AHRQ Publishing and Communications Guidelines

Appendix 2-B. Web Instructions for Grantees

Table of Contents

Grantee Guidance on Web Development Projects

Ownership and Marketing

Products that grantees develop are not considered AHRQ deliverables. Grantees are encouraged to register copyright for their products, manage their rights, and seek their own distribution channels and dissemination venues.

However, the Agency retains a royalty-free, non-exclusive, and irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use these products and authorize others to do so for Federal Government purposes. As a result, the Agency might choose to feature selected Web-based resources that grantees develop under their projects.

Web-based grantee products that could subsequently be posted on AHRQ-funded Web sites or otherwise promoted by the Agency increase their opportunities for adoption by complying with the following guidance.

Grant Final Report

Submission of a grant final report is a requirement for grant closeout and is needed to describe the results of the research that AHRQ funds. Some final grant reports will be made available to the public through the AHRQ Web site and/or the National Technical Information Service.

The final grant report may not include any copyrighted, private, or proprietary information. The final report must be submitted as a Word document via email. PDF files are not acceptable unless accompanied by the original Word document. AHRQ provides a template for the report that can be found in Appendix 1-C, AHRQ Grant Final Progress Reports. For a list of citations on publications and electronic resources generated by the grant, please review the AHRQ Citation Style Format.

Grant Sponsor Identity

Grantees must include an acknowledgment of grant support and a disclaimer, as appropriate, on any tool or Web site developed under the auspices of the project, preferably on the bottom of the opening page.

Use the following statement as a model:

"This research was supported by grant number _________ from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The contents of this product are solely the responsibility of (name of principal investigator and/or affiliated organization) and do not necessarily represent the official views of or imply endorsement by AHRQ or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services."

Most Federal Government agencies need to track the outputs of their funded research projects, and the best identification for a standing search across resources is the Agency name coupled with the grant number.

The statement of support will suffice for credit and identity. Grantees cannot affix either the AHRQ or Department of Health and Human Services logo or Web banner to their information outputs. These logos and banners are the imprimaturs of the respective Government agencies and can only be used on official Government communication products. Grantee communication products are not construed to be Government communication products.

Web-Based Tools

Titles of Products

Grantees should coordinate product titles with the AHRQ project officer early in the development process. Web-based tools do not need to have the same title as the grant. To be effective in an electronic medium, tool titles must be concise and relevant to the purpose of the project. Web-based tool titles should have no more than five words. Make every word count by eliminating initial articles such as "the" or "a." Titles need to be distinct enough to differentiate among similar-sounding products if more than one product is being generated from a grant. The name of the performing organization should not be part of the title.

Quality Control/Editorial Review

Quality assurance standards should be applied to any information system development project or tool resulting from a grant. The product should be tested to ensure it meets requirements, is error-free, and achieves the original objective of the project. Products should be certified as to the quality assurance process undertaken and documented that independent verification and validation occurred, including usability testing.

  • The AHRQ Grantee should perform an editorial review, including checking for spelling, grammar, formatting, general consistency, and style, prior to submission of the final product to AHRQ. The Agency follows the U.S Government Printing Office Style Manual.

Intellectual Property Rights

Include a copyright notice on your product. Although you do not have to register the copyright to assert copyright as the originator, registration does provide protection from infringement and simplifies the subsequent granting and transfer of rights. For information on copyrighting online works, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office.

Learn more about how to register your product with the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress.

Before a product can be posted on an AHRQ-supported Web site or otherwise promoted, the Agency must have written answers to the following questions:

  • Who retains the copyright?
  • Who has licenses for what purposes and uses?
  • What are the constraints imposed?
  • Who grants permission for further use or adoption?

Go to Appendix 1-A, Copyright: Permission Forms and Licensing Agreement.

Technical Assistance

AHRQ cannot promote a tool without being able to provide the following:

  • Written instructions on the use of that tool and what to do if a user encounters problems in accessing and using it.
  • A contact name, telephone number, and email address for technical assistance.
  • A feedback mechanism for errors, future updates, and revisions.

This information must be provided in writing along with the tool or product to be posted. Provision of technical assistance support from the performing organization should be included in the information lifecycle management decisions for the product, and this includes assessing the lifespan of value for the product once the grant is completed. This will normally entail finding subsequent support or a commitment for maintenance, either through the originating institution, a partnership or consortia, or a new sponsor.

Web Sites

The following list highlights issues to consider when developing Web sites that will be made publicly available. They are based on legal and policy requirements for federally funded information resources.

Domain Names

Ideally, grantee Web sites should be registered as .org, .net, or .edu domains.

As a Federal agency, AHRQ is precluded by law from endorsing or appearing to endorse specific commercial services, commodities, or products; thus AHRQ’s external linking policy excludes .com domains. If the Agency wants to feature a grantee’s Web site in an electronic newsletter or on an AHRQ-supported Web site, the Agency would not be able to establish a link to a .com domain because, in most instances, these sites carry advertisements, and a link from AHRQ would drive traffic to that site, creating an unfair business advantage for the host company.

Editorial Review

Once materials are uploaded to a publicly available site, they are considered published. Before it is uploaded, all Web site content should be reviewed for consistency in style for punctuation, spelling, capitalization, use of numerals, and file format. Acronyms and abbreviations need to be spelled out on first use. Content should also be reviewed for quality assurance during production to ensure accuracy and completeness.


While Section 508 covers the Federal Government only, grantees are subject to Section 504, which states that any entity that receives Federal funds must provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities. Because grantees might have to make their materials accessible if a person needs it under Section 504, they are strongly encouraged to make products accessible using Section 508 standards.


The Web site must prominently display its privacy policy notice on the home page, and the Web site host must ensure that information is appropriately used and protected and that the privacy of personal information is maintained.

The public has an expectation that personal information and communications will remain private unless consent to release the information is specifically granted or when disclosure otherwise is authorized by law. Research organizations and researchers may also be affected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule on the privacy of personal health information. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides information for the research community.

Web Site Mailbox

Every Web site should provide full contact information for the sponsor and have a "Contact Us" link where users may submit comments or questions. Web site email should be handled in a confidential manner as designated in the site’s privacy policy.

Records Management

All content on the site and email generated by the site should be archived electronically and/or in print and handled as records associated with your grant. This also affects Web site log files and statistical reporting on Web site use and other evaluation metrics related to the project.


External links imply endorsement and create a business advantage for the linked sites. Grantees should do a risk assessment of proposed external links to ensure that those links reflect favorably on their institution and project. Post specific review and selection criteria for external links on the Web site in the interests of full disclosure. Clearly delineate all external links and provide a brief description of the content of each linked resource. As a courtesy, notify Web sites of an intention to establish a link because Web links drive traffic to sites and create demands on servers. Once links are established, they need to be reassessed periodically to ensure that they are still valid and continue to meet selection criteria.

Grantees may establish links to AHRQ Web resources as long as those links are not displayed in a way that implies Agency endorsement of a specific commercial product or service, advocacy of a particular political position, or an otherwise inappropriate association for a Federal entity.


Web sites must be monitored and protected against intrusion and corruption or compromise of content. This is especially critical if there are any business processes involved or financial transactions conducted on the Web site with users. Incorporate best practices and industry standards for security of Web resources, establish a risk mitigation plan, and document any attacks or compromises of the Web site and how they are addressed.


A disclaimer may not ultimately protect a site owner from liability issues and lawsuits. However, it is a best practice to include a disclaimer that delineates intended audiences and uses, the scope and limitations of the content provided, efforts to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information, and an inability to warrant or assume responsibility for loss or damage resulting from use of the information contained within or adaptations of the information by others. View AHRQ's Web Site Disclaimers as an example.

Additional Information

To discuss specific issues or to get additional guidance on Web projects, contact:

Randie Siegel
Deputy Director
Office of Communications
Email: randie.siegel@ahrq.hhs.gov
Phone: 301-427-1852

Biff LeVee
AHRQ Web Quality Assurance Lead
Email: biff.levee@ahrq.hhs.gov
Phone: 301-427-1897

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Page last reviewed June 2018
Page originally created April 2009
Internet Citation: Appendix 2-B. Web Instructions for Grantees. Content last reviewed June 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/publications/pubcomguide/pcguide2apb.html