Final Report on the Assessment of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Bureauwide Research Grade Evaluation (RGE) Process

Open-File Report 2021-1035
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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) formed the internal Research Grade Evaluation (RGE) Review Team in May 2017. The Team undertook a 2-year comprehensive review of RGE practices and policies at the USGS that included (1) the first-ever quantitative assessment of the USGS workforce evaluated under the RGE process, (2) a benchmarking meet­ing in March 2018 of the USGS and 11 other Federal science agencies to compare how each conducts research scientist evaluation, and (3) extensive surveys of four internal stakeholder groups. The Team recommends that the RGE review process emphasize the importance of outcomes resulting from a scientist’s efforts, rather than focusing on easily quantified outputs such as peer-reviewed papers, presentations, and posters. Thus, the Team recommends that a scientist’s work be assessed according to contributions and impacts in three areas: (1) scientific understanding, (2) the missions of the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of the Interior, and (3) society more broadly. The Team developed (1) new formats for the Research Scientist Record (RSR) and Development Scientist Record (DSR) that match the Office of Personnel Management’s guidelines for factor scoring and (2) new findings templates to pro­vide more meaningful feedback to scientists.

Suggested Citation

U.S. Geological Survey Research Grade Evaluation Review Team, 2021, Final report on the assessment of the U.S. Geological Survey’s bureauwide Research Grade Evaluation (RGE) process: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1035, 106 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211035.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Overview of Why and How We Did Our Work
  • What We Learned
  • Key Recommendations for RGE Processes
  • Other Key Recommendations
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1A. Charge Given to the Research Grade Evaluation Review Team of the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Appendix 1B. Members of the Research Grade Evaluation Review Team of the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Appendix 2. Detailed Evaluation of Workforce Data
  • Appendix 3. Graphic Summary of Results of Surveys of Three Groups of Stakeholders About the Research Grade Evaluation Process in the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Appendix 4. Benchmarking Information From a Comparison of Methods Used To Evaluate Research Scientists
  • Appendix 5A. Research Scientist Record Template
  • Appendix 5B. Findings Template for Use After Review of a Research Scientist Record
  • Appendix 5C. Development Scientist Record Template
  • Appendix 5D. Findings Template for Use After Review of a Development Scientist Record
  • Appendix 5E. Cover Sheet for Research Scientist Record (RSR) or Development Scientist Record (DSR)
  • Appendix 5F. Guidelines for Scoring in Excess of Level E
  • Appendix 5G. Findings Form for Scientist Considered for Promotion to Senior Scientist (ST)
  • Appendix 5H. Standard Reviewer Questions for References
  • Appendix 6. Report on Beta Test of the Recommended New Formats for the Research Scientist Record and Findings Templates and Processes Used by Peer Review Panels
  • Appendix 7. Explanations of Terms Used in This Report
  • Appendix 8. Additional Criteria for Senior Scientist Positions
  • Appendix 9. Key Recommendations for Updating the Research Grade Evaluation Process for the U.S. Geological Survey
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Final report on the assessment of the U.S. Geological Survey’s bureauwide Research Grade Evaluation (RGE) process
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2021-1035
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211035
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of Science Quality and Integrity
Description vi, 106 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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