Data Product Quality
Sound and objective data and statistics help assess the health of the food, agriculture, and rural sectors of the U.S. economy. Data support ERS research to inform and enhance public and private decision making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural development. ERS provides a wealth of data and resources.
The suite of ERS data products encompasses estimates, forecasts, economic and statistical indicators, and data compiled from diverse sources where ERS adds value in the form of recompilation and/or subject-matter expertise. ERS disseminates its information to key stakeholders and the public through an array of outlets, including the ERS website.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines require agencies to develop a process for reviewing the quality of information before it is disseminated to the public to ensure that it meets OMB’s standards for objectivity, utility, and integrity. ERS is committed to quality and professional standards of statistical practice. As one of the Federal Government’s Principal Statistical Agencies, ERS provides high-quality, objective statistics and data on the food, agricultural, and rural sectors. Stakeholders, including those participating in recent strategic planning interviews, indicate that ERS data products and access to the data are high-value Agency services.
The ERS Data Product Quality Standards describe the principles that ERS will follow to ensure these quality standards are embedded in data products provided to key stakeholders and the public. The policy is applied broadly to all data products, and each data product must meet each standard of purpose, utility, objectivity, transparency, integrity, and accessibility. (ERS’s Error Correction Policy addresses correcting and reporting substantial errors in disseminated data products, in the event they occur.)
The quality standards recognize there is a hierarchy among data products based on measurable attributes that distinguish various levels of product quality. All premier products must meet all levels defined in each standard, as applicable by data type. The extent to which each specific standard applies to core and other products may vary, depending on the type of data product. Initially, the ERS Data Product Review Council (DPRC) will review each product to determine the extent to which the standards apply and how the products currently conform.
The DPRC oversees and implements these data quality standards. In 2014, the DPRC created a review process to evaluate data products and their adherence to the data quality standards using the ERS Data Product Quality Review: Evaluation Checklist.