Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

1100.2 - Editorial Review of U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series Information Products





Issuance Number:      1100.2

Subject:                       Editorial Review of U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series Information Products

Issuance Date:            07/15/2021

Expiration Date:          07/10/2026

Responsible Office:    Office of Communications and Publishing

Instruction:                  This Survey Manual (SM) chapter updates SM 1100.2, Editorial Review of U.S. Geological Survey Publication 

                                      Series, dated August 27, 2009. 

Approving Official:      /s/ Roseann Gonzales-Schreiner

                                      Deputy Director for Administration and Policy 


1.    Purpose.

Accuracy and clarity of expression are vital to maintaining the quality and utility of, and the standards of excellence for, scientific information products that are released as official expressions of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  Editorial review ensures appropriate Bureau standards and quality assurance for accuracy and clarity of expression are met.  This SM chapter establishes policy and defines responsibilities regarding editorial review for USGS publication series and other information products described in SM 1100.3, U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series.

2.    Scope.

The editorial review policy applies to all USGS publication series information products and nonseries USGS information products including periodicals and special publications (refer to SM 1100.3).  Editorial review is usually performed after peer review (refer to SM 502.3, Fundamental Science Practices: Peer Review) and before policy review, which is part of Bureau approval (refer to SM 502.4, Fundamental Science Practices: Review, Approval, and Release of Information Products). 

3.    Authority and References.

A.  SM Part 1100 – Publishing Policies

B.  SM 205.18, Authority to Approve Information Products

C.  SM 502.3, Fundamental Science Practices: Peer Review

D.  SM 502.4, Fundamental Science Practices: Review, Approval, and Release of Information Products

E.  SM 550.1, USGS Visual Identity System

F.  SM 600.6, Implementation and Administration of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

G.  SM 1100.3, U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series and Appendix A – USGS Publication Series Definitions

H.  SM 1100.6, Use of Copyrighted Material in USGS Information Products

I.  Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey, (7th edition)

J.  U.S. Government Publishing Office Style Manual

K.  Office of Personnel Management classification standards

(1)  Writing and Editing Series

(2)  Technical Writing and Editing Series

(3)  Geologist (for geologic map editors)

4.    Policy.  

A.  USGS publication series information products require an editorial review by a USGS Science Publishing Network (SPN) technical editor or geologic map editor.  The SPN is the sole source for providing editorial review for all USGS publication series and other information products as described in SM 1100.3.  The SPN is also the sole source for editorial review for all other Bureau information products if such review is needed.

B.  SPN technical and geologic map editors meet professional standards required by the Office of Personnel Management as described in section 3.K.  In addition, SPN geologic map editors must have a degree in geology. The term “editor” is used hereinafter for convenience.

C.  Depending on which series is used, the editorial review may entail a limited edit (refer to section 5.A) or a full edit (refer to section 5.B), each of which include specific items to be checked during the review.

(1)  The Open-File Report (OFR) series and the Restricted-File Federal Interagency Report (RFFIR) series require only a limited edit, however, the SPN Publishing Service Center (PSC) chief—after consulting with the author, managers, approving officials, and SPN editor—may determine that a full editorial review is necessary.

(2)  OFRs and RFFIRs that contain policy sensitive, highly visible, or Office of Management and Budget influential content, including that which has implications related to matters of national interest, hazards, security, or potential commercial gain, may require a full edit at the discretion of the approving official (refer to SM 205.18 and SM 502.4).

D.  Approving officials have latitude in determining if editorial review is needed for USGS science information products other than USGS publication series to ensure the final product meets the USGS standards for quality prior to publication or release.  The approving official informs the author and, as needed, the author’s supervisor, when additional editorial review is requested.

5.    Description of Editorial Review.

A.  Limited editorial review includes the following:

(1)  Reviewing for correct grammar, spelling, word usage, and punctuation; consistency in the use of capitalization, italics, compounding, hyphenation, symbology, acronyms, and abbreviations; correct numbering of figures, tables, and plates; internal consistency among text, tables, figures, and other content; checking text citations against the references section; verifying citations for the associated data and (or) software releases, as appropriate; and ensuring hyperlinks are current and correct.

(2)  With the exception of the RFFIR series, ensuring the uniform and correct application and usage of standards and guidelines, such as the USGS Visual Identity System, Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey, Government Publishing Office Style Manual, and other designated Bureau and Federal standards and guidelines for USGS information products.  Ensuring cooperators and contributors to the information product are acknowledged appropriately, including author affiliation, and that appropriate USGS contact information is included.

(3)  Confirming written permission to use copyrighted material in a USGS information product has been obtained by the author (refer to SM 1100.6); that required nonendorsement, use of copyrighted material, and other appropriate disclaimer statements are used; and that information products are compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (refer to SM 600.6).

B.  Full editorial review includes all the components of a limited edit, as well as the following:

(1)  In consultation with the author, verifying accuracy, spelling, and consistency in the use of such items as biologic, geographic, geologic, and hydrologic names and terminology; arithmetic processes, terms, functions, and percentages; regulatory and law references cited; definitions of units of measure in conversion tables; glossary terms and definitions; scientific terms and chemical abbreviations; and that colors, symbols, and patterns are used consistently and fully explained in a caption or legend.  Verification also includes cross-checking information between text and associated figures, tables, and maps; checking agreement among the components of the information product, including but not limited to the cover, title page, table of contents, abstract, body, illustrations, captions, tables, footnotes, equations, summary/conclusions, references, metadata, and readme files.

(2)  Ensuring clarity and logic of scientific interpretation, for example, the results reflect supporting data and analyses and inconsistencies or possible errors in scientific content are identified.  Reviewing for completeness, logical organization, appropriate tone, and clear and effective presentation.  Determining appropriateness of language, presentation, and release media for target audience.  Suggesting rewrites and other revisions to improve clarity and organization when necessary or to address nontechnical or specialized audiences.  Suggesting the addition of information, tables, graphs, photographs, or other illustrations to more fully support conclusions.  Ensuring conformity with Federal, Departmental, and Bureau publishing requirements.

(3)  Informing the author that any new interpretive information introduced after Bureau approval must be submitted or resubmitted to the Bureau Approving Official (BAO) and that production will not continue until appropriate review and approval of the new interpretive material by the BAO is complete.  The BAO may require additional editorial and other reviews prior to reapproving the information product.

(4)  Ensuring that noninterpretive publication series information products properly reference previously published interpretive content when applicable (refer to SM 1100.3 and SM 1100.3, Appendix A).

6.    Responsibilities.

A.  Office of Communications and Publishing.  The Office of Communications and Publishing (OCAP) is responsible for developing, maintaining, and communicating the policies and procedures that pertain to publishing USGS publication series information products, including editorial review policy.

B.  USGS Authors, Managers, and Others.  Authors, managers, and others who are involved in the publishing process are responsible for complying with this policy.

C.  The OCAP Science Publishing Network.  The SPN PSC chiefs and publishing staff are responsible for the production of USGS publication series information products, including editorial review of text and map manuscripts.  PSC chiefs ensure the appropriate level of editorial review is performed.  Editors cite USGS or other Federal standards or guidelines for all non-optional editorial changes.  Editors also assist authors in reconciling editorial review comments as needed, advise PSC chiefs when an information product needs additional editing, and consult with approving officials and authors on editorial matters.

D.  Approving Officials.  Approving officials have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that USGS science information products do not contain endorsements or advocate for a particular public policy.  Approving officials ensure that an information product is clear in presentation, conforms with all Bureau policy (including Fundamental Science Practices), and is released in the appropriate USGS publication series or external outlet (refer to SM 502.4).