[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 107 (Tuesday, June 4, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38466-38470]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-13892]



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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Economic Research Service

National Agricultural Statistics Service

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Census Bureau

Bureau of Economic Analysis

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Energy Information Administration

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Bureau of Labor Statistics

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Internal Revenue Service


Federal Statistical Organizations' Guidelines for Ensuring and 
Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of 
Disseminated Information

AGENCIES: Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Agricultural 
Statistics Service (NASS), Department of Agriculture (USDA); U.S. 
Census Bureau (Census) and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), 
Department of Commerce (DOC); National Center for Education Statistics 
(NCES), Department of Education (Education); Energy Information 
Administration (EIA), Department of Energy (DOE); National Center for 
Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Bureau of Justice 
Statistics (BJS), Department of Justice (DOJ); Bureau of Labor 
Statistics (BLS), Department of Labor (DOL); Division of Science 
Resources Statistics (SRS), National Science Foundation (NSF); Office 
of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics (ORES), Social Security 
Administration (SSA); Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), 
Department of Transportation (DOT); Statistics of Income Division 
(SOI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of the Treasury 
(Treasury).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Principal Federal statistical organizations are jointly 
announcing the opportunity to comment on their respective proposed 
guidelines for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, 
utility, and integrity of disseminated information. The statistical 
organizations' quality guidelines are each being developed to be 
responsive to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued government-
wide guidelines at 67 FR 8452-8460 (February 22, 2002) and are intended 
to be included as part of the response from the Department or agency in 
which the statistical organization is located. Departments and agencies 
are required to issue their own implementing guidelines, including 
correction procedures, and to make the guidelines available on their 
individual Web Sites. Some basic features of how the Nation's principal 
statistical organizations will be responsive to the OMB guidelines are 
presented in the Supplementary Information section of this notice. This 
notice also serves to announce the availability of each organization's 
draft guidelines and related information (see Section II of 
Supplementary Information).
    A statistical agency or unit, as defined in the Federal Register 
June 27, 1997(62 FR 35043-35050), is an agency or organizational unit 
of the Executive Branch whose activities are predominantly the 
collection, compilation, processing or analysis of information for 
statistical purposes. The above list of statistical organizations 
consists of the principal statistical agencies and other statistical 
organizational units belonging to the Interagency Council on 
Statistical Policy. Statistical organizations have long been leaders in 
the activities that are being required under the OMB guidelines. It 
should be noted that each organization will prepare its final 
guidelines in conjunction with its respective Department or agency.
    The Office of Management and Budget recognizes that Federal 
statistical organizations provide a substantial variety of data. 
Accordingly, it is understood that the OMB guidelines cannot be 
implemented in the same way by each organization. In some cases, for 
example, the data disseminated by an organization are not collected by 
that organization at a particular point in time; rather, the 
information the organization must disseminate in a timely manner is 
compiled from a variety of sources (including surveys, administrative 
records, and other sources) that are constantly updated and revised and 
are generally confidential. While organizations' implementation of the 
guidelines may differ, the essence of the guidelines will apply. That 
is, these organizations must make their methods transparent by 
providing documentation, ensure quality by reviewing methods and 
consulting with experts and users, and inform users about corrections 
and revisions.
    Each organization will take comments received into account, and 
will prepare its final guidelines in conjunction with its respective 
Department or agency for submission to OMB by August 1, 2002.

DATES: The dates for submission of comments to the statistical 
organizations vary. Comments on a specific organization's draft 
guidelines must be filed by the date provided at that organization's 
Web Site as listed below in Section II of SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

ADDRESSES: Comments concerning an individual statistical organization's 
guidelines should be sent to that organization's representative as 
noted below in Section II of the Supplementary Information. To ensure 
receipt of the comments by the due date, submission by FAX or e-mail is 
recommended.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the draft guidelines for 
individual organizations are at the organizations' Web Sites listed 
below in Section II of Supplementary Information, along with 
information on a contact person for each organization.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Background
II. Statistical Organization Actions, Web Sites, and Representatives
III. Agency/Department Process to Respond to Comments

