U.S. Geological Survey Manual
205.18 - Authority to Approve Information Products
OPR: Office of Science Quality and Integrity
Instruction: This replaces Survey Manual (SM) chapter 205.18 – Authority to Approve Information Products, dated May 24, 2006.
1. Purpose. This chapter updates the delegations of authority to approve various U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) science and other information products for release (refer to SM 1100.1 and SM 500.5).
2. Authority. The authority to approve information products for release ultimately rests with the Director of the USGS. The responsibility for Bureau approval (formerly Director’s approval) for science information products has been delegated to specific approving officials as detailed in 4.A-F below. The approving officials for other USGS information products are also detailed in 4.G-J below.
A. USGS science information products must be approved according to the requirements set forth in this chapter and in USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP) policy chapters SM 502.1 - SM 502.4. Depending on the content and type of science product to be released, Bureau approval authority is delegated to Bureau Approving Officials (BAOs) in the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI) or to Science Center Managers or equivalent level, hereafter referred to as the Science Center Manager. The term Science Center Manager is equivalent to other terms that may be used in the USGS, such as Chief Scientist, Center or Branch Chief, Center Director, Coop Unit Leader, and Cost Center Manager. The Science Center Manager may redelegate their approval authority to a designee of comparable responsibility or knowledge.
B. All science information products must first receive approval by the supervisor and other officials, generally following the organizational alignment or chain of the senior USGS author (SM 1100.5) and last, must receive approval by the appropriate approving official as detailed in 4-A-E. In granting Bureau approval, approving officials ensure science information products meet applicable requirements including those related to peer review (SM 502.3), editorial review (SM 1100.2), approval, and release (SM 502.4). Approving officials ensure that an information product is released in the appropriate USGS publication series (SM 1100.3) or external outlet (SM 1100.4). Approving officials also have latitude in determining if additional reviews or modifications are needed to ensure the final science information product upholds the USGS standards for quality prior to publication or release.
C. Approval requirements for other USGS information products described in this policy (news releases, audiovisual products, and internal communications) are detailed in 4.F-H below.
4. Information Product Approval Authorities.
A. New Research or Interpretive Information Products. For information products that contain new research or interpretive material, Bureau approval authority is delegated to BAOs in the OSQI. Approval authority for these products may not be redelegated to the Science Center Manager. Information products included in this authority are USGS series publications (SM 1100.3); outside publications (SM 1100.4), including peer-reviewed journal publications (as discussed in 4.C); extended abstracts (as discussed in 4.D below); posters, excluding poster sessions (as discussed in 4.E below); exhibits; public Web page content; and other information products with new interpretive material that have not been previously published in a USGS series or elsewhere.
B. Previously Published or Noninterpretive Information Products. For information products that do not contain new research or interpretive material, Bureau approval authority is delegated to the Science Center Manager. The Science Center Manager may redelegate this approval authority (refer to 3.A). Included in this authority are USGS series publications; outside publications, including some abstracts (as discussed in 4.D); programmatic material, posters, including poster sessions (as discussed in 4.E); exhibits; public Web page content; and other information products (such as external newsletters), that contain previously published interpretive information. For products that contain new data but do not contain any interpretation of that material (that is, noninterpretive new material) approval authority is also delegated to the Science Center Manager. The Science Center Manager may request that any science information product receive approval by a BAO in the OSQI. General Information Product series (refer to SM 1100.3) receive Bureau approval by the Science Center Manager and must also be approved at the design and concept stage by the Office of Communications and Publishing (OCAP).
C. Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles. Journal articles by USGS authors for release in scholarly peer-reviewed journal publications require Bureau approval by a BAO in the OSQI.
D. Abstracts. USGS abstracts generally fall into two categories: they can be “placeholders” for scientific conference or meeting sessions or they can be “extended” abstracts that are multi-page, summarize scientific studies, results, and principal conclusions, or contain new interpretive information, figures, and tables. Extended abstracts are often included in a larger volume containing other abstracts intended for release as proceedings or refereed journal publications and the Science Center Manager determines what constitutes an extended abstract. Extended abstracts with new interpretive material require Bureau approval by a BAO in OSQI. For all other abstracts, regardless of the content (new interpretive or previously published material), Bureau approval is granted by the Science Center Manager.
E. Poster Sessions and Presentation Materials. Poster sessions and presentation materials for scientific conferences and meetings that are left for conference dissemination or that are publicly posted on the Web require Bureau approval by the Science Center Manager. Bureau approval is not required if these materials are presented once and are not left for conference dissemination or publicly posted online. However, if these products contain sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information it is incumbent upon the presenter to first consult with their supervisor and other managers in their organizational units to determine if there is any inappropriateness in presenting such content.
F. Scientific Book Reviews, Comments and Replies to Scientific Articles, and Scientific Opinion Pieces. Scientific book reviews, comments and replies to scientific articles, and scientific opinion pieces require Bureau approval by a BAO in the OSQI or the Science Center Manager as detailed in 4.A-B above.
G. Materials for Hearings. Testimony and presentation materials used in hearings before Members of Congress (whether in Washington, D.C., or at a field location) are subject to approval as outlined in Department Manual (DM) chapter 461 DM 2 and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-19. Clearance or approval for Congressional hearing materials is coordinated by the Congressional Liaison Officer in the OCAP. Testimony and presentation materials for hearings in a court of law are subject to approval as outlined in SM 450.2.
H. News Releases and Other News-Media Products and Social Media Use. News releases, letters to the editor, opinion pieces or op-eds, and other communications disseminated to news media and/or trade press and professional society publications require approval by the USGS Public Affairs Officer in the OCAP and are governed by policies and procedures as detailed in SM 500.5. Approval requirements for official and nonofficial use of social media and social networking services and tools, including but not limited to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are also governed by the OCAP as detailed at http://www.usgs.gov/socialmedia/.
I. Audiovisual Products. The USGS Public Affairs Officer in the OCAP is the approving official for audiovisual products including video productions; motion picture films; public service announcements; and video news features as detailed in SM 1100.7. Examples of audio visual products that do not require approval by the OCAP include photographs, presentations, animations, and productions by private organizations produced in cooperation with the USGS or sponsored in part by the USGS through grants or collaborative agreements (provided that the USGS contribution does not exceed 50 percent of the total production cost). Audiovisual products not approved by the OCAP and that contain scientific information must follow the FSP approval requirements for the applicable product (refer to 4.A-F above).
J. Internal Communications. Internal communications are those information products designed solely for USGS employees and include a variety of products such as newsletters, Web pages, bookmarks, brochures, promotional program materials (for example “Vision” statement cards), and official announcement flyers, all of which incorporate the USGS Visual Identity System. Internal communications products are generally approved by the supervisor and other officials, following the organizational alignment or chain of the originator. Internal newsletters must be approved at the design and concept stage by the OCAP Internal Communications Officer. In addition to the originator’s organizational approvals "All-employee" communications must also be approved by the OCAP Internal Communications Officer.
/s/ Karen D. Baker December 13, 2011
Karen D. Baker Date
Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information