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E.9 Cooperator Publications

E. Extended Guidance and Specific Products


E.9.1. What are cooperator publications?

Cooperator publications are scientific information products funded and released by an external cooperator to which U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) authors contribute. Cooperator publications are prepared under formal collaborative agreements between the USGS and Federal, Tribal, State, local, academia or other parties. Refer to Survey Manual (SM) policy chapters SM 500.1, SM 500.2, SM 500.3, and SM 500.6 for additional USGS requirements on working with external parties.  Cooperator publications must comply with USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) and other applicable Bureau requirements. 

E.9.2. What requirements must be met for USGS authored or coauthored cooperator publications to comply with FSP?

Requirements for FSP compliance related cooperator publications include:

  • All requirements for release of a cooperator publication are specified in a written and signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) or other agreement between USGS and the cooperating agency or organization (refer to SM 500.26 and SM 205.13). The agreement specifies where the publication and any associated data release will be published on a publicly accessible website.  Supervisors and Center Directors of USGS authors affiliation with cooperator publications review and sign these agreements before work is initiated.
  • Cooperator publications that contain new interpretive information are entered into the internal USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS) with reconciliation of a minimum of two USGS-initiated peer reviews (refer to SM 502.3). These information products receive Bureau approval from a Bureau Approving Official (BAO) in the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI).
  • Cooperator publications that contain previously published or noninterpretive information are also entered into IPDS with reconciliation of a minimum of two USGS-initiated peer reviews. These information products receive Bureau approval from the USGS author’s Center Director (or designee) as stated in SM 205.18.
  • FSP requirements for cooperator publications that are multi-chaptered apply only to chapters or sections with USGS authorship (refer to SM 502.10 and Authorship FAQs). Authorship for each chapter or section of the publication should be clearly specified to identify for readers who is responsible for the content and to ensure that BAOs can identify chapters or sections requiring their approval. When USGS is a coauthor of the entire publication, all text must be reviewed and approved by the BAO. 
  • Cooperator publications must adhere to USGS requirements for simultaneous release of information products to the public as a whole and may not be made available preferentially as a private communication only to the cooperator (refer to SM 502.5).

E.9.3. Where are cooperator publications released?

Cooperator publications are released on cooperator websites. Because the results of Federal Government scientific research must be made publicly available these publications must be hosted on a publishing platform with continued persistent public accessibility. The USGS Publications Warehouse website provides only citations for cooperator publications—the full publication text must be accessed on the cooperator’s website.

E.9.4. How do USGS editing and formatting requirements apply to cooperator publications?

Editing and formatting requirements are applied to cooperator publications according to the cooperator’s publishing standards. Although cooperator publications are not required to follow the editorial requirements for USGS series publications (SM 1100.2), Bureau writing quality and standards must be met. USGS authors may request editorial review of cooperator publications by the USGS Science Publishing Network.

E.9.5. How should a cooperator publication be cited?

Citations for cooperator publications may list USGS authors by individual names or by using the Bureau name (U.S. Geological Survey). In all cases, the citation must include the cooperator’s name as the publisher. For example:

  1. Full publication with author’s names:
    • Eldridge, W. G., and C. J. Medler. 2020. Inventory and analysis of groundwater resources: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. Natural Resource Report NPS/THRO/NRR—2020/2124. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.  


  1. Full publication with agency names:
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. 2020. Council Monitoring and Assessment Program (CMAP): A Framework for Using the Monitoring Program Inventory to Conduct Gap Assessments for the Gulf of Mexico Region. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (produced in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 284. Silver Spring, MD. 55 pp. doi: 10.25923/mrdd-h727 


  1. Publication chapter with author’s names:
    • McCorquodale, A., Couvillion, B., Dortch, Freeman, A., M., Meselhe, E., Reed, D., Roth, B., Shelden, J., Snedden, G., Wang, H., and White, E. (2017). 2017 Coastal Master Plan: Attachment C3-1: Sediment Distribution. Version Final. (pp. 1-56). Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. 


E.9.6. How are the USGS identifier and cooperator logos displayed on cooperator publications?

