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June 6, 2013

In Reply Refer To:

1295; 1600 (560; 210) P        
Instruction Memorandum No. 2013-137
Expires: 09/30/2014
To:                   All Washington Office Officials, State Directors and Center Directors
From:               Assistant Director, Information Resources Management
Subject:           Peer Review of Influential Scientific Information
Program Area: Information Resources Management; Renewable Resources and Planning
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes reporting requirements for the preparation of influential scientific information and the number of peer reviews of influential scientific information conducted.
Policy/Action:  Pursuant to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum (M-05-03) entitled, “Issuance of OMB’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review,” the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must conduct a peer review on all influential scientific information that the agency intends to disseminate.
All of the BLM Offices planning or preparing influential scientific information or highly influential scientific assessments must provide notice of peer review to the Information Quality Officer, who will subsequently notify the Science Integrity Officer. The Scientific Integrity Officer can provide advice on the peer review requirements.
By August 31st of each fiscal year, each BLM State Office must report the number of internal and external peer reviews conducted to the Information Quality Act Officer for inclusion in the Information Quality Act annual report. BLM offices will need to work closely with the Information Quality Officer and the Science Integrity Officer when compiling peer review data.
Peer review is currently defined broadly. M-05-03 allows for the agency’s discretion in selecting the peer review mechanism (internal or external) that is appropriate for a specific information product, but identifies minimum peer review standards, including:
1.      Adequacy of prior peer review;
2.      Expertise and balance;
3.      Conflicts;
4.      Independence;
5.      Choice of peer review mechanism
6.      Transparency; and
7.      Additional requirements for Highly Influential Scientific Assessments including opportunity for public participation.
A peer review process must be transparent and publicly accessible. If the peer review process is challenged under the Information Quality Act, the peer reviewer’s name(s), the peer reviewer’s report(s), and the agency’s response to the peer reviewer’s report(s) must be made public.
This year, to ensure proper reviews are conducted in accordance with M-05-03, the BLM Information Quality Guidelines will be amended to include standardized procedures for peer review and will include definitions of “influential scientific information” and “highly influential scientific assessments.”
Timeframe:  Effective Immediately.
Budget Impact:  None.
Background:  On December 16, 2004, OMB finalized requirements for conducting peer reviews on influential scientific information. This effort enables coordination of peer review activity across the BLM to ensure accurate accounting and consistent standards and procedures are applied.
Manual/ Handbook Sections Affected:  None.
Coordination:  This IM was coordinated with Information Resources Management (WO-500), Renewable Resources and Planning (WO-200) and the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships (WO-400).

Contact:  Corey J. Wells, Information Quality Act Officer at (202) 912-7561 or via e-mail at cjwells@blm.gov; or Heidi Hadley, Science Integrity Officer at (202) 912-7207 or via e-mail at hhadley@blm.gov.


Signed by:                                                                           Authenticated by:
Lisa Jollay                                                                           Catherine Emmett
Acting Assistant Director, Information Resources Management    Division of IRM Governance, WO-560



Last updated: 06-12-2013