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Leveraging existing technology: Developing a trusted digital repository for the U.S. Geological Survey

July 11, 2021

As Federal Government agencies in the United States pivot to increase access to scientific data (Sheehan, 2016), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has made substantial progress (Kriesberg et al., 2017). USGS authors are required to make federally funded data publicly available in an approved data repository (USGS, 2016b). This type of public data product, known as a USGS data release, serves as a method for publishing reviewed and approved data. In this paper, we present major milestones in the approach the USGS took to transition an existing technology platform to a Trusted Digital Repository. We describe both the technical and the non-technical actions that contributed to a successful outcome.We highlight how initial workflows revealed patterns that were later automated, and the ways in which assessments and user feedback influenced design and implementation. The paper concludes with lessons learned, such as the importance of a community of practice, application programming interface (API)-driven technologies, iterative development, and user-centered design. This paper is intended to offer a potential roadmap for organizations pursuing similar goals.