quality" is the new buzz phrase in Washington, D.C. The Information Quality
Act (IQA), passed in late 2000, has greatly influenced the way federal agencies
disseminate information, a broadly defined term that includes just about any
government document worth reading. The Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued
guidance on how federal agencies can ensure that all significant science documents
are peer reviewed. This move has significant implications for industry.
IQA is remarkable for its lack of detail. It mandates that OMB establish government-wide
standards for ensuring and maximizing the "quality, objectivity, utility
and integrity" of information disseminated by federal agencies. OIRA issued
final OMB Guidelines early last year, which, among other things, required issuance
of agency-specific guidelines by October 2002.