Guidelines for BOEM's Quality of Information Peer Review

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued "Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies." Congress directed OMB to issue these guidelines in Section 515 (Data Quality Act or Information Quality Act) of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-554).  Federal agencies were instructed to publish Information Quality guidelines for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information disseminated by agencies, and to provide readily available mechanisms that allow members of the public to seek and obtain corrections when appropriate.

A 2004 OMB directive entitled: Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review established that “important scientific information shall be peer reviewed by qualified specialists before it is disseminated by the federal government.”  (70 FR 2664) (published in January 14, 2005). It directs Federal agencies to develop agency-specific procedures for scientific peer review that are consistent with guidance contained in the bulletin.  It requires bureaus to conduct a "systematic process of peer review planning" and provide access to information products for official dissemination that will be peer reviewed as either influential scientific information or highly influential scientific assessments.

The Bulletin identifies these two categories of information:

Influential Scientific Information: scientific information that will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or private sector decisions.  Information dissemination can have a significant economic impact even if it is not part of a rulemaking.  For instance, the economic viability of a technology can be influenced by the government's characterization of its attributes. Alternatively, the Federal government's assessment of risk can directly or indirectly influence the response actions of state and local agencies or international bodies.

Highly Influential Scientific Assessment: a scientific assessment is considered highly influential if:

  1. its dissemination will have a potential impact of more than $500 million in any one year on either the public or private sector, or
  2. that the dissemination is novel, controversial, or precedent-setting, or
  3. that it has significant interagency interest.

Based on the review it has conducted, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) believes that it does not currently produce or sponsor the distribution of influential scientific information (including Highly Influential Scientific Assessments) within the definitions promulgated by OMB. As a result, at this time BOEM has no agenda of forthcoming influential scientific disseminations to post on its website in accordance with OMB's Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review .