PUBLICATIONS--Changes in Policy and Procedures for Processing, Preparing, and Publishing Water-Supply Papers

The following memorandum is only being transmitted electronically.

In Reply Refer To:                                  June 14, 1995
Mail Stop 439

WATER RESOURCES DIVISION MEMORANDUM NO. 95.42  

Subject:  PUBLICATIONS--Changes in Policy and Procedures for Processing,
          Preparing, and Publishing Water-Supply Papers

As the Water Resources Division (WRD) works to realign activities in 
response to external forces (reductions in personnel, budget cuts, and 
Inspector General audits) all U.S. Geological Survey activities are being 
reviewed.  Past policies and practices have left the WRD saddled with hundreds 
of late and approved, unpublished formal- and informal-series reports, 
including more than 150 approved formal-series reports that are awaiting 
final editing and revision before going to the printer.  The Office of Water 
Information (OWI) has been charged with clearing up the backlog of 
formal-series reports awaiting publication.

The first step in clearing up the backlog is to reduce the number of reports 
being approved for publication in the formal series.  In 1993, the scope of 
a Water-Supply Paper (WSP) was broadened, which allowed many more WSP 
reports to be approved.  Unfortunately, the formal-series production process 
was not changed to accommodate this sudden influx of new WSP's.  The problem 
is being further exacerbated by decreasing dollars and personnel in both the 
WRD and Geologic Division.  To reduce the number of formal-series reports 
going into an already clogged system, the scope of a WSP is being revised.  
Effective immediately,  

ANY INTERPRETIVE REPORT THAT HAS BROAD REGIONAL OR NATIONAL INTEREST, OR MAKES 
A MAJOR SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE EARTH SCIENCES

can be considered for approval as a WSP.  The second step in clearing up the 
backlog is to carefully review all approved formal-series reports awaiting 
publication.  The OWI is using several methods to clear up the backlog:  
report series may be changed from formal to informal; reports may be 
modified to eliminate plates and oversized or complex figures, which are 
expensive to prepare and publish; and strict adherence to formal-series 
standards may be relaxed to eliminate the need for additional editing and 
redrafting.  These determinations are being made on a case-by-case basis.  
Your patience and cooperation are critical in dealing with these reports. 

The third step is to reevaluate the existing formal-series report process.  
The OWI, with input from the Discipline Offices, will form a work group 
composed of District and Headquarters personnel to look at all policies and 
procedures associated with the various types of formal- series reports.  
This group will be asked to recommend--

  o  technical criteria for formal-series reports, 
  o  a process for determining which reports will be published in
     the formal series,
  o  a process for assigning the costs of preparing and printing of formal
     series reports, and 
  o  a new model for the work flow associated with preparing formal-series
     reports.

While sweeping change can be disconcerting, it also can be very exciting. I 
feel certain that the WRD will realize considerable long-term benefits from 
the changes that are being made in the publications process.  I appreciate 
your continuing support and patience as we work to redesign and implement 
new processes that will make report writing, production, and publication 
smoother, more efficient, and more economical without sacrificing the 
technical quality for which we are recognized.

                                       James E. Biesecker 
                                       Assistant Chief Hydrologist 
                                       for Water Information

DISTRIBUTION:  E

This memorandum supersedes WRD Memorandum No. 93.28