HHS Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public. VII. Influential Scientific, Financial and Statistical Information


If an agency is responsible for disseminating "influential" information, guidelines for dissemination should include a high degree of transparency about data and methods to facilitate its reproducibility by qualified third parties. Information is considered influential if it will have a substantial impact on important public policies or important private sector decisions. Since much of IHS's actuarial, statistical and analytical information products potentially have an impact on important public policies, IHS's information that is subject to section 515 should be highly transparent and capable of being reproduced by qualified persons.

IHS's guidelines call for identification and documentation of data sets used in producing estimates and projections and clear descriptions of methods used to produce estimates and to develop model projections to make its results as transparent as possible. Many estimates and projections included in IHS information products are not directly reproducible by the public because the underlying data sets used to produce them are confidential. However, some statistical publications that are based on publicly available data and whose programs are made available on request are fully reproducible by the public. And IHS is in the process of developing public-use versions of several data files, which will increase the reproducibility of estimates and projections to the extent possible while still protecting confidentiality. Some estimates and projections may not be easily reproduced by third parties due to the complexity and detail of the methods and data. In these cases greater emphasis is placed on periodic review by outside panels of technical experts.

IHS also achieves transparency through wide dissemination of its information. Most reports and other data products are available both as printed and electronic documents. They are announced on the IHS web site and most electronic versions can be accessed and downloaded directly from the IHS web site. All documents posted on our Web site since year 2000 are section 508 compliant making information available to an audience that includes persons who have a visual impairment and read online using assistive technology.