These policies seem to be in a state of flux from a traditional USGS system to a system open for interpretation by each scientist and program. The traditional internal publication system seems to be dying; web-based products and fact sheets are thriving, but support for external products is not always available.
I think this is an oxymoron. The two concepts do not mutually coexist here. Having a resource like the computer center here with our plotters is a tremendous resource and has done much to improve productivity and original thinking. Much credit goes to Rob Wertz. Most of the other 'publication policies' have been hurdles to overcome.
Pay all page charges for outside journals. Either pay outside agencies to publish our maps, or get our group to do this better. Publish glossy paper products (like atlases) with just a few pages and put the extensive products on a CD.
Each project should produce scientific papers and outreach products. The USGS motto, "Science for a changing world," has come to mean consultants; the science has been abandoned for what is viewed as immediate societal need that can be demonstrated to a senator or congressperson.
Publication policies have been addressed in a recent memorandum. The division seems to be on a reasonable track. My personal bias is that outside publication should be encouraged so that any basic research that is done can compete with any new and innovative research that comes from other sectors.
A lot of attention has been put on creating posters, web pages, etc., with attention-grabbing graphics; less attention to scientific content. The scientific content has been poor on many posters seen this year at AGU. A publication with data that are unprocessed and misinterpreted undermines the professional reputation of the organization.