I. Background

    Federal statistics play a key role in a broad range of public 
policy, business, and individual decisions. Federal statistical surveys 
and compilations of administrative data are extensive undertakings that 
involve the collection of detailed information, often from large 
numbers of entities.
    The principal functions of Federal statistical organizations 
generally include the compilation, analysis, and the dissemination of 
information, although the actual mix of functions varies by 
organization. Federal statistical organizations seek to maintain

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their independence in the production of their statistics; the 
confidentiality of information provided by respondents; and high 
quality standards. These features foster credibility with data users 
and trust among data providers. The heads of the Nation's principal 
statistical agencies (ERS, NASS, BEA, Census, NCES, EIA, NCHS, BJS, 
BLS, and BTS) plus the heads of the statistical units in the IRS, NSF, 
and SSA, serve on the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) 
which is led by OMB. The ICSP coordinates statistical work across 
organizations, enables the exchange of information about organization 
programs and activities, and provides advice and counsel to OMB on 
statistical activities.
    High quality publicly available statistics from Federal statistical 
organizations are essential for the nation to advance the economic 
well-being and quality of life of its people. OMB guidelines for the 
quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information 
disseminated by Federal agencies are encompassed by the statistical 
organizations' requirements that the statistics produced must be 
accurate, timely, relevant, and accessible to data users. The 
statistics should also be reproducible, meaning that there is the 
capability to use the documented methods on the same data set to 
achieve a consistent result.
    Statistical organizations, as defined above, maintain the quality 
of their data or information products as well as their credibility by 
setting high standards of performance in their activities. Such 
activities generally include:
     Development of concepts and methods;
     Planning and design of surveys and other means of 
collecting data;
     Collection of data;
     Processing and editing of data;
     Analysis of data;
     Production of estimates or projections;
     Establishment of review procedures; and
     Dissemination of data by published reports, electronic 
files and other media requested by users.
    Statistical organizations undertake these activities in 
substantially different proportions, and not all statistical 
organizations engage in each of these activities.
    A statistical organization's commitment to quality and professional 
standards of practice further includes: the use of modern statistical 
theory and practice in all technical work; the development of strong 
staff expertise in the disciplines relevant to its mission; the 
implementation of ongoing quality assurance programs to improve data 
validity and reliability and to improve the processes of compiling, 
editing, and analyzing data; and the development of a strong and 
continuing relationship with appropriate professional organizations in 
the fields of statistics and relevant subject-matter areas.
    To carry out its mission, a Federal statistical organization 
assumes responsibility for determining sources of data, measurement 
methods, methods of data collection and processing while minimizing 
respondent burden; employing appropriate methods of analysis; and 
ensuring the public availability of the data and documentation of the 
methods used to obtain the data. Within the constraints of resource 
availability, a statistical organization continually works to improve 
its data systems to provide information necessary for the formulation 
of public policy.
    In striving for the widest possible dissemination and greatest 
usefulness of its data, a statistical organization establishes a 
publications policy that addresses the types of reports and other data 
releases, including electronic, to be made available; the frequency and 
timeliness of such releases; the variety of avenues for data 
dissemination and formats; and policies for the preservation of data. A 
statistical organization seeks advice on specific data concepts, 
methods, and products from data users and from other professional and 
technical subject-matter and methodological experts. When applicable, a 
statistical organization seeks advice on its statistical program as a 
whole, including the setting of statistical priorities and on the 
statistical methodologies it uses. The organization strives to meet the 
needs for access to data while maintaining appropriate safeguards for 
the confidentiality of individual responses.
    In accordance with the OMB guidelines, each agency will establish 
mechanisms providing the public with the opportunity to seek correction 
of information that does not comply with OMB or agency guidelines. 
Those mechanisms are addressed in more detail on the Web Sites listed 
below in Section II of Supplementary Information.