The cooperator determines use and placement of the trademarked USGS identifier or a text identification line (such as "Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey") based on their own visual identity/logo requirements. To acknowledge the Bureau’s contribution, USGS authors should request that USGS be prominently displayed, either by means of the USGS identifier (preferred) or by a text identification line (acceptable), making sure that the cooperator publication is not misinterpreted as a USGS publication. The trademarked USGS identifier, which consists of three elements: a monogram of the letters “USGS,” a symbolic mark, and the motto), must be properly used, appear in black, white, or Pantone 348 green, and be displayed at a comparable size to the cooperator’s logo. Refer to the USGS Visual Identity System website for additional information.

E.9.7. Do cooperator publications require a digital object identifier (DOI)?

Although USGS does not require or assign DOIs for cooperator publications, assignment of DOIs is a best practice to ensure long term access to a product.  If they have the capability to do so, cooperators should assign a DOI or other persistent link to the information product during the publication process and document this DOI under the Bibliodata tab in IPDS.

E.9.8. What are the requirements for publicly releasing USGS data and scientific software associated with a cooperator publication?

The FSP requirements for release of USGS scientific data and software associated with scholarly publications also apply to cooperator publications. Data and software management, publishing, and curation responsibility depends on the funding organization. Data management plans and agreements between the USGS and cooperator that document the work to be done should include how the data and software release and preservation will be handled. For additional information refer to SM 502.8, SM 502.9, Guide to Data Releases With or Without a Companion Publication, and Instructional Memorandum (IM) IM OSQI 2019-01.

E.9.9. Is a data release required for USGS-funded data included in a cooperator publication?  

Yes. If data collection for a cooperator publication is USGS-funded, a publicly accessible data release is required prior to or simultaneously with release of the associated cooperator publication. An acceptable digital repository for the data release should be identified in the data management plan or agreement. In cases where the cooperator may not offer acceptable long-term data hosting capabilities, such as data versioning and assigning a DOI or persistent link, using a USGS digital repository is an option to meet preservation requirements.

E.9.10. What is the difference between a cooperator publication and a progress report to a cooperator?

A cooperator publication with scientific contributions from USGS authors, may include new interpretive information and is publicly released in addition to other requirements described herein. Conversely, a progress report from USGS to a cooperator may contain only previously published interpretive or non-interpretive information, which can include an accounting of what has been done but does not present interpretations or conclusions of scientific results. Information on project progress can be delivered by USGS authors to cooperators in various forms including correspondence, email, and oral communications. For more information refer to the Reporting of Project Progress FAQs.

E.9.11. What is the difference between a cooperator publication and a USGS Restricted-File Federal Interagency Report (RFFIR)?

A cooperator publication with scientific contributions from USGS authors, is released by the cooperator on a publicly accessible website and is a citable publication. Conversely, RFFIRs (formerly called Administrative Reports) are limited-use USGS publication series information products (SM 1100.3) prepared by the USGS and provided as confidential communications only to other Federal Government agencies and foreign government or international entities for which USGS performs work. Unlike cooperator publications, RFFIRs are not citable information products because they are not published (refer to the RFFIR FAQs).

E.9.12. What can USGS authors do to facilitate QSQI BAO review and approval of cooperator publications that contain new interpretive information?

  • Edit the publication for consistency, appropriate grammar, and punctuation before Supervisory, Center Director, and OSQI BAO approval in IPDS. If needed, request editorial review from the USGS Science Publishing Network.
  • Ensure that the manuscript meets USGS standards for scientific quality by obtaining at least 2 USGS-initiated rigorous and thorough peer reviews from qualified experts (FSP SM Chapter 502.3 Peer Review) and add reconciliation documents for all peer review comments to IPDS.
  • If the cooperator will be formatting the manuscript (i.e., the equivalent of page proofs), make sure editing, peer review, and Bureau approval have occurred when the text is final but before the manuscript is in page proofs. This sequence of approval is important because BAOs may request multiple substantive changes that cooperators may be reluctant to make (because of cost and time involved) when the manuscript is in page-proof equivalents.
  • Identify the publishing and distribution location for the final publication, such as the cooperator’s website URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or the assigned DOI, and include this information in the IPDS record under the Bibliodata tab.


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