What is Influential and Highly Influential?


Definition of Influential Scientific, Financial, or Statistical Information

OMB's guidelines define "influential" information as information that the agency reasonably can determine will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on:
  • important to public policies, economic or other decisions
  • important private sector economic, or other decisions  
  • affects a broad, rather than a narrow, range of parties (e.g., an entire industry or a significant part of an industry, as opposed to a single company) is more likely to be influential
  • whether the information has an intense impact

Even if a decision or action by an agency is itself very important, a particular piece of information supporting it may or may not be "influential."

Information that affects a broad range of parties, with a low-intensity impact, or information that affects a narrow range of parties, with a high intensity impact, likely is not influential.

DOI agencies and offices may designate certain classes of scientific, statistical, or financial information as "influential" or not in the context of their specific programs. DOI agencies and offices will determine whether scientific, statistical, or financial information is influential on a case-by-case basis, using the principles articulated in these guidelines.


Definition of Highly Influential Scientific, Financial, or Statistical Information

A scientific assessment is considered "highly influential" if the dissemination could be “highly influential” if it meets one of these criteria

  • potential impact of more than $500 million in any one year on either the public or private sector or
  • that the dissemination is novel, controversial, or precedent-setting, or has significant interagency interest.

One of the ways information can exert economic impact is through the costs or benefits of a regulation based on the disseminated information. The qualitative aspect of this definition may be most useful in cases where it is difficult for an agency to predict the potential economic effect of dissemination. In the context of this Bulletin, it may be either the approach used in the assessment or the interpretation of the information itself that is novel or precedent-setting. Peer review can be valuable in establishing the bounds of the scientific debate when methods or interpretations are a source of controversy among interested parties.  


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