II. Statistical Organization Actions, Web Sites, and Representatives

    According to OMB's guidelines, an agency designated in OMB Circular 
A-130 must publish a notice of availability of its draft quality 
guidelines in the Federal Register and post the draft guidelines on the 
its Web Site to provide an opportunity for public comment. The 
statistical organizations participating in this Federal Register notice 
are listed below. As noted above, many statistical organizations will 
also be formally covered by the quality guidelines of their parent 
Department or agency, and those draft guidelines are also available for 
review.
    The statistical organizations listed below are requesting comments 
on the quality guidelines that each has developed for its disseminated 
information.
    The Web Site addresses present each organization's draft guidelines 
on which the organization is requesting public comments. Also included 
is the organization's contact person for more information and who 
should receive any comments. To ensure receipt of the comments by the 
due date indicated on an agency's Web Site, submission by FAX or e-mail 
is recommended.
     BEA--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.bea.gov/. For additional information or to comment on the agency's 
guidelines, contact Stephen Andrews. Mr. Andrews may be contacted by 
telephone at (202) 606-9653, FAX at (202) 606-5313, or e-mail at 
ocs@bea.gov. His mailing address is Bureau of Economic Analysis, BE-40, 
1441 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20230.
     BLS--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.bls.gov/BLS/Quality.htm. For additional information or to comment 
on the agency's guidelines, contact Deborah Klein. Ms. Klein may be 
contacted by telephone at (202) 691-5900, FAX at (202) 691-5899, or e-
mail at DataQa@bls.gov. Her mailing address is Bureau of Labor 
Statistics, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20212.
     BJS--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/whtsnw2.htm. For additional information or to 
comment on the agency's guidelines, contact Pete Brien. Mr. Brien may 
be contacted by telephone at (202) 305-0643, FAX at (202) 307-5846, or 
e-mail at askbjs@ojp.usdoj.gov. His mailing address is Bureau of 
Justice Statistics, 810 7th St, NW, Washington, DC 20531.
     BTS--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.bts.gov/statpol/. For additional information on the agency's 
guidelines, contact Eugene Burns. Dr. Burns may be contacted by 
telephone at (202) 366-3491, FAX at (202) 366-3640, or e-mail at 
eugene.burns@bts.gov. His mailing address is Office of Statistical 
Quality (K-24), Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 400 Seventh 
Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590. To comment on

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the agency's guidelines, send your comments to the U. S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Management System (DMS). You may submit your 
comments by fax, Internet, in person, or via the U.S. mail to the 
Docket Clerk, Docket No. OST-2002-11996, Department of Transportation, 
400 Seventh Street, SW., Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-0001. 
Comments should identify the DOT docket number. Please note that due to 
delays in the delivery of U.S. mail to Federal offices in Washington, 
DC, persons should consider an alternative method (the Internet, fax, 
or professional delivery service) to submit comments. You may fax your 
comments to the DMS at (202) 493-2251. If you wish to file comments 
using the Internet, you may use the DOT DMS Web Site at http://dms.dot.gov/. Please follow the online instructions for submitting an 
electronic comment.
     Census--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.census.gov/. For additional information or to comment on the 
agency's guidelines, contact Cynthia Clark. Dr. Clark may be contacted 
by telephone at (301) 457-2160, FAX at (301) 457-1902, or e-mail at 
quality@census.gov. Her mailing address is Associate Director for 
Methodology and Standards, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233-
9000.
     EIA--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.eia.doe.gov/neic/aboutEIA/aboutus.htm. For additional information 
or to comment on the agency's guidelines, contact Jay Casselberry. Mr. 
Casselberry may be contacted by telephone at (202) 287-1717, FAX at 
(202) 287-1705, or e-mail at Jay.Casselberry@eia.doe.gov. His mailing 
address is Statistics and Methods Group (EI-70), Energy Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., SW, 
Washington, DC 20585-0670.
     ERS--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.ers.usda.gov/. For additional information or to comment on the 
agency's guidelines, contact Phil Fulton. Dr. Fulton may be contacted 
by telephone at (202) 694-5000, FAX at (202) 694-5757, or e-mail at 
pfulton@ers.usda.gov. His mailing address is Economic Research Service, 
1800 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-5831.
     IRS/Statistics of Income Division--The quality guidelines 
for IRS Statistics of Income Division will be included in the final 
agency-wide guidelines. The IRS draft guidelines are available at 
www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/data--quality--draft--guidelines.pdf. For 
additional information or to comment on IRS's guidelines, contact Wayne 
Wiegand by telephone at (202) 927-4412, FAX at (202) 874-0922, e-mail 
at Wayne.E.Wiegand@irs.gov, or mail at Internal Revenue Service, 1111 
Constitution Avenue NW, Room 3524, Washington DC 20224, ATTN: Wayne 
Wiegand.
     NASS--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.usda.gov/nass/. For additional information or to comment on the 
agency's guidelines, contact Rich Allen. Mr. Allen may be contacted by 
telephone at (202) 720-4333, FAX at (202) 720-9013, or e-mail at 
rallen@nass.usda.gov. His mailing address is USDA-NASS, Room 4117 South 
Bldg., 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington, DC 20250-2001.
     NCES--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.nces.ed.gov/statprog. For additional information or to comment on 
the agency's guidelines, contact Marilyn McMillen Seastrom. Dr. 
Seastrom may be contacted by telephone at (202) 502-7303, FAX at (202) 
502-1717, or email at marilyn.mcmillen@ed.gov. Her mailing address is 
NCES, Room 9051, 1990 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.
     NCHS--The proposed quality guidelines are available at 
www.cdc.gov/nchs/. For additional information or to comment on the 
agency's guidelines, contact Jennifer Madans. Dr. Madans may be 
contacted by telephone at 301-458-4500, FAX at (301) 458-4020, or e-
mail at JMadans@cdc.gov. Her mailing address is National Center for 
Health Statistics, 6525 Belcrest Road, Room 1140, Hyattsville, MD 
20782.
     NSF/Division of Science Resources Statistics--The proposed 
quality guidelines are available at www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/infoqual.htm. 
For additional information or to comment on the division's guidelines, 
contact Jeri Mulrow. Ms. Mulrow may be contacted by telephone at (703) 
292-4784, FAX at (703) 292-9092, or e-mail at JMulrow@nsf.gov. Her 
mailing address is Division of Science Resources Statistics, National 
Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 965, Arlington, VA 22230.
     SSA/Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics--The 
proposed quality guidelines are available at http://www.ssa.gov/515/. 
For additional information or to comment on SSA's guidelines, contact 
Brian Greenberg. Note that quality guidelines for SSA's statistical 
information products are included in agency-wide guidelines. Dr. 
Greenberg may be contacted by telephone at (410) 965-0131, FAX at (410) 
965-3308, or e-mail at brian.v.greenberg@ssa.gov. His mailing address 
is Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation, and 
Statistics, Room 4C15, Operations Building, 6401 Security Blvd., 
Baltimore, MD 21235.

III. Agency/Department Process To Respond to Comments

    Comments submitted to each individual organization in response to 
their notices will be summarized by them and/or may be included in 
their request for OMB approval of the organization's final quality 
guidelines. In any event, the submitted comments become a matter of 
public record.

    Authorities: Sec. 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658) 
and the Office of Management and Budget Final Guidelines issued on 
February 22, 2002 (67 FR 8452-8460).

    Issued in Washington, D.C. May 29, 2002.
Susan E. Offutt,
Administrator, Economic Research Service, Department of Agriculture.

R. Ronald Bosecker,
Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Department of 
Agriculture.

C. Louis Kincannon,
Director, U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce.

J. Steven Landefeld,
Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce.

Gary Phillips,
Deputy Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics, 
Department of Education.

Mary J. Hutzler,
Acting Administrator, Energy Information Administration, Department of 
Energy.

Edward J. Sondik,
Director, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease 
Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Lawrence A. Greenfeld,
Acting Director, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Department of Justice.

Lois Orr,
Acting Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.


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Lynda T. Carlson,
Director, Division of Science Resources Statistics National Science 
Foundation.

Susan Grad,
Acting Associate Commissioner, Office of Research, Evaluation, and 
Statistics, Social Security Administration.

Ashish Sen,
Director, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Department of 
Transportation.

    Issued in Washington, DC May 7, 2002.
Thomas Petska,
Director, Statistics of Income Division, Internal Revenue Service, 
Department of Treasury.
[FR Doc. 02-13892 Filed 6-3-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P