U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Public Access Policy - Data

The USGS requires a two-step process as part of its data policy:

  1. A Data Management Plan (DMP) submitted as part of all research conducted or funded by the USGS.

  2. A deposit of data available in appropriate long-term repositories (free of charge for public access), made available at the time of or prior to publication. Access to the data may be restricted because of security, privacy, confidentiality, or other constraints.

What do I need to submit as a part of my funding proposal?

Submit a data management plan that identifies appropriate methods for data management, data release, and appropriate preservation. The DMP must also address making data available in an appropriate long-term repository and the importance of non-proprietary, open formats. USGS funded data approved for release require in all cases without exception preservation and access. For more information, see USGS Data Management website.

Use the Data Management Planning Tool to create your DMP (contains templates and examples).

Do I have the rights?

The Federal Government claims a license to exercise all rights under copyright to (1) obtain, reproduce, publish or otherwise use the data first produced under an award; and (2) authorize others to receive, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use such data for Federal purposes.

Where do I deposit datasets:

  • Data associated with USGS scholarly publications currently are either contained within the publication or may be released as a separate data entity (e.g., as digital datasets) after passing through quality assurance, quality control, formal description, review, and approval for release as established in USGS Survey Manual (SM).

  • Data associated with USGS scholarly publications and other data approved for release are currently submitted to the internal USGS data repository most appropriate to their content, level of data management needed, and dissemination method required. A trusted third-party distribution repository may be used to increase access, but the authoritative version of the data is maintained by the USGS. Regardless of the repository, metadata describing the data are indexed in the USGS Science Data Catalog, enabling consistent public discoverability.

  • USGS data are subject to Bureau approval under the USGS Fundamental Science Practices (FSP); once approved for release, data are made available to the public in the appropriate forms and formats free-of-charge with no embargo period.

When do I need to submit my datasets?

At the time of or prior to publication, defined as when research findings are published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

How do I submit?

Before submitting your data to your chosen repository, you will need to follow several steps.

  • De-identify your data if appropriate

  • Put your data in an open, machine-readable file format

  • Document the dataset thoroughly in a separate readme.txt file, and/or create metadata according to the scheme required by your chosen repository

  • Obtain a DOI from the USGS once the data is approved for release

  • Follow the upload instructions for the data repository

See Data Management Best Practices Primer for help in fleshing out these steps.

Are there any compliance requirements?

The Data Management Plan (DMP) is part of the overall research proposal and, as such, it is expected that researchers will follow, to the best of their ability, the proposed research and associated data management plan. In addition, compliance is ensured through progress reporting as required in the funding agreement and the Financial Assistance Monitoring Protocol used by USGS. Funds are withheld if an awardee is in noncompliance.

More Information

USGS Public Access Plan

For more information from the UA Libraries, see Data Management Resources.