Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey

Updated July 6, 2023

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) “Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data” has been updated to reflect new directives resulting from an Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum issued August 25, 2022. The updated USGS Public Access Plan (Plan) outlines a framework for activities to increase public access to scholarly publications and digital scientific data resulting from research funded by the USGS. The Plan is consistent with the objectives set forth in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 and considers long-standing USGS requirements and practices related to data sharing and communication of research results.

The updated USGS Public Access Plan, dated April 26, 2023, is available. The USGS Plan also has an accompanying revision history that reflects a summary of the changes made since the original October 1, 2016 version. Federal agencies are granted until December 2025 to address and implement the majority of the August 2022 OSTP memorandum requirements.

The updated Plan applies specifically to USGS-funded peer-reviewed journal articles published externally in scientific journals and to USGS series publications (collectively referred to in the Plan as scholarly publications), and all scientific data that are collected under USGS funded research.

A training module that provides educational information on the original Plan is available on the public USGS Fundamental Science Practices website. Additional training materials will be added during the implementation period to address new requirements.

Key Elements of the Updated USGS Plan

Many elements of the updated Plan remain the same as in the previous 2016 version. The most significant updates are (1) elimination of a 12-month embargo period on all peer-reviewed scholarly publications, (2) a requirement for the release of all scientifically-relevant data, (that is, data associated with a scholarly publication and the supporting data collected by the project) and (3) utilizing persistent identifiers to track USGS-awarded grants, both intramural and extramural.

As outlined in its original and current plans, the USGS requires journal article manuscripts of record (also referred to as final accepted manuscripts), which are considered external or outside publications (SM 1100.4), and USGS series publication information products (SM 1100.3) be handled as follows:

  • For journal article publications, all accepted manuscripts must be deposited in the internal USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS) repository, which serves as an archive.
  • Journal articles are made publicly available free-of-charge by the publisher or the accepted manuscript archived in IPDS is made publicly available through the USGS Publications Warehouse at the time of publication.
  • Bureau-approved USGS series publications are released through the USGS Publications Warehouse immediately upon publication and are provided in a machine-readable format.
  • Scholarly publications are maintained in a manner that ensures long-term preservation.
  • Persistent identifiers for publications, authors, and awards are included in the publication metadata as applicable.

In addition, research data collected with USGS funds meet the following requirements:

  • All scientifically-relevant data, (that is, data associated with a scholarly publication and the supporting data collected by the project), will be made available free-of-charge for public access, unless the Bureau determines that a demonstrated circumstance restricts the data from being made publicly available; for example, in cases where access must be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality, or other constraints (SM 502.8).
  • Scientific data management requirements must be followed, including the development of data management plans (DMPs), which must be part of the approved USGS project plans. The DMP details information such as acquisition method, quality assurance, security, disposition, and if applicable, circumstance restricting public access (SM 502.6).
  • Metadata (using USGS endorsed metadata standards) must accompany the scientific data and this metadata record must be submitted to the USGS Science Data Catalog (SM 502.7).
  • Scientific data approved for release are assigned a USGS digital object identifier.

Scientific data are approved for release in accordance with USGS FSP requirements (SM 502.1). Scientific data are preserved as the authoritative version on or through an approved USGS server, application, or repository (SM 502.9).

Persistent identifiers will be required for all scientific research and development awards, with appropriate metadata linking the USGS and their awardees through digital persistent identifiers.  The USGS currently employs use of digital object identifiers for scientific data, publications, physical samples, and more.

Additional Information

Questions about the USGS Public Access Plan or requests for additional information may be directed to the Fundamental Science Practices Advisory Council (