Federal information quality guidelines require agencies to ensure that “influential” information satisfies certain quality standards. Perhaps the most important (and sometimes controversial) of these standards is “objectivity.”
The Office of Management and Budget defines objectivity two ways:
- Substantive objectivity means that information must be “accurate, reliable, and unbiased.” “In a scientific, financial, or statistical context, the original and supporting data shall be generated, and the analytic results shall be developed, using sound statistical and research methods.”
- Presentational objectivity means that information must be “presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner,” including “within a proper context” that may include”other information” necessary “to ensure an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased presentation, including sources and 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.”
For the record, influential information is “information that a federal agency can reasonably determine that dissemination of the information will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or important private sector decisions. defined.” OMB’s definition permits wide latitude in how agencies define “influential” with respect to their own circumstances, but any agency-specific definition cannot contradict this “reasonably determine” test.