Open Access Week

October 24 - 30, 2022 | Everywhere

Day 2: USGS Public Access Plan and library support

In March 2016, a USGS Leaders Blog announced the Bureau’s new Public Access Plan titled Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research at the U.S. Geological Survey: Scholarly Publications and Digital Data.  The USGS Public Access Plan builds on directives set forth by the White House in 2013, that lay out requirements for federal agencies with more than $100 million in annual research and development budgets.  

The USGS Public Access Plan can be viewed in its entirety here: and the USGS website associated with the Plan is here:


Key elements that apply to both USGS series and outside published information products include:

  • For journal publications all accepted manuscripts must be deposited in the internal USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS) repository which serves as a dark archive.
  • Journal articles are released from the outside publisher or the USGS IPDS dark archive and made available free-of-charge from the USGS Publications Warehouse no later than 12 months after publication.
  • USGS authors are not obligated to pay journals to provide free public access to journal articles unless the author requires free public access be provided by the outside publisher before the 12 month period.
  • The USGS will provide a mechanism, via the USGS Publications Warehouse, for accepting petitions for changes to the 12-month period, and a decision for a reduced embargo period for a specific journal publication will be made based on need.
  • A minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free-of-charge upon initial publication for purposes of cataloging and indexing to facilitate discovery. 


The wide scope of content covered by the White House directives does create some challenges for those developing data management plans and platforms for dissemination.  For example, concerns to be addressed include differing opinions on the timelines of depositing content, the wide range of materials covered by the term “data,” and ongoing issues related to continual updates, continuity of nomenclature, classification, and needed storage capacity.  To ensure that agency plans are efficient and effective and that they meet the needs of all users, it has been imperative that academic universities, research associations, and libraries be engaged to provide the expertise and insight on building open access that will last for future generations of researchers. 

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