[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 205 (Wednesday, October 23, 2002)]
[Pages 65154-65155]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-26899]



Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, 
Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Office of 
Science and Technology Policy

AGENCY: Office of Science and Technology Policy.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has 
finalized its Information Quality Guidelines, which describe OSTP's 
pre-dissemination information quality control and an administrative 
mechanism for requests for correction of information publicly 
disseminated by OSTP. The final Information Quality Guidelines are 
posted on OSTP's web site, http://www.ostp.gov.

DATES: OSTP's pre-dissemination review applies to information that OSTP 
first disseminates on or after October 1, 2002. OSTP's administrative 
mechanism for correcting information that OSTP disseminates applies to 
information that OSTP disseminates on or after October 1, 2002, 
regardless of when OSTP first disseminated the information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stan Sokul, Office of Science and 
Technology Policy, Washington, DC 20502. Telephone: (202) 456-7116.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to prior Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) guidance, on May 1, 2002, OSTP posted an initial draft of 
these guidelines on its web site, and published a Notice of their 
availability in the Federal Register seeking public comment by June 14, 
2002. OSTP submitted draft guidelines to OMB on August 1, 2002, and 
revised draft guidelines again on September 24, 2002. These final 
guidelines reflect the results of the OMB review process.
    In response to OSTP's Federal Register Notice, two public comments 
were received, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the 
Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE). Both public comments 
consisted of identical commentary on federal agency compliance with the 
Data Quality Act generally. In addition, the CRE comment enclosed a 
legal opinion stating that no agency dissemination of information 
should be excluded from the Data Quality Act (i.e., challenging any 
exclusions to the definition of ``information''), and the CEI comment 
included an argument why OSTP should cease disseminating the National 
Assessment on Climate Change. OSTP also received a June 10, 2002, and a 
September 5, 2002, ``Memorandum for President's Management Council'' 
from OMB. These OMB Memoranda provided agencies with additional 
guidance on designing information quality guidelines.
    OSTP modified its May 1, 2002, draft guidelines in several respects 
in response to the OMB Memoranda and in response to OSTP-OMB 
discussions as part of OMB's review of OSTP's draft guidelines, but 
made no alterations in response to the public comments. While in many 
instances the OSTP guidelines conformed to the CRE/CEI commentary or 
the commentary was not applicable, in several instances the CRE/CEI 
commentary did challenge OMB guidelines that OSTP had followed. OSTP 
interprets the statute, however, as giving OMB broad discretion in

[[Page 65155]]

providing guidance under the Data Quality Act to federal agencies, so 
OSTP did not alter its own guidelines to deviate from OMB's guidance. A 
summary of significant amendments to OSTP's initial draft guidelines 
follows, in order of the text:
    A new paragraph 2 was added to section I, to clarify that OSTP will 
treat information quality as integral to every step of the information 
creation, collection, maintenance and dissemination processes.
    Paragraph 12 of section II(B) was modified to state that when 
reviewing the quality of information being prepared by other agencies 
(e.g., when OSTP coordinates an inter-agency drafting process), OSTP 
may request that the agencies certify in writing that the information 
they are providing complies with their own pre-dissemination review 
processes and that, upon such certification, OSTP can presume such 
information complies with the Data Quality Act and OMB's guidelines.
    Paragraph 1 of section III(A), involving correction requests, was 
modified to state that OSTP's failure to comply with its own or OMB's 
information quality guidelines can form the basis of a complaint.
    Paragraph 2 of section III(A) was modified to delete any specific 
timeliness requirements.
    Paragraph 3 of section III(A) was modified to require a complaint 
to reference OSTP's or OMB's information quality guidelines as well as 
the information alleged to be incorrect.
    Paragraph 7 of section III(A) was modified to clarify that 
requestors bear the burden of proof with respect to the necessity of a 
correction and the type of correction to be made.
    A new subsection C, Rulemaking and Other Public Comment Procedures, 
was added to section III, to clarify the circumstances under which OSTP 
would make corrections during a notice and comment proceeding prior to 
final agency action in that proceeding.
    In section V, Definitions, paragraph 2(f) was modified to clarify 
that information contained in testimony before the courts, 
administrative bodies or Congress is excluded from the definition of 
``information'' only to the extent that the information contained in 
such testimony was already previously disseminated. Paragraph 3 was 
similarly modified with respect to information contained in press 
    Paragraph 6(b)(ii)(A) of section V was modified to clarify that 
reproducibility of original and supporting data will be assured 
according to commonly accepted scientific, financial, or statistical 

    Dated: October 16, 2002.
Barbara Ann Ferguson,
Assistant Director for Budget and Administration, Office of Science and 
Technology Policy.
[FR Doc. 02-26899 Filed 10-22-02; 8:45 am]