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June 2022

This Standards Bulletin from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science provides a monthly update on:

  • Standards moving through the OSAC Registry approval processes for published and OSAC Proposed Standards.
  • Standards moving through the development process at standards developing organizations (SDOs).

Bulletin Summary:

  • New standards added to the OSAC Registry: 2
  • Standards under consideration for the Registry and open for comment: 3
  • New SDO published standards: 2
  • Standards open for comment at SDOs: 9
Download PDF (272.66 KB)

OSAC REGISTRY UPDATES

OSAC Registry Ribbon

The OSAC Registry is a repository of high-quality, technically sound published and proposed standards for forensic science. These written documents define minimum requirements, best practices, standard protocols, and other guidance to help ensure that the results of forensic analyses are reliable and reproducible.

All the standards on the OSAC Registry have passed a rigorous technical and quality review by OSAC members, including forensic science practitioners, research scientists, statisticians, and legal experts. 

Two New Standards Added to the OSAC Registry

SDO Published Standard (added June 7, 2022):

OSAC Proposed Standard (added June 7, 2022):

Standards Open for Comment for OSAC Registry Approval

SDO Published Standards

The OSAC Registry approval process for published standards is used to review existing SDO published standards for technical quality and placement on the Registry. Please submit your comments by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 5, 2022 on whether the following SDO published standards should be included on the Registry:

  • ASTM E2809-22, Standard Guide for Using Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) in Forensic Polymer Examinations. Submit your comments here
  • ASTM E3309-21, Standard Guide for Reporting of Forensic Primer Gunshot Residue (pGSR) Analysis by Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). Submit your comments here
NOTE: IN JANUARY 2022, OSAC’S FORENSIC SCIENCE STANDARDS BOARD (FSSB) APPROVED THAT THE REQUIREMENT FOR AN OSAC-MANAGED COMMENT PERIOD FOR REGISTRY APPROVAL OF SDO PUBLISHED STANDARDS CAN BE MET DURING THE SDO’S PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD. THE PUBLIC WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON A STANDARD DURING ITS DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE SDO’S PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD. THIS CHANGE ALLOWS COMMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED DURING THE SDO DEVELOPMENT PROCESS, PRIOR TO PUBLICATION, ENABLING UPGRADES TO BE DIRECTLY INCORPORATED INTO THE STANDARD RATHER THAN RECEIVING THE COMMENTS AFTER THE STANDARD IS PUBLISHED. IN CASES WHERE OSAC CAN DOCUMENT THE SDO’S PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY, OSAC WILL NOT EXECUTE A SECOND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD DURING ITS REGISTRY APPROVAL PROCESS. SEE THE SDO UPDATES BELOW FOR INFORMATION ON THE STANDARDS CURRENTLY OPEN FOR COMMENT AT SDOS.

OSAC Proposed Standards

The OSAC Registry approval process for OSAC Proposed Standards is used to review OSAC drafted standards for technical quality and placement on the Registry. The following draft OSAC Proposed Standard is being considered for submission to an SDO. The final draft provided to the SDO will be available on the OSAC Registry as an “OSAC Proposed Standard.”

OSAC welcomes comments on whether the current draft is suitable for release to the SDO as well as suggestions for improvements in content and wording. To be considered, comments must be placed in the OSAC Comment Form and sent to comments [at] nist.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 5, 2022.

Is your organization implementing standards on the OSAC Registry?

Complete OSAC's Registry Implementation Declaration Form found on the OSAC website and send it to mark.stolorow [at] nist.gov to let us know. Your organization will subsequently be awarded an OSAC Registry Implementer Certificate.

SDO UPDATES

New SDO Published Standards

The following AAFS Standards Board (ASB) standard was published in May 2022:    

The following ASTM standard was published in April 2022:

Work Proposals for New or Revised Standards

An ASTM work item (WK) is a proposed new standard or revision to an existing standard that is under development. On May 20, 2022, a Project Notification System (PINS) was published on page six in the ANSI Standards Action. This will begin ASTM’s work on the following standard:

  • BSR/ASTM WK81724-202x, New Classification for Ignitable Liquids. This new standard covers the classification of ignitable liquids encountered in forensic fire debris analysis and includes classification of petroleum- and non-petroleum-based ignitable liquids. The current classification is found as a table in E1618. Its use has expanded to other E30 standards and needs revision to harmonize with these other standards.

Standards Open for Comment at SDOs

Stakeholders from the forensic science community are encouraged to provide input on standards as they are being developed at SDOs. For SDO published standards going through the OSAC Registry approval process, the public will have an opportunity to comment on a standard during the SDO’s public comment period but will not be given a second opportunity to comment through OSAC on whether the resulting standard should be placed on the Registry. 

Visit OSAC’s Standards Open for Comment webpage to see the full list of forensic science standards open for comment at SDOs and how to submit your feedback. This page consolidates and tracks comment deadlines for you and will be updated on a weekly basis. It currently includes:

  • Nine standards open for comment at ASB or ASTM in bloodstain pattern analysis (1), crime scene investigation (2), forensic anthropology (1) forensic document examination (1), friction ridge (1), gunshot residue analysis (1), and trace evidence (2).

OTHER FORENSIC SCIENCE NEWS, EVENTS & TRAINING

Now Available: AAFS Standards Fact Sheets!

As part of a cooperative agreement with NIST, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is developing training, tools, and resources to enhance implementation efforts and broaden awareness of forensic science standards among communities of interest. 

One of these resources, AAFS Standards Fact Sheets, provide a clear, concise, and easy way to understand the purpose of a specific standard, why it is needed, and the benefits of adoption. There are currently 12 AAFS Fact Sheets available for standards listed on the OSAC Registry in the following forensic science disciplines: DNA, fire investigation, firearms & toolmarks, ignitable liquids and explosives, seized drugs, toxicology, and trace evidence. The fact sheets, standards-related webinars, and future resources are available on the AAFS Standards Resources and Training site.  

ANSI Legal Issues Forum: Forensic Science Standards and Conformity Assessment

As part of spring World Standards Week, held May 17-19, ANSI hosted a Legal Issues Forum which addressed the interplay between forensic science standards, conformity assessment, and the law. A panel of forensic science experts discussed how performance can be assessed against forensic standards from the laboratory perspective. A second panel, consisting of legal experts, addressed the role of forensic science standards in the administration of justice, the standards currently used in the courtroom, and the impact that standards (and the evidence to which they apply) can have on the outcome of cases. Read the ANSI news article and download the slide presentation from this event on the ANSI World Standards Week webpage.

ASCLD Forensic Research Committee Collaboration Hub

The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) Forensic Research Committee (FRC) has launched a collaboration directory for forensic science researchers and practitioners. The directory connects researchers with ongoing projects to practitioners who want to participate in research studies. Each project listed in the directory includes a summary, the support requested from participants, estimated time involved and deliverables. More information about the available projects can be found in the FRC Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration Directory.

Upcoming Webinars

Standards: The Not-So-Missing Link. AAFS has created a new video to help address the need for training related to forensic science standards. This video is the basis for a webinar that will be held June 16 and July 21, 2022. Registration for the June webinar is open and available here.