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March 2024

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 development organizations (SDOs).

Bulletin Summary:

  • New standards added to the OSAC Registry: 0
  • Standards under consideration for the Registry and open for comment: 3
  • New SDO Published Standards: 9
  • New Work Proposals: 6
  • Standards open for comment at SDOs: 4
Download PDF (576.6 KB)

OSAC Registry Updates

OSAC Registry Ribbon

The OSAC Registry is a repository of selected published and proposed standards for forensic science. These documents contain minimum requirements, best practices, standard protocols, terminology, or other information to promote valid, reliable, and reproducible forensic results.

The standards on this Registry have undergone a technical and quality review process that actively encourages feedback from forensic science practitioners, research scientists, human factors experts, statisticians, legal experts, and the public. Placement on the Registry requires a consensus (as evidenced by 2/3 vote or more) of both the OSAC subcommittee that proposed the inclusion of the standard and the Forensic Science Standards Board. 

OSAC encourages the forensic science community to implement the published and proposed standards on the Registry to help advance the practice of forensic science.

  • No standards have been added to the OSAC Registry this month.

Standards Open for Comment for OSAC Registry Approval 

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 Standards are 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 these current drafts are 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] (comments[at]nist[dot]gov) by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 1, 2024. 

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 forensics [at] (forensics[at]nist[dot]gov) to let us know. Your organization will subsequently be awarded an OSAC Registry Implementer Certificate.

Interested in learning more about implementation? 

Check out OSAC’s  Implementation Recognition Factsheet

SDO Updates

New Published Standards

ASB recently published the following standards:

ASTM recently published the following standard:

Work Proposals for New or Revised Standards

On February 23, 2024, a Project Initiation Notification System (PINS) was published on pages 3-4 in the ANSI Standards Action. This will begin ASTM’s work on the following standards:

  • BSR/ASTM WK88490-202x, New Practice for Physical Fit Analysis Training Program (new standard). This practice is for use by laboratory personnel responsible for designing a training program for forensic science practitioners (FSPs) who will perform physical fit examinations on various materials. 
    • NOTE: This is OSAC 2023-N-0011, Standard Practice for Physical Fit Analysis Training Program, currently on the OSAC Registry. 
  • BSR/ASTM WK88696-202x, New Guide for Standard Technical Guide for Printing Method Effects on Facial Comparisons (new standard).This standard will be used to ensure facial examiners understand the pitfalls associated with using printed facial images and how printed facial images may impact their evaluation.
    • NOTE: This is OSAC 2021-N-0025, Standard Guide for Printing Method Effects on Facial Comparisons, currently on the OSAC Registry. 
  • BSR/ASTM WK88697-202x, New Guide for Standard Guide for Scanning of Facial Images (new standard). A standard guide for scanning and using scanned images for enrollment into a Facial Recognition System or manual comparisons.
    • NOTE: This is OSAC 2021-N-0035, Standard Guide for Scanning Facial Images for Manual Comparison, currently on the OSAC Registry. 
  • BSR/ASTM WK88832-202x, New Practice for Standard Practice for The Collection of Primer Gunshot Residue (pGSR) Particles from Clothing, Vehicles, and Other Inanimate Objects using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Stubs (new standard). This practice describes procedures for collecting samples using adhesive lifts from clothing, vehicles, and other inanimate objects that could have been exposed to primer gunshot residue (pGSR). This practice does not apply to the collection of pGSR from the hands or other body parts of a person.
    • NOTE: This is OSAC 2023-N-0010, Standard Practice for the Collection of Primer Gunshot Residue (pGSR) Particles from Clothing, Vehicles, and Other Inanimate Objects Using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Stubs, currently on the OSAC Registry. 
  • BSR/ASTM WK89409-202x, New Guide for Facial Comparison: Overview and Methodology Guidelines (new standard). This document provides a general overview of facial comparison applications, categories, and methods for conducting manual facial comparisons in support of the four facial comparison applications mentioned within this document. 
    • NOTE: This is OSAC 2022-S-0007, Standard Guide for Facial Comparison: Overview and Methodology Guidelines, currently on the OSAC Registry. 
  • BSR/ASTM WK89493-202x, New Guide for Forensic Trace Evidence Recovery (new standard). This is a newly developed guide that will be used by examiners in the laboratory to coordinate collection of trace materials in forensic casework. Currently there is no published standard for this purpose.
    • NOTE: This is OSAC 2023-N-0027, Standard Guide for Forensic Trace Evidence Recovery, currently on the OSAC Registry. 

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:

  • Three standards open for comment at ASB in Biology/DNA (1), Firearms & Toolmarks (1), Forensic Toxicology (1) and one standard open for comment at ASTM related to evidence labeling. 

OSAC Program Office News

OSAC FSSB Meeting: Public Feedback Session 

The OSAC Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) will have a public feedback session available during its upcoming quarterly meeting on Thursday, March 21. The purpose for this public session is to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to share feedback with the FSSB related to agenda items or matters within the FSSB’s authority. The FSSB will consider all feedback from the public, and remarks can be made by the submitter or by the OSAC Program Office on behalf of the submitter. 

If you wish to share feedback with the FSSB, please complete this form by Friday, March 15, 2024.

The schedules and agendas for upcoming FSSB meetings can be found on the FSSB Meetings webpage.

Other Forensic Science News, Events & Training

AAFS Standards Resources and Training 

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. 

  • Standards factsheets provide a clear, concise, and easy way to understand the purpose of a specific standard, why it is needed, and the benefits of adoption. Standards factsheets are available for 135+ standards on the OSAC Registry. 
  • Standards checklists are a tool that forensic science service providers can use to track progress towards implementation, identify gaps or barriers to implementation, or document objective evidence of implementation or compliance with a standard. Checklists are available for 130+ standards on the OSAC Registry. 
  • Standards videos and webinars are available for free from AAFS Connect. Learn about the standards development process, standards development activities in various disciplines, and information about specific SDO published standards on the OSAC Registry. 

Upcoming Events 

  • 2024 OSAC Meeting | Indianapolis, IN | April 2 - 4
    • Chemistry: Toxicology & Seized Drugs SAC and SCs
    • Digital/Multimedia SAC and SCs
    • Scene Examination SAC and SCs
    • FSSB Human Factors and Legal Task Groups
  • 2024 OSAC Meeting | Jacksonville, FL | May 14 - 16
    • Biology SAC and SCs
    • Chemistry: Trace Evidence SAC and SCs
    • Medicine SAC and SCs
    • Physics/Pattern Interpretation SAC and SCs