California Water Science Center

U.S. Geological Survey Publications:

CAWSC Publications

USGS Publications Warehouse

Established in 1879 to build and organize a collection of scientific materials in the earth sciences, the U.S. Geological Survey Library is the largest earth sciences library in the world. The USGS Publications Warehouse (located at pubs.er.usgs.gov) provides access to publications written by USGS authors. The Pubs Warehouse maintains a variety of publication types for diverse audiences, which are outlined below.

Types of Publications:

Circular (CIRC):
The Circular is used to broadly educate and inform general audiences, decision makers, university students, and scientists about science and public policy topics related to processes, geographic areas, issues, or USGS programs. Circulars do not present new data or new scientific findings.


Data Series (DS):
The Data Series is intended to make public scientific data in the form of basic data sets, databases, multimedia or motion graphics. Generally, Data Series publications do not include scientific interpretations of data. Although this series is most commonly used for data sets, the series can also be used for videos, computer programs, and collections of digital photographs.


Fact Sheet (FS):
The Fact Sheet is used to educate and inform a general audience about USGS science, programs, projects, and data, and how they address earth science issues of public interest. Fact sheets are used to summarize or publicize results and implications of previously published scientific findings, or to release new information about USGS programs and products.


General Information Product (GIP):
The General Information Product is specifically intended to educate and inform teachers, students, the news media, nature enthusiasts, and the general public about general scientific information of public interest. The series is published in a variety of media, including pamphlets, postcards, posters, videos, teacher kits, CD/DVDs, bookmarks, and interactive and motion graphics. GIPs are not used to present previously unpublished scientific findings.


Journal Articles (JA):
USGS scientists often publish their work in scientific Journals that are privately held publications, not part of the USGS publication series. Journal articles are highly technical, peer-reviewed publications used to inform a scientific community about new or continued research, data, and science. USGS scientists publish work in topic-specific journals to share the results of their work with professionals in targeted fields. This peer-reviewed scientific exposure encourages scientific discourse worldwide, and is a key component of the scientific method.


Open-File Report (O-FR):
Open-File Reports target professional audiences to disseminate information that must be released immediately to fill a public need, to clarify a previous publication, to release preliminary findings (pending a final report or map), or to release preliminary data.


Professional Paper (PP):
Professional Papers target professional audiences and are used to present comprehensive scientific or technical information of wide and lasting interest and scientific importance, and are commonly characterized by broad scientific or geographic coverage. PPs may include collections of related papers addressing a single scientific topic, either issued together under one cover, or separately as chapters.


Scientific Investigations Report (SIR):
Scientific Investigation Reports target professional audiences and are used to present significant data and interpretations of lasting scientific interest, but are generally narrower in scope than Professional Papers. This includes collections of related papers addressing different aspects of a single scientific topic, either issued as individual chapters or as a single volume; proceedings and abstracts for USGS-sponsored meetings; some field trip guidebooks and road logs; and general manuals.


Techniques and Methods (T&M):
Techniques and methods publications target professional audiences and are used to describe approved procedures and methods for the collection, analysis, or interpretation of scientific data, including manuals and documentation that represent major models, methodology, or techniques.

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Page Last Modified: Friday, 21-Jun-2013 13:11:14 EDT