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Public Access and Open Science at USDA

The USDA is committed to making all peer-reviewed, scholarly publications and digital scientific research data assets arising from unclassified scientific research supported wholly or in part by the USDA accessible to the public, to the extent practicable. Read the Departmental Regulation (DR) 1020-006 [PDF, 18 pages] to understand USDA's current public access policy. Public Access is a critical part of our support of Open Science.

Learn about our policy-related activities in the 2023 Implementation Plan to Increase Public Access to USDA-funded Research Results [PDF, 9 pages].

Search for Publications or Data

Search PubAg

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USDA's public access system for scholarly publications.

Search Ag Data Commons

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USDA's catalog and repository for publicly accessible USDA-supported data.

How to Submit Publications and Data

Submit a Manuscript

The PubAg Manuscript Submissions system supports public access requirements by enabling deposit of final peer-reviewed accepted manuscripts.

Criteria for submissions to PubAg are: 

  • USDA partially or completely funded the research and
  • the article has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Types of documents accepted are:

  • final, peer-reviewed accepted manuscripts or
  • the final, accepted article if the author has the right to submit the published version (e.g., open access articles).

Start a manuscript submission

If you have questions about whether your manuscript can be submitted, please Ask a Question.

Submit or share the location of data assets

The Ag Data Commons enables submission of a standardized catalog entry that is

  • machine-readable (e.g., using a Project Open Data Metadata Schema)
  • references the USDA funding source(s), and
  • describes the digital scientific research data asset.

The metadata catalog entry must include the digital persistent identifiers of the data authors, the published digital scientific research data asset or its location in another repository, and links to any associated research products.

Start a data submission

For more detailed answers to these and other questions, consult the DR Implementation Guide. If you have questions about the Ag Data Commons, please Ask a Question.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the USDA policy on public access to research products?

All peer-reviewed, scholarly publications and digital scientific research data assets arising from unclassified research and programs funded wholly or in part by the USDA must be made accessible to the public, to the fullest extent practicable. 

  • Publications covered by this policy must be made freely accessible through the USDA public access archive system (PubAg). 
  • All scientific research that is expected to produce digital scientific research data assets must be accompanied by a reviewed and approved data management plan.
  • Digital scientific research data assets covered by public access requirements must be published by a reputable data repository, and a standardized metadata catalog entry that describes the digital scientific research data asset must be submitted to the publicly available USDA scientific data catalog system (Ag Data Commons).
Why does USDA have a public access policy?

Openly accessible research products contribute to opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and scientific progress. Additionally, public access to USDA-funded research products helps maintain the integrity, credibility, and transparency of the Department’s research findings and capabilities.

USDA policy on public access is consistent with requirements laid out in a Memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that directed Federal Agencies with more than $100M in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop public access plans for the results of federally funded, unclassified research that are published in peer-reviewed publications and digitally formatted scientific data. USDA's public access requirements parallel the public access efforts of other scientific research agencies across the Federal Government and a general movement toward open science across many research communities.

What research products are in scope of the USDA public access policy?

Scholarly publications and digital scientific research data assets arising from scientific research supported wholly or in part by USDA starting on or after October 1, 2022.

  • Scholarly publications are peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in a journal on or after October 1, 2022.
  • Digital scientific research data assets are associated with a peer-reviewed publication OR the period of performance of the research award has ended, as determined by your USDA funding agency.
Who must comply with the USDA policy on public access?
  • USDA employees who engage in scientific research during official duties (i.e., intramural researchers)
  • Awardees and contractors from non-USDA organizations who are engaged in USDA-funded scientific research (i.e., extramural researchers) 
How can I comply with USDA data management planning requirements?

Visit the Data Management Planning Services page to find information about various aspects of data management including:

  • How to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), including a template and example annotated DMP
  • A DMP reviewer checklist, with instructions to request an optional review by NAL staff
  • How to find an appropriate repository to provide public access and long-term storage for your data
  • A glossary defining key data management terms
  • Data management videos and recorded webinars

A slide deck describing the general USDA policies [PDF, 18 pages] can be downloaded and re-used as needed. Questions about the specific policies or procedures of your USDA funding agency can be directed to the following points of contact:





  • FNCS
Joseph Clift
  • NRCS
Jonathan Smith
  • FS
Jim Lootens-White
  • ERS
Kelly Maguire
  • NIFA

Connect Digital Persistent Identifiers (DPIs)

If you are a USDA employee, Register or connect your ORCID id, a persistent identifier for scientists, researchers, and authors. If you are not a USDA employee, check with your institution or go to ORCID.

Page Content Curated By

Digital Library Branch (DLB)