USGS Data Management

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Publish/Share > USGS Data and Software Release Information
U.S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram Plan Acquire Process Analyze Preserve Publish/Share Manage Quality Describe (Metadata, Documentation) Backup & Secure The USGS Science Data Lifecycle
U.S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram

Welcome to Quick Access:
Links for USGS Data and Software Release Information!

The need to provide transparent and reproducible scientific data, metadata, and software to the public is driving changes to the way federally funded science is planned, conducted, and disseminated. In response to these developments, the USGS issued four Survey Manual chapters that formalized requirements for all data products released by the bureau. These policies, and a subsequent Instructional Memorandum (IM) on related software, address scientific data and software management and release to meet open data and public access requirements established by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Program Coordinators and Science Center Directors shall work with project and task leaders to comply with these policies. These policies also implement the USGS Public Access Plan, which describes how USGS is providing public access to scholarly publications and digital scientific data resulting from research funded by the USGS. The Public Access Plan is available at: The Survey Manual chapters that address data management are:

These SM chapters outline specific requirements to release USGS scientific data, including:

  1. A data management plan describing data to be collected, analyzed and released during the project
  2. USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP)-compliant peer review of data and metadata, undertaken within USGS Information Product Data System
  3. FGDC-compliant metadata describing the data
  4. A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) specific to USGS, and pointing to the data
  5. Making the data available through the DOI at a reliable and publicly available digital data repository approved by USGS
  6. Making the released metadata describing the data available in the USGS Science Data Catalog

The IM addressing review and approval of scientific software for public release is:

This IM is currently being revised for eventual conversion to a Survey Manual chapter. Please check the main Fundamental Science Practices page at: for any updated software guidance.

FAQs for the data management policies (SM 502.6-502.9) are also available at:; an FAQ for the software release IM (IM OSQI 2016-01) will be available in late FY 18 or early FY 19.

This Web page will be updated as new resources are available.