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Frequently Asked Questions about the Organization for Scientific Area Committees

The NIST Forensic Science Program is establishing a new Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) to coordinate development of standards and guidelines to improve quality and consistency of forensic science practices. See the OSAC web page for more details.

1. Why is digital evidence excluded from the commission's charter? Does that mean it will not be one of the discipline-specific guidance groups that NIST administers?

Digital evidence is information stored or transmitted in digital form, including emails, the contents of computer memory, Internet browser histories, and many other items. Because of the complexity, diversity, and rapidly evolving technological advances of digital technologies, digital evidence will not be included in the partnership between the Department of Justice and NIST at this time. However, the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence will continue its work.

2. Will SWGDAM (the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods) be transitioned to OSAC?

Due to the unique statutory relationship between the SWGDAM and the FBI, SWGDAM will remain with the FBI at this time. The FBI has no initial objection to the transition of SWGDAM or appropriate portions of SWGDAM to OSAC and is open to considering this at some future time.

3. How do I become a member of the OSAC?

NIST is planning to launch an online application process for OSAC committee and subcommittee membership this spring. To receive announcements about OSAC developments, please enter your email address in the brown box in the far left column of this page, under "Sign up to receive news about NIST Forensic Science" and click "submit."