Gyami Shrestha, U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Information Quality in the Assessment

The author teams were asked to derive the Key Findings of their chapters primarily from peer-reviewed scientific literature that met all IQA criteria. However, in some cases, essential content for a specific topic was available from sources other than peer-reviewed literature, such as unofficial governmental publications, reports, white papers, or other documents generally referred to as gray literature. The author teams could include a limited number of supporting citations from gray literature that they deemed essential content not available in scientifically peer-reviewed journals, provided the authors could answer “yes” to all other IQA questions. In such limited situations where information was only available outside peer-reviewed scientific literature or governmental reports, author teams were required to evaluate potential sources with the following additional considerations:

  • Utility: Is the particular source important to the topic of the chapter?

  • Transparency and traceability: Is the source material identifiable and publicly available?

  • Objectivity: Why and how was the source material created? Is it accurate and unbiased?

  • Information integrity and security: Will the source material remain reasonably protected and intact over time?

As the administrative agency responsible for producing this report, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture ensured that referenced information adhered to USDA Information Quality Guidelines (USDA 2018).

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