An initiative to strengthen and bring uniformity to forensic science standards took another step forward today as the National Institute of Standards and Technology appointed 35 new members to the Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC).
The new members, selected for their expertise in law, psychology and quality assurance, will serve on three advisory committees. These OSAC Resource Committees will play a critical support role by advising the Forensic Science Standards Board, the scientific area committees and subcommittees focused on specific forensic science disciplines within OSAC as they adopt, develop and review standards.
"As our science-focused committees and subcommittees work to support the development of forensic science standards and guidelines, we expect that there will be many questions related to law, work flow processes and quality control. These resource committees will help address those," said John Paul Jones II, associate director for OSAC affairs.
The Human Factors Committee will provide guidance on how systems design influences human performance, on how to minimize cognitive and confirmation bias, and on how to mitigate errors in complex tasks.
The Legal Resource Committee will review and provide a legal perspective on proposed standards.
The Quality Infrastructure Committee will assemble and update a Forensic Science Code of Practice, provide guidance on quality issues, and provide impact statements that inform agency management about how specific standards may affect laboratory operations. It will also work with outside standards development organizations and accrediting bodies as needed.
The resource committee members were chosen from among 1,300 OSAC applicants. They include public defenders, law school professors, prosecutors, judges, standards development experts, laboratory managers and human factors experts.
A NIST-DOJ membership selection team is reviewing applications for the remaining OSAC positions and will announce the appointments as they are completed.