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502.10 - Fundamental Science Practices: USGS Authorship of Scientific Information Products



Issuance Number:       502.10

Subject: Fundamental Science Practices: USGS Authorship of Scientific Information Products

Issuance Date:              2/10/2022

Expiration Date:          2/7/2025

Responsible Office:     Office of Science Quality and Integrity

Instruction: This Survey Manual (SM) chapter replaces SM 1100.5, Authorship, Acknowledgments, and Credits in USGS Information Products, dated June 29, 2004.

Approving Official:      /s/  Roseann Gonzales-Schreiner

                                        Deputy Director for Administration and Policy


1.    Purpose and Scope.  U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) authorship provides credit and assigns responsibility to those who create content for scientific information products.  This policy provides requirements and guidance for those who are involved in the preparation and release of USGS scientific information products.  The policy applies to all scientific information products (including data releases and software releases) published by the Bureau and by outside entities when authors of these products use their USGS affiliation.

2.    References.  

A.  SM Part 502 - USGS Fundamental Science Practices Policies

B.  SM Part 1100 - USGS Publishing Policies

C.  SM 500.5, News Release and Media Relations Policy

D.  SM 500.25, Scientific Integrity

E.  SM 205.18, Authority to Approve Information Products

F.  SM 550.1, USGS Visual Identity System

G.  SM 431.1, Records Management Roles and Responsibilities

H.  USGS Fundamental Science Practices (website)

3.    Policy.  

A.  USGS authors prepare scientific information products as defined in SM 502.1, Fundamental Science Practices: Foundation Policy, and comply with applicable Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) requirements, including those relating to review, approval, and release of information products as described in SM 502.4, Fundamental Science Practices: Review, Approval, and Release of Information Products.

B.  USGS authors comply with scientific integrity requirements described in SM 500.25 and Department of the Interior (DOI) Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct, which includes adhering to the appropriate professional and organizational standards for authoring, responsible publishing of scientific results, and respecting the intellectual property rights of others.

C.  USGS authors comply with Bureau requirements for preparing and submitting scientific information products to external entities for release in outside publications (refer to SM 1100.4, Use of Outside Publications, Including Abstracts) and to the Science Publishing Network for release in USGS publications (refer to SM 1100.3, USGS Publication Series).  These requirements also include those related to editorial review (refer to SM 1100.2, Editorial Review of U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series) use of copyrighted materials (refer to SM 1100.6, Use of Copyrighted Material in USGS Information Products) audiovisual media and products (refer to SM 1100.7, Audiovisual Media and Products) and news media communications (refer to SM 500.5).

D.  USGS authors follow the appropriate records and files management and records disposition requirements in accordance with SM 431.1, SM 431.6, SM 432.1, and applicable records disposition schedules.

4.    Attributing Authorship and Citing Affiliation.

A.  Authorship refers to the listing of contributors (one or multiple) to the scientific information product based on the importance of their role in the study and (or) their writing contributions (refer to Section 6.A).  The senior (primary or first) author is generally the individual responsible for the most substantive content in preparing the information product.  Coauthors are generally determined based on their contribution to the product.  All others involved may be credited for their contributions in the acknowledgments section of the information product (refer to Section 5.A).  Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on USGS authorship and the DOI FAQs on Authorship in Scientific and Scholarly Work Products provide additional criteria and guidance.

B.  USGS authors cite their Bureau affiliation in scientific information products. The USGS Authorship FAQs provide guidance for citing Bureau affiliation in author bylines.  Examples of those who denote USGS affiliation because of their association with the Bureau include the following:

(1)  USGS employees (full time or part time).

(2)  USGS employees with shared affiliation (for example, between the USGS and a university).

(3)  Volunteers, such as scientist emeriti or retired USGS employees.

(4)  Students, fellows, and interns.

(5)  Individuals working under a USGS contract identify their contractual relationship to the USGS.

C.  Non-USGS (or extramural) authors solely producing information products to fulfill the requirements of USGS-funded grants or cooperative programs do not show USGS affiliation.  These works are not considered USGS information products and are not subject to FSP requirements.

5.    Acknowledging Contributions of Non-Authors, Crediting Collaborative Agreements, and Dedicating Publications.  

A.  Acknowledging Contributions of Non-Authors.  Acknowledgments in USGS scientific information products are limited to only those that contributed materially to the success of the scientific investigation and the information product and (or) those that provided special assistance and courtesies given to authors during their investigations.  Contributions that may merit acknowledgment include literature searching, mentorship, statistical consultation, provision of materials or space, financial support, and editorial review.  The content and placement of such acknowledgments are determined by the USGS or non-USGS publisher.  Individuals listed in the acknowledgements section should be notified before the scientific information product is released or published.

B.  Crediting Collaborative Agreements Between the USGS and Other Entities.  The USGS should credit cooperative and collaborative agreements with Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and non-governmental organizations based on the significance of the contribution.  The content and placement of such crediting statements or organizational visual identifiers are determined by the USGS or non-USGS publisher.

C.  Dedicating Publications.  The policy of the Bureau is to avoid dedicating USGS information products to individuals.  There have been only two exceptions to this policy—USGS Professional Papers 1249 and 1250, describing the 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens, were dedicated to USGS volcanologist David A. Johnston who lost his life while on duty monitoring the volcano.  In those cases, the USGS sought permission from the President of the United States for the dedication.  Other means to honor individuals are available, including permanent awards to USGS employees for their accomplishments and memorial volumes published by leading professional societies.  Additionally, outside publications are an appropriate venue in which to include dedications because they encourage non-USGS scientists to participate in memorial products.

6.    Responsibilities.  Compliance with this policy, and underlying policies, is the responsibility of everyone in the Bureau involved in the preparation and release of USGS scientific information products.

A.  USGS Authors.

(1)  USGS authors ensure FSP review, approval, and release requirements are followed whether their information products will be published by the USGS or an outside publisher (refer to SM 502.4).  Authors follow the publishing requirements of the USGS and outside publisher in releasing the Bureau’s scientific information products.  For USGS publications SM 1100.3, the senior USGS author is responsible for collaborating with the Science Publishing Network on statements acknowledging and crediting the contributions of outside cooperators and others.  Authors follow advice and guidance from approving officials with regard to ensuring USGS scientific information products meet FSP and other Bureau requirements.

(2)  Authors ensure written permission is obtained when using copyrighted material (refer to SM 1100.6).  Authors also consult with the USGS publisher and outside publishers, such as scientific journals, regarding the content of such statements.

(3)  In the event multiple contributors are involved in preparing an information product, the senior author should discuss responsibilities and authorship among participating individuals before a project commences and periodically as the work progresses to ensure the contributions of others identified as co-authors are appropriately listed.

B.  Supervisors and Science Center Directors.  Supervisors and Science Center Directors ensure the quality of science information products by authors they supervise, which includes providing advice to resolve disputes and other authorship-related issues as needed.