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Final report on the assessment of the U.S. Geological Survey’s bureauwide Research Grade Evaluation (RGE) process

April 29, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) formed the internal Research Grade Evaluation (RGE) Review Team in May 2017. The Team undertook a 2-year comprehensive review of RGE practices and policies at the USGS that included (1) the first-ever quantitative assessment of the USGS workforce evaluated under the RGE process, (2) a benchmarking meet­ing in March 2018 of the USGS and 11 other Federal science agencies to compare how each conducts research scientist evaluation, and (3) extensive surveys of four internal stakeholder groups. The Team recommends that the RGE review process emphasize the importance of outcomes resulting from a scientist’s efforts, rather than focusing on easily quantified outputs such as peer-reviewed papers, presentations, and posters. Thus, the Team recommends that a scientist’s work be assessed according to contributions and impacts in three areas: (1) scientific understanding, (2) the missions of the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of the Interior, and (3) society more broadly. The Team developed (1) new formats for the Research Scientist Record (RSR) and Development Scientist Record (DSR) that match the Office of Personnel Management’s guidelines for factor scoring and (2) new findings templates to pro­vide more meaningful feedback to scientists.