Women in Standards – News Update

Image of Karin Athanas
Karin Athanas
Executive Director
Women in Standards

Meeting of the OSAC FSSB – On 5-6 February 2020, the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC) Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) met. For two days, the FSSB reviewed updates to the organizational structure and processes. They also reviewed the plan for upcoming meetings of the OSAC committees and discussed the future of the organization.

As Chair of the OSAC Quality Infrastructure Committee (QIC) and member of the FSSB, I was on hand to lend my feedback and insights to the committee. The OSAC is currently transitioning from the “OSAC 1.0” model, or the original framework and structure developed by OSAC members over the past six years, to a new structure proposed and approved by the FSSB in 2019 referred to as “OSAC 2.0.” The structure was the culmination of two years of planning by the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST), the administrator of the OSAC, and included public comment through a federal register posting and input from major stakeholders including forensic organizations in the United States.

OSAC funding

On the agenda, OSAC budget concerns. FSSB members learned that funding for the organization was authorized through the recent NIST budget appropriation approved by congress, ensuring the organization can continue its mission of strengthening forensic practice through development of improved standards and promoting the use of OSAC Registry approved standards throughout the forensic science community.

Resource and Organizational Changes

Regarding organizational shake-ups, the transition of resource committees – quality infrastructure committee (QIC), legal resource committee (LRC), and human factors committee (HFC) – to task groups of the FSSB. In this