Updated May 2021
The authority to approve scientific information products with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) authorship for release is described in Survey Manual (SM) policy chapter SM 205.18. All Bureau scientific information products must be approved in accordance with USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) review, approval, and release requirements (refer to SM 502.4). USGS FSP approval authority requirements include the following:
- Information products that contain research or new interpretive material must receive Bureau approval by a Bureau Approving Official (BAO) in the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI); this approval cannot be redelegated to the Science Center or equivalent level. Guidance for distinguishing new research or interpretive information products and secondary uses of previously published or noninterpretive information products is available.
- Information products based on previously approved published material or that do not contain new interpretive material, as well as all abstracts, scientific data and software, posters used in poster sessions, presentation materials, geonarratives, and web pages may receive Bureau approval by a Science Center Director or equivalent. Most of these products require at least two peer reviews. For some, however, peer review is at the discretion of the Science Center Director (including abstracts, posters, presentations, science news articles, software releases, and USGS web pages). Science Center Director is equivalent to other similar levels of responsibility in the USGS, such as Chief Scientist, Science Center Manager, Center or Branch Chief, Cooperative Unit Leader, and Cost Center Manager. A Science Center Director may redelegate Bureau approval authority to a designee of comparable responsibility or knowledge. Science Center Directors (or designees) may request that any information product be approved by an OSQI BAO (for example, mineral, energy, or biological assessments and any associated information products).
- BAO review and approval of information products considered by the USGS to be highly visible, policy sensitive, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) influential is strongly recommended. Additional requirements apply as described in SM 502.3 for OMB influential products (influential scientific information and highly influential scientific assessments); peer review planning documentation must be posted on the public USGS Peer Review Agenda before these influential information products are approved for release.
The table in this PDF provides Bureau approval levels for most information products. Guidance on the reviews (e.g., peer review, data review, metadata review, and editorial review) required prior to Bureau approval is included for the listed product types as well as related reference information. All information products listed requiring Bureau approval by a BAO in the OSQI or a Science Center Director (or designee) must be entered in the internal USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS) where the approval is tracked and documented.