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Science for Decisionmaking: Coastal and Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey
designate program element or team leaders to manage the day-to-day research activities. In such a structure, the efforts of team scientists could be coordinated and facilitated by the team leader, who, in turn, could answer directly to the program director.
At present, center directors who report to the regional geologist deal with many of the administrative issues faced by CMGP staff. The committee suggests that many of the responsibilities of the regional geologist (see Chapter 1) be vested in the center directors who in turn report to the program director. Such a restructuring would create parallel scientific and administrative lines of authority, which would enhance the CMGP's ability to set scientific goals and then organize the required resources more effectively.
MAINTAINING SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE
As indicated in the statement of task (Box 1-3), the USGS is mindful of the valuable role a motivated and experienced scientific staff plays in its ability to fulfill its mission. It is generally recognized that the USGS staff is talented and uniquely positioned to identify major scientific challenges and to design research strategies to address them. Enhanced collaboration with other federal scientists, as well as colleagues in academia and state and local agencies will further enhance CMGP efforts. Unlike their academic colleagues who enjoy great freedom to pursue research in a number of areas, the scientific staff of the USGS recognizes the need to focus USGS resources on research germane to the numerous policy challenges facing the nation. Thus, the ability to maintain a high-quality staff will depend on identifying ways to reward creative and resourceful personnel.
A number of CGMP staff voiced concerns that the current reward system does not adequately recognize efforts that enhance overall CMGP stature but do not result in classic peer-reviewed publications. It is the committee's understanding that much of the emphasis placed on peer-reviewed literature as an indicator of scientific stature is directly related to federal guidelines for evaluating research staff. Specifically, the Geologic Division, like other divisions in the USGS and other federal agencies, has used the Research Grade Evaluation Guide (RGEG) as the primary evaluation tool for basic and applied research positions. As recommended by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the division applies the RGEG using a peer panel to assess the research assignment and the researcher's scientific contributions and stature. Through efforts to understand the RGEG, the committee learned that OPM has agreed to review and possibly modify the RGEG. As this issue is not unique to the CGMP, or even the USGS, the committee determined that specific recommendations regarding the RGEG are beyond the scope of this study. The committee, therefore, encourages individuals at high levels in the USGS to consider the impact the present RGEG may have on its programs and staff and voice those concerns to OPM. Since the current RGEG applies to a number of federal science programs