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Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) Criteria for Selecting Non-USGS Repositories for Release of USGS Scientific Data

Updated February 2024

The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) ownership, responsibility, and accountability for USGS data are evident when USGS scientists use a USGS repository to release their scientific data. In some cases, however, there is value in also serving data through integrated, non-USGS repositories that the USGS deems are trusted or acceptable according to the criteria below.

Criteria How criteria are demonstrated
Funding/support for the repository is sustainable. Repository documentation lists persistent sources of funding and provides sustainability and succession plans.
Data are easily discovered and available free to the public. This is stated on repository information page (“About Us”).
Commitment to both preserve and serve the data is stated. This is stated on repository information page (“About Us”).
The USGS is able to retain an official metadata record (in the Science Data Catalog) that can be used to identify the deposited dataset within the larger repository data collection. Citation guidance is stated in repository information for data contributors.
Data and metadata can be updated, if needed. Guidance for updating is stated in repository information for data contributors.

The following are additional criteria for USGS data managers and data producers to consider in evaluating the suitability of non-USGS repositories.

  • Does the repository encourage open or community-based standards and formats that enable automated use of data?
  • Does the repository have measures in place to ensure continuous availability?
  • Are application program interfaces (APIs) or other web services available for accessing the data? Is there documentation on using APIs and other web services?
  • Does the repository use reliable data preservation practices?
  • What are the requirements for adding data to the non-USGS repository system? Are they comparable with those for adding data to USGS repositories?
  • Does the repository allow attribution to identify data produced by the USGS?

Although no specific certification is required for acceptance as a non-USGS repository, a useful source of standards to follow is available here.


Additional Information and References

Additional information related to trusted USGS digital data repositories:


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