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Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) Procedures for Review and Bureau Approval of USGS Science Information Products

Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) Procedures for Review and Bureau Approval of USGS Science Information Products


The opportunities for publishing in USGS or non USGS outlets are broad, including use of the USGS publication series and Web pages and publications of scientific societies, commercial publishing houses, and cooperating agencies.

The USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) policies create consistency in how USGS science is carried out (SM 502.2) and how the resulting information products are developed, reviewed, approved, and released (SM 502.4). These procedures provide guidance on how USGS information products must comply with FSP.

What's Required

FSP review and approval requirements apply to all science information products (SM 1100.1) whether they are published by the USGS or by an outside entity, if the author has full time, part time, or volunteer (including emeritus) USGS affiliation or shared affiliation (such as between the USGS and a university).

Review and approval processes may differ for various information products but the processes must be consistently applied throughout the Bureau. For example, USGS publication series (SM 1100.3) require editorial review but for outside publications (SM 1100.4), editorial review is recommended but not required, and certain series publications and audiovisual products (SM 1100.7) also require design and concept approval by the USGS Office of Communications and Publishing (OCAP).

The following requirements and procedures apply:

  1. Use of the Information Product Data System (IPDS), the Bureau's official product tracking system for managing the development steps of USGS information products is required (SM 502.4).
  2. Design and concept approval by the OCAP is required for certain information products (such as General Information Product USGS series publications); various audiovisual products (SM 1100.7) must also be approved by the OCAP.
  3. Peer review is required for USGS publication series and outside publications (SM 502.3).
  4. Editorial review is required for all USGS publication series information products (SM 1100.2).
  5. Bureau approval is required for USGS information products whether they are published by the USGS or an outside entity (SM 502.4). Details regarding the approval authority for specific information products are found in SM 205.18. For example:
    • USGS information products containing new research or interpretive information (that is, material that has not been published previously in a USGS series publication, outside publication, or elsewhere) must be approved by a Bureau Approving Official (BAO) in the USGS Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI). Information products submitted to peer-reviewed journals also require approval by a BAO. The approval authority for these products may not be redelegated to the Science Center Manager or equivalent level.
    • For information products that do not contain new interpretive material, Bureau approval authority is delegated to the Science Center Manager or equivalent. The Science Center Manager may redelegate this approval authority to a designee of comparable responsibility or knowledge. Products that contain new data but do not contain any interpretation of that material (that is, noninterpretive new material) are also approved by the Science Center Manager. The Science Center Manager or designee may request that any information product be approved by a BAO in the OSQI.
    • Science Center Managers' responsibilities in ensuring IPDS and FSP compliance and approval authorities are also outlined in the USGS FSP Training Model entitled Science Center Director Responsibilities.
  6. Information products will be considered for Bureau approval on a "first-in, first-out basis," with the exception of information products intended for peer-reviewed journals; these information products are moved to the front of the queue in order to meet journal review deadlines. Approving officials will, however, exercise discretion in prioritizing review of information products in the approval queue to most effectively manage the workload and meet program needs of the Science Centers. All information products submitted for Bureau approval must be in final draft, i.e., certified by a Science Center Manager, have been independently peer reviewed (SM 502.3), shown to be editorially sound (SM 1100.2), and suitable for release in the chosen publishing outlet (SM 1100.3 and SM 1100.4). The information product package submitted for Bureau approval must be transmitted in the IPDS or submitted as an electronic copy or hard copy sent to the attention of the approving official.
  7. Applicable requirements related to publishing USGS information products must be followed (refer to SM Part 1100 – Publishing).
  8. Science Center Managers are responsible for ensuring that all required documentation and recordkeeping materials (such as those associated with peer review and copyright permission) are maintained in their center’s originating office or in the IPDS, as part of the information product’s official project file record and are retained for the period of time as instructed in the USGS General Records Disposition Schedule (GRDS), Chapter 1300-Publishing Records.

Resolving Issues

Regional Executives and the Director of the OSQI work together to mediate or assist in resolving review, approval, and release issues that cannot be resolved directly between Science Center Managers, approving officials, and others. If policy issues, technical problems, or additional review requirements are identified during the review, BAOs will work with the Science Center Managers, authors, and staff in the OCAP Science Publishing Network (as appropriate) to revise the product appropriately for re-submittal and final approval. If an issue cannot be resolved directly with the approving official, the Science Center Manager or the BAO should contact the appropriate Regional Executive or the Director of OSQI respectively.


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