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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service



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Quick Reference Guide


Chapter 10

Articles, manuscripts, and publications documenting ARS research efforts and their publication in the Department and Agency series should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the following procedures.


See Chapter 2 for a comprehensive list of commonly used acronyms.


  • ARIS Manual (Chapter 5)
  • P&P 113.1-ARS – Publishing (Print and Electronic)
  • P&P 150-1-ARS – Dissemination of Public Information by ARS
  • P&P 152.1-ARS – Procedures for Publishing Manuscripts and Abstracts with Non-USDA Publishers (Outside Publishing)
  • P&P 152.2-ARS – Authorship of Research and Technical Reports and Publications
  • NPA PM-08-001 – ARS-115 and Posting Copies of Approved Manuscripts/Publications to Websites
  • NPA PM-05-001 - Foreign Correspondence and Reprint Requests from Restricted Countries

Cross References:

Web Sites:



Points of Contact:

Reagan Heese
Program Analyst
2150 Centre Avenue, Building D, Suite 310
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119
Telephone:  (970) 492- 7006
Fax:  (970) 492-7065

Jill Stetka
Program Analyst
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705-5135
Telephone: (301) 504-4581
Fax: (301) 504-4580

NPA ARS-115 Guidelines

ARS-115 record retention:

  • The ARS Files Management Guide requires retention for five (5) years. However, the NPA Area Office advises retaining the ARS-115 Official file for fifteen (15) years for the following reasons:
    • Length of the research projects (not usually limited to five years, on-going for many years).
    • Questions that might arise about research results/validity.
    • Prominent Issues research subjects.
    • Questions regarding Intellectual Property Rights.
  • ARS-115’s will be retained in the ARIS system for indefinitely starting in FY-2006 and can be retrieved through the 115 History report module.
  • Responsibility for retaining ARS-115 Official Files belongs to the Unit Secretary/ARIS Operator (it’s the same process/procedure as retaining the official records for Travel; Time & Attendance; etc.).
  • NPA Centers (Clay Center, Fargo, Fort Collins-National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP), Grand Forks, and Manhattan) will determine how they want to handle retention files for the Official ARS-115 records.

What should be in the Official ARS-115 file?

  • The ARS-115 ARIS printout, with all applicable line management approval signatures (print a new/Official ARIS document after entering the publication date and citation information; or any time a revision/modification is made to the 115).
  • For 115's coded as Prominent Issues: retain, or add, the original signature page of line management approvals to the 115 file.
  • All Non-ARS Author clearances and/or CRADA Cooperator clearances (hard copies, whether received by E-mail or via a memo/letter).
  • All ARS-533 Manuscript Peer Review forms.
  • Copy of the manuscript (until the publication reprints are received).
  • Copy of the final publication from the Journal or Equivalent.

Compliance monitoring:

  • ARS-115 records will be identified from the Active 115 section of ARIS.
  • Each year at ARMPS review, a member of the ARMPS review team will request randomly selected ARS-115 files from the Unit/Center Secretary to monitor for compliance.
  • ARS-115's will be monitored for the following items:
    • ARS-533 peer review forms.
    • Non-ARS author clearances.
    • CRADA Cooperator notification and clearances.
    • Copy of the manuscript submitted to the journal and/or the final publication, in order to match authorship listings to the official ARS-115 ARIS printout. (ARS scientists cannot leave Non-ARS authors, such as university scientists, off of the ARS-115 authorship list just because they don’t want to obtain clearances. The 115 will be compared to the final publication to verify the authorship list matches.)

ARS-533 Manuscript Peer Review forms:

  • ARS-533's are required from two or more peers from outside the author(s) research unit.
  • At least one peer must be in a location other than that of the author(s).
  • The authors are strongly encouraged to obtain a review from a scientist who is not employed by ARS.
  • Responses to peer review comments must be addressed by the ARS scientist, either on the ARS-533 form or in a separate memo.
  • Retain the ARS-533 peer review forms, and a copy of the manuscript, until it is published.

CRADA Cooperator notification and clearances:

  • CRADA Cooperator notification (60 day review period before the manuscript is submitted to the journal) is a legal requirement written into the CRADA Agreement language. The CRADA Cooperator review ensures the manuscript does not contain any Cooperator Confidential Information. The ARS scientist must send a cover letter to the Cooperator with the draft manuscript stating that the Cooperator has 60 days to review and comment on the draft manuscript.
  • CRADA Cooperator clearances must be obtained prior to submission of the manuscript to the journal or equivalent and prior to entering the ARS-115 into ARIS.
  • Verbal clearances are not authorized/acceptable.
  • Mail/Fax a copy of the notification letter/clearance authorization from the CRADA Cooperator to the NPA’s OTT Technology Transfer Coordinator (Dr. Bryan Kaphammer/Fax (970)492-7023 or Retain the original in the Official ARS-115 file.


  • Must be the RL, or a Cat. 1, 4, or 6 (does not have to be the RL — this is at the Unit/Center discretion).

Contact Scientist:

  • Must be a Permanent Federal employee of the Unit (Unit/Center designates the contact scientist-who will respond to the request for a copy of the publication, or for more information).
  • Cannot be a post doc (because they are not considered permanent ARS employees).
  • Contact scientist or person: if necessary, this can be modified at a later date if the person listed retires or relocates (you don’t have to revise it, use best judgment). 

Remarks tab/block:

  • Please utilize the Remarks block. Required field by NPS and is used to enter the Meeting name, location, and dates when using the generic Meeting Abstract/Symposium journal or equivalent; to enter the name of the student, university, and other relevant information when entering a PhD Dissertation, etc.
  • Please utilize the Remarks tab/block whenever you add the journal submission and/or acceptance date, publication date, citation, or make other revisions to the 115 record.
    • Example #1: Adding the publication date and citation (ARIS Operator’s name or initials, and the date).
    • Example #2: Revising the author list (ARIS Operator’s name or initials, and the date).
  • Use the Remarks block to list the Non-ARS Author and/or CRADA Cooperator clearances.
    • Example #1: Clearance from Lee Sommers, via e-mail dated 05/15/xx. (ARIS Operator’s name or initials, and the date).
    • Example #2: Copy of ms submitted to CRADA Cooperator & NPA TTC, 06/23/03. Clearance from Sonny Lubick, via letter dated 08/17/03. Copy faxed to NPA TTC on 08/18/03. (ARIS Operator’s name or initials, and the date).

Non-ARS Author (university personnel, private companies or organizations, CRADA partners) Clearances:

  • Non-ARS Author clearances must be obtained prior to submission of the manuscript to the journal or equivalent, and prior to entering the ARS-115 into ARIS.
  • Verbal clearances are not authorized/acceptable.
  • Clearances must be obtained from each Non-ARS Author listed on the publication.
  • If Non-ARS Authors are listed on the final publication, then the ARS-115 authorship listing must match the authorship listing on the final publication.
  • Deleting or leaving Non-ARS Authors off of the authorship list in the ARIS system does not absolve the ARS scientist from obtaining written clearances from all Non-ARS authors listed on the final publication.

Confidential until published: Yes or No question

  • This pertains to the requirements of the Journal or Equivalent and is usually found on the journal/publication web site. Some require the research not be reported/presented elsewhere until the journal’s publication is released.
  • When requesting a new journal code to be added to ARIS, please indicate Yes or No on the Confidential Until Published requirement. New journal codes are added by HQ staff, and will not be added without indicating journal requirements. HQ requires the name of the journal, the publisher (for a book), address, phone number, web address, and confidentiality information (give them as much as you can). 



The ARS-115/TEKTRAN system is designed to ensure that public disclosure of information by ARS scientists is timely (i.e., precedes actual journal publication as an added value to our customers), consistent with ARS mission and policy, and is evaluated for High Profile Topic issues and intellectual property protection (IP). OTT is the final step in the approval process before records are released to TEKTRAN.

PROBLEMS, which occurred prior to the ARS-115 revisions:

A cooperator and stakeholder of ARS noted some shortcomings to the system (prior to the recent revisions to the 115 system). The cooperator contended that one particular TEKTRAN submission failed to present accurate information from a manuscript that was senior authored by him. The subsequent release of information from the ARS-115 to TEKTRAN was not cleared by the cooperator and could have resulted in premature release of private sector confidential information related to intellectual property (IP).

Hold from TEKTRAN until Published: Yes or No question

  • Check the Yes box if the 115 should be held until after the manuscript is published.
  • The 115 will not go to TEKTRAN until the publication date has been entered, and the publication date exceeds the current date.
  • If the 115 has Patent related information, the 115 will be held from TEKTRAN until 18 months after publication. (Other conditions may apply. OTT monitors the 115’s and will determine if/when a 115 can go to TEKTRAN.)

Hold from TEKTRAN Permanently: Yes or No question

  • The scientist can make a request to withhold from TEKTRAN permanently (usually occurs when the manuscript deals with High Profile Topic issues, Patents, or CRADA related research). Guidance can be obtained from the Associate Area Director; the Assistant Area Director (High Profile Topics); or the NPA TTC (CRADA related research or Licenses, Inventions, Patents) when the scientist is unsure how to answer.

Patent Information: Due to patent potential, is retention of intellectual property rights desired? Yes or No question

  • If Yes is checked, the ARS scientist must send a copy of the manuscript to the Patent Advisor.
  • If the 115 author answers YES, but cannot answer the questions on the Patent/Invention Disclosure Form, then he/she should check "NO" on the Patent/Intellectual Property Rights question.
  • If the scientist isn’t sure, please refer them to the NPA TTC (Dr. Bryan Kaphammer, 970-492-7028).

Changes implemented:

The changes to the 115 entries require:

  • The Research Leader and scientists to review submissions carefully for High Profile Topic issues.
  • Certify that cooperators have reviewed the abstract and interpretive summary, and have approved the release of their names and affiliations.
  • The changes were also designed to assist line management in confirming timeliness of publications as part of the annual performance appraisal of scientists.
  • A new field has been added to the 115 in ARIS, "Date Submitted to Journal." This is a required field entry for the NPA, and will be tied to the annual performance appraisal of scientists.
  • The "Date Submitted to Journal" field has also been added to all the Detail by Author reports.
  • A new report has been added to the 115 Authors Report. It is called "Detail by Author-Citation." This report gives everything that is in the original "Detail by Author" report, but also gives the citation, if the citation has been filled in on the 115.

Tip shared by an NPA secretary:

Go to the site ( AGRICOLA Journal Article Citation Index (right side) search for ms or the author, and it will bring everything up and it can be checked.


Is a 115 needed if a paper is being presented at a meeting, but there won’t be a publication of meeting abstracts?

No. An ARS-115 is required whenever an employee is to present a paper, talk, poster, etc., at any scientific meeting, specifically in which a publication such as an abstract and/or proceedings are to be published.

However, the RL/LD/CD does have the discretion to require an ARS-115 for Abstracts if he/she feels the subject matter warrants an ARIS entry.

Are Non-ARS author clearances required if a paper is being presented at a meeting, but there won’t be a publication of meeting abstracts?

No. However, the scientist must be aware that he/she is not to present controversial data; preliminary data that has yet to be peer reviewed; or High Profile Topic data. If the presentation is going to include any of the above, then an ARS-115 must be entered, and all applicable clearance approvals obtained, prior to making the oral presentation. The ARS scientist must also wait for line management authorizations before presenting his/her talk.

Last Modified: 5/1/2015
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