USGS Data Management
Publication of scientific data as stand-alone products or in conjunction with the scholarly articles they support is integral to the open data movement. The USGS is developing a path forward for formally releasing USGS scientific data called a "data release".
USGS Data Release Workbench
Open Data Overview
White House Open Data Initiatives
USGS Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI) Instructional Memoranda (IM)
Data Release in the USGS
What constitutes a release of USGS scientific data within USGS?
Metadata describes information about a dataset, such that a dataset can be understood, re-used, and integrated with other datasets. Information described in a metadata record includes where the data were collected, who is responsible for the dataset, why the dataset was created, and how the data are organized.
Once you have created metadata, it needs to:
How do I create a metadata record for data? See Describe > Metadata.
Persistent Identifiers are globally unique numeric and/or character strings that reference a digital object. Persistent identifiers enable a user to access the digital resource via a permanent, long-term link. While there are several standard persistent identifier systems, the most relevant to USGS are Digital Object Identifiers (DOI). Digital Object Identifiers must be applied to all data being released in USGS. Digital Object Identifiers are especially useful when citing your data. Like a publication, an emerging practice is to cite and receive credit for your data.
Once you have created a digital object identifier, it needs to:
What does a DOI look like? How do I create a DOI? What is an example of a data citation? See Preserve > Persistent Identifiers.
USGS employees publishing manuscripts or releasing data are required to use IPDS an internal application for tracking the production of any published work or other information product, whether for the USGS or an outside organization according to USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP).
Two recommended checklists that will guide a reviewer for your data release:
Interpretive versus non-interpretive information products
Data funded by the USGS must be released on a government server. This can take the form of a Science Center website, an approved data application, or a repository. Regardless, the release point should represent the components of a USGS “Trusted Digital Repository” (coming soon). Data releases in USGS will not all look the same.
USGS ScienceBase offers one possible way to store and maintain your data, and offers assistance in data release.
Your released data must be shared with the public and research communities through the USGS Science Data Catalog. This metadata catalog provides seamless access to USGS research and monitoring data from across the nation. Users have the ability to search, browse, or use a map-based interface to discover data. Data providers are assured the USGS Science Data Catalog meets White House Open Data reporting requirements for USGS; provides a Search and Discovery Tool that allows for metadata retrieval, visualization, download, and linking back to original data providers; offers a single source for USGS to serve its metadata to data.doi.gov, Data.gov, and OMB; helps ensure that USGS metadata meet requirements.
To submit your metadata to the Science Data Catalog.
Examples of data release across USGS:
Fitting it all together:
Figuring out a workflow for data release in USGS can be interesting. Here are some examples of workflows that have been developed:
What the U.S. Geological Survey Manual Says:
The USGS Instructional Memoradum IM OSQI 2015-03 – Fundamental Science Practices: Review and Approval of Scientific Data for Release stipulates data must be approved before release and provides details on what is required to obtain approval to publish or release data to the public.
So what to do?
Place your data on one of the existing USGS data portals, place it on one of the data services maintained by your science center for that purpose, or place it on your project public Web site. Whichever option you choose, the data must meet all FSP requirements related to data release, metadata and preservation.
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