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What We Do

Pyramid showing the various activity levels of documents moving through the development and Registry process

OSAC works to strengthen forensic practice through standards. To do this, we:

  • Facilitate the development of science-based standards through the formal SDO process.
  • Evaluate SDO published and OSAC Proposed Standards for placement on the OSAC Registry.
  • Endorse and promote the implementation of SDO published and OSAC Proposed Standards on the Registry.

The term "standard" applies collectively to a document which has been prepared by a standards developing organization (SDO). A standard can be best practice recommendations, classifications, codes, guides, methods/test methods, practices, specifications, or vocabulary/terminology. The elements required in a standard will differ by the type of standard and by the SDO.

In support of our mission, the Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) has identified nine areas that are priorities for forensic science standards development:

  • Competency and monitoring
  • Evidence collection and handling
  • Examination and analysis methods
  • Method development
  • Method validation
  • Opinion standards
  • Reporting results and testimony 
  • Quality assurance
  • Terminology

In addition to drafting standards, OSAC may develop and share other work products that support standards advancement and implementation. For example, historical documents and reference materials, as well as information on completed and ongoing OSAC activities can provide valuable input for needed standards and help stakeholders better understand the nature, scope, scientific basis, current practice, and limitations of a forensic science discipline.

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Created November 29, 2023, Updated February 7, 2024