The USGS Web Presence for International Science
The committee had the advantage of becoming well informed about the Survey’s international science activities from a variety of sources both within and external to the USGS. These sources included published literature, personal communication with and presentations from individuals familiar with USGS international work, and information from various parts of the USGS website.
Examination of the USGS website revealed no central listing or description of all of the Survey’s ongoing international projects. Some international information was found through a search on the USGS website for the word “international” or using the “International Activities” link near the bottom of the “About USGS” page. These options lead the viewer to the page for the Office of International Programs (OIP), which has informative descriptions of the OIP and how the USGS conducts its international activities, but no information on the many and diverse international projects themselves.
On the web pages for the individual mission areas, descriptions or mention of international science activities is inconsistent. Some mission areas, such as Energy and Minerals, describe their international activities seamlessly, together with their domestic activities on the mission area’s main page. For other mission areas, international work that the committee knows to be taking place is difficult to find on the mission area’s web pages or elsewhere on the Survey website.
In the same vein, information about publications—whether official USGS reports, fact sheets or other publications, or articles in peer-reviewed journals—that have resulted from international activities are not collected in a central location or organized within the individual mission area pages. With assistance from the USGS library staff, the committee was able to generate a bibliography of peer-reviewed journal articles by USGS scientists and collaborators on international work; a selection from that bibliography of nearly 300 journal articles is provided in Appendix E.
The lack of consistency with respect to a web presence for international science on the USGS web site is significant because the value of this Survey work— identified and described in this chapter by the committee through access to many well-informed sources—would not be evident to someone in the general public attempting to understand more about USGS international science. The websites of the Geological Surveys of Denmark and Greenland, the British Geological Survey, and of the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (www.geus.dk/; www.bgs.ac.uk/; www.brgm.fr/) are examples of other national geological surveys with direct links on the organizations’ main web pages to centralized, informative descriptions (and maps) of their international work.
and other mission areas as a core mission responsibility, and identifies key activities and strategies related to sustainable resource management (DOI, 2011).
The USGS has clarified its priorities for climate and land-use change in a recent document entitled USGS Global Change Science Strategy: A Framework for Understanding and Responding to Climate and Land-Use Change (Burkett et al., 2011; hereafter referred to as the GCSS report). The GCSS report describes the science necessary to “broadly inform global change policy,” identifies core competencies in global change science, and outlines key research questions and strategic goals. The six major research goals are to improve understanding