The U.S. Geological Survey Energy and Minerals Mission Area Quality Management System: Its Part in the Data Quality, Management and Review Process

Data Quality, Management, and Review
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Wolf1, P. Phillips2, C. DeVera3, J. Mosley3, D. Stevenson1, K. Skipper1, J. Birdwell1
1 - USGS, 1 Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO, 80225, United States
2 - USGS, NYWSC - Troy District Office, Troy, NY, 12180, United States
3 - USGS, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA, 20192, United States

Contact Information:; 303-236-6594


In 2016, the Director (Acting) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) made a commitment to Congress, to implement a USGS-wide Quality Management System (QMS) in USGS laboratories, beginning with the Energy laboratories in the Energy and Minerals Mission Area (EMMA). Since 2016, a fully functional QMS has been established in both Energy and Minerals laboratories in EMMA with the goal of producing laboratory data where the quality of the data is known and documented.

Data quality is defined within the EMMA QMS as the steps taken to document laboratory processes sufficiently to ensure data are fit for their intended use, including documentation associated with laboratory data that describes the traceability, transparency, reliability, impartiality and reproducibility of results. Documentation associated with EMMA data includes internal controls, acceptance criteria, laboratory processes, and qualifiers or comments to ensure transparency so that the end user may determine for themselves if EMMA data is “fit for their intended use.” The goal is to provide the end user with enough information about how the data were produced so the user knows the strengths and limitations of the data. Ultimately the end users, the American people, determine the quality of EMMA data.

Data review and data management are an integral part of the EMMA QMS. Knowing the quality of EMMA data includes understanding the history of laboratory data from sample receipt to final results, taking a “cradle to grave” approach that includes reviewing and managing data throughout the process. Ultimately, some EMMA laboratories backup data to a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) while others complete the data management process by backing up data to an external server. Data review and management are important final steps in the laboratory data production process to catch any potential errors prior to releasing data to the public.