Peer Reviews

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidelines for the peer review of important scientific information before it is disseminated by the Federal Government. OMB published its "Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review" in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005, at 70 FR 2664-2677. The Bulletin provides specific requirements for peer reviews of highly influential scientific assessments and influential scientific information that are disseminated by Federal agencies, including posting the agenda and plans for such peer reviews on agency websites.

USDA has also issued Scientific Research Guidelines/Peer Review standards that USDA agencies and offices will follow in developing and reviewing scientific research information and disseminating it to the public.

ERS Agenda for Peer Reviews of Highly Influential Scientific Assessments

At this time, ERS has no agenda of forthcoming highly influential scientific assessments to post on its website in accordance with OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.

ERS Agenda for Peer Reviews of Influential Scientific Information

ERS's economists and social scientists conduct research to inform public and private decisionmaking on economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development. The agency's research program is aimed at the information needs of USDA, other public policy officials, and the research community. ERS information and analysis is also used by the media, trade associations, public interest groups, and the general public. ERS disseminates economic information and research results through an array of outlets.

ERS has two types of report series that could contain potentially influential scientific information: ERS research reports; and Outlook Special Reports. The peer review process varies for each series. All reports in each series are included in ERS's peer review agenda for potentially influential scientific information. 

  • ERS research reports – Division management submits ERS research reports, including Economic Briefs, Economic Information Bulletins, Technical Bulletins, and Economic Research Reports, to the ERS Peer Review Council to develop the peer review plan and coordinate the peer review process.  Each report submitted to the Peer Review Council is reviewed by a minimum of two external economists/subject specialists and one economist from ERS. In addition, subject specialists from USDA agencies potentially affected by the research provide technical reviews. All reviews are double-blind (the reviewers do not know the identity of the report author(s) and the author(s) do not know the names of the reviewers). Review criteria are detailed in request letters sent to each reviewer.
  • Outlook Special Reports – Outlook Special Reports deliver time-sensitive information related to the forces shaping commodity markets and trade.  These reports provide analysis of commodity market conditions, production, supply, and use, both domestically and internationally. Outlook Special Reports are reviewed by ERS staff, external commodity and market specialists, and subject experts on the World Agricultural Outlook Board.

Cleared manuscripts are posted on the ERS website. For a complete list, see the Publications catalog.

In accordance with OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, ERS's Peer Review Agenda for potentially influential scientific information is reported below. The agenda is updated quarterly.

ERS Peer Review Agenda for Potentially Influential Scientific Information (under review as of January 1, 2018)
Working Title Description
Characteristics of School Districts Offering Free School Meals to All Students Through the Community Eligibility Provision Economic Research Report
Factors Affecting the Demand for Convenience Foods Economic Research Report
Ownership of Oil and Gas Rights and Farm Sector Income and Wealth Economic Information Bulletin
Factors contributing to changes in commodity markets, prices, and agricultural trade for the United States and the world Economic Research Report
Returns to Farming Economic Research Report
Agricultural Market Access Under Tariff Rate Quotas Economic Research Report
Analytical Agriculture Sector Projection Models: Documentation Economic Research Report
Which School Food Authorities Pay More for Food Used in USDA School Meal Programs? Economic Research Report
The Association between Restaurant Menu Label Use and Caloric Intake Economic Research Report

See completed peer reviews

Contact

For information on ERS's agenda and plans for peer reviews of highly influential scientific assessments and influential scientific information, contact:

Cynthia Nickerson
Economic Research Service
355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
Email: cnickerson@ers.usda.gov
Phone: (202) 694-5626

USDA Resources

The USDA website provides more information on: