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Glossary of Terms Used for USAID's Automated Directives System (ADS) - Updated 07/15/2011 Partial Revision

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Term Definition

Involves two distinct elements, presentation and substance. 1.Objectivity includes whether disseminated information is being presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner. This involves whether the information is presented within a proper context. Sometimes, in disseminating certain types of information to the public, other information must also be disseminated in order to ensure an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased presentation. Also, the agency needs to identify the sources of the disseminated information (to the extent possible, consistent with confidentiality protections) and, in a scientific or statistical context, the supporting data and models, so that the public can assess for itself whether there may be some reason to question the objectivity of the sources. Where appropriate, supporting data should have full, accurate, transparent documentation, and error sources affecting data quality should be identified and disclosed to users. 2. In addition, objectivity involves a focus on ensuring accurate, reliable, and unbiased information. In a scientific or statistical context, the original or supporting data must be generated, and the analytical results must be developed, using sound statistical and research methods. 1. If the results have been subject to formal, independent, external peer review, the information can generally be considered of acceptable objectivity. 2. In those situations involving influential scientific or statistical information, the results must be capable of being substantially reproduced, if the original or supporting data are independently analyzed using the same models. Reproducibility does not mean that the original or supporting data have to be capable of being replicated through new experiments, samples, or tests. 3. Making the data and models publicly available will assist in determining whether analytical results are capable of being substantially reproduced. However, these guidelines do not alter the otherwise applicable standards and procedures for determining when and how information is disclosed. Thus, the objectivity standard does not override other compelling interests, such as privacy, trade secret, and other confidentiality protections (USAID Automated Directives System - ADS - Chapter 578).

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