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DRAFT NISTIR 8225: NIST Scientific Foundation Reviews

Published: September 24, 2018

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John Butler, Hari Iyer, Rich Press, Melissa K. Taylor, Peter M. Vallone, Sheila Willis*
*International associate under contract; former director of Forensic Science Ireland


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a scientific research agency that works to advance measurement science, standards, and technology and that has been working to strengthen forensic science methods for almost a century. In recent years, several scientific advisory bodies have expressed the need for scientific foundation reviews of forensic disciplines and identified NIST as an appropriate agency for conducting them. The purpose of a scientific foundation review is to document and consolidate information supporting the methods used in forensic analysis and identify knowledge gaps where they exist. In fiscal year 2018, Congress appropriated funds for NIST to conduct scientific foundation reviews. NIST has begun reviews of DNA mixture interpretation and bitemark analysis. In addition to providing insights into these specific disciplines, the initial reviews serve as pilot studies which will guide future efforts of this type. This document outlines NIST’s approach to conducting scientific foundation reviews, including data sources, evaluation criteria, and expected outputs. 

How To Submit Public Comments

All comments are welcome, including those addressing the following questions:

  • Are the data sources identified in this document appropriate? Should additional sources be used?
  • Are the criteria identified in this document for evaluating the data appropriate?
  • This document describes the elements of the report that comes out of a scientific foundation review. Should additional elements be included?

Mail or email your comments to:

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Attn: Special Programs Office – Scientific Foundation Review
100 Bureau Drive, MS 4701
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4701

Email: scientificfoundationreviews [at] (scientificfoundationreviews[at]nist[dot]gov)

All comments, including commenter name and affiliation, will be made available on this on this page after review.

Public comment period: September 24, 2018 through November 19, 2018

Public Comments

Available here.


forensic science, scientific foundation review, technical merit evaluation

Created September 20, 2018, Updated April 5, 2022