USGS open access to research

USGS opens more science data

The U.S. Geological Survey plans to enhance online access by requiring that electronic copies of USGS-funded research be made available through the USGS Publications Warehouse. The data used to support the research findings must also be available for free when the associated study is published. That machine-readable information will be available via the USGS Science Data Catalog.

According to the recently approved plan, starting Oct. 1, 2016, any research that the USGS funds, including related datasets, must be made freely available to the public no later than a year after publication. The USGS will make exceptions where access must be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality or other constraints, agency officials said.

Specifically, final manuscripts in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and USGS publications are put into the USGS’s internal Information Product Data System repository, or “dark archive.” Within 12 months, research is released from the publisher or dark archive and made available for download, free of charge. Upon initial publication, the research must include a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements to facilitate discovery.

This policy applies to papers and data authored or coauthored by USGS, its contract employees, partners or award recipients. Additionally, all new research proposals and grants must now include a data management plan detailing acquisition method, quality assurance, security and disposition.

USGS already has the portals needed to provide public access, and so far, 10,000 of 50,000 USGS series publications are available for free as downloadable digital files.  Additionally, some 41,000 scholarly publications authored by the USGS -- but published externally -- are cataloged in the Publications Warehouse.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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