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Interdisciplinary Activities

scientists at computer

Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) Interdisciplinary Efforts

OSAC membership includes a wide spectrum of practitioners from most forensic science disciplines, as well as other experts who represent local, state, and federal agencies; academia; and industry. OSAC members include statisticians, measurement scientists, academicians, legal representatives, standards professionals, and human factors experts. This varied composition offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary projects and dialogue to occur.

For example, the OSAC provides:

  • More cross-discipline visibility and understanding of the commonalities and differences in the way forensic science practitioners perform work 
  • Opportunities for forensic science disciplines to leverage each other’s scientific successes
  • Routine access to insights and perspectives from all stakeholders (from both within and outside of the forensic science community)
  • The ability to develop and promote enforceable standards through a unified effort in the forensics field, and to broaden the potential impact of these standards

Interdisciplinary OSAC Projects

A number of specific interdisciplinary OSAC projects are underway. These are led by “virtual subcommittees and task groups" that consist of members from multiple disciplines.

These interdisciplinary projects include: 

  • Training, Continuing Education and Professional Development Virtual Subcommittee
    • focuses on a new potential standard, guideline, or other publication.
  • Conclusions Virtual Subcommittee
    • defines standard terminology and usage for forensic examiners expressing source conclusions for publishing as a potential standard, guideline, or other publication.
  • Statistics Task Group
    • consists of statisticians who sit on the various OSAC committees, who collaborate on specific statistics challenges related to the OSAC.
      Learn more about the Statistics Task Group published in the February 2018 OSAC Newsletter.
  • ACE Virtual Subcommittee
    • ​​​​focuses on developing discipline-specific methodologies for applying the method known as ACE-V. (ACE-V is an acronym for the Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation and Verification methodology used by forensic practitioners primarily when conducting feature comparisons.)
  • 29 Word Terminology Task Group
    • works to refine definitions for the terms that the Legal Resource Committee has identified as being most challenging.

Other interdisciplinary task groups are focused on routing particular standards through the OSAC Registry Approval Process, such as the ANSI/NIST/ITL Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & Other Biometric Information and ISO 17020: Conformity Assessment—Requirements for the Operation of Various Types of Bodies Performing Inspection.

OSAC Registry Approved Standards

OSAC Approved


ANSI/NIST ITL-1: 2011 (Update 2013) Data Format for the Interchange of Fingerprint, Facial & Other Biometric Information (July 13, 2017)


OSAC Approved


ISO/IEC 17020:2012: Conformity Assessment—Requirements for the Operation of Various Types of Bodies Performing Inspection (April 18, 2017)


OSAC Approved


ISO/IEC 17025:2005: General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories (September 27, 2016)

Created March 27, 2017, Updated February 26, 2019