed as appropriate for applicable audiovisual products (refer to SM 205.18 and SM 502.4). A short training module explaining FSP requirements for audiovisual and other product types is available at FSP for Authors of Other Information Products.

E.4.6. What is the review and approval process for news releases, letters to the editor, and opinion pieces? 

News releases, opinion pieces (commonly called op-eds), and letters to the editor are under the purview of the USGS OCAP and are governed by review, approval and release processes as detailed in SM 500.5. Refer to delegated Bureau approval authority for additional information about approval of scientific news media products. A short training module explaining FSP requirements for news releases, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and other product types is available at FSP for Authors of Other Information Products.

E.4.7. A journal requests that a USGS scientist contribute to a “book review”—what are the FSP review and approval requirements? 

Book reviews are, by their nature, critical and may be positive, negative, or anywhere in between. The intent of the review is to address the content, not advance the notion of purchase. Book reviews are, by definition, new interpretive content. As for other new interpretive science information, two peer reviews are required and Bureau approval by a BAO is required for the book review prior to it being submitted to the journal for publication. A short training module explaining FSP requirements for book reviews and other product types is available at FSP for Authors of Other Information Products.

E.4.8. A book publisher has contacted me to contribute a short "blurb" review of content for the back of a book cover. As a USGS scientist, will my positive review be interpreted as an endorsement?

Yes. By definition, a short review or "blurb" placed by the book publisher on the back cover, elsewhere on the book jacket, or as front matter or back matter inside the book is an endorsement of the contents in the sense that it is meant to encourage a potential reader to read or purchase the product. In other words, a short "blurb" review, regardless of the content, is designed to get a consumer to buy the book thereby contributing to the private gain of the book author and the book publisher. A USGS employee must not associate his or her position or affiliation with the USGS in these kinds of reviews. It is possible for an employee to conduct a short "blurb" review in his or her personal, off-duty capacity. Prior to providing a "blurb" to a publisher, the USGS Ethics Office must first evaluate whether the employee may review the book in an outside capacity and then approve the activity. For the evaluation, the employee must submit a USGS Form 9-1510, Request for Ethics Approval to Engage in Outside Work or Activity, through his or her supervisor to the Ethics Office. A short "blurb" review done in an outside capacity could mention a person's university degree(s), general professional title, and residence city and state. For example, "John J. Reviewer, Ph.D., Geoscientist, (City and State of Residence)." Employees contacted to provide a short "blurb" review in their official or unofficial capacity should contact the Ethics Office for guidance at the earliest opportunity. 

E.4.9. What are cooperator publications and how are they addressed in FSP? 

Cooperators are entities that mutually address research questions with the USGS, most often through funding our work. Cooperator publications are one outlet for releasing the results of such endeavors. Cooperator publications are released in full by the cooperating entity in a publicly accessible location (such as an established publications page on the cooperator's website), are clearly a cooperator's product and not a USGS product, and usually are part of a named (and perhaps numbered) series that can include interactive web-based publications. All cooperator publications must meet USGS standards for release of material to the public (refer to SM 502.4) and therefore cannot be a private communication to the cooperator, except in the case of other Federal agencies when alternatively a USGS Restricted-File Federal Interagency Report would be permissible. A cooperator publication is thus under the auspices of another entity and is USGS work that would otherwise be published as a USGS publication series product (for example, an Open-File Report, Scientific Investigations Report, or Circular. As with all USGS products, cooperator publications must receive at least two peer reviews, reconciliation, supervisory and science center approvals, and Bureau approval before release (SM 205.18). Importantly, except for collaborator/partner courtesy reviews (including the required disclaimer statement) permitted prior to, during, or immediately after the peer review, the product cannot be given to the cooperator for distribution until Bureau approval is obtained. These products, designated 'cooperator publications' in the IPDS, sometimes are not edited by the cooperating entity; hence, care must be taken to properly prepare such products for publication by the cooperator to maintain USGS standards for quality. A short training module explaining FSP requirements for cooperator publications and other product types is available at FSP for Authors of Other Information Products.

E.4.10. May USGS authors use preprint servers to distribute their journal manuscripts prior to Bureau approval and journal publication?

No. A preprint is an author’s original version of a scholarly or scientific paper that is posted publicly and precedes peer review and subsequent publication in a scholarly or scientific journal. USGS requires interpretive scientific information products receive peer review and Bureau approval before dissemination to the public (SM 502.4). For example, products that meet this USGS requirement may also be referred to by the Bureau as the "accepted manuscript" and is the same content as that of the journal publication. Because preprints, which are first (or early) drafts of a manuscript, do not meet this review and approval requirement, preprint servers may not be used by USGS scientists to distribute their unapproved journal manuscripts. Conversely, Bureau approved manuscripts may be posted to preprint servers. Note that if substantive changes are made after approval, it is the author’s responsibility to obtain additional review by the approving official. Additionally, if USGS funded data support the scholarly conclusions of a manuscript posted on a preprint server, the data must be released in accordance with SM 502.8 requirements. If changes are required of the data, as a result of subsequent review processes, the data must go through the process described in FSP Versioning Guidance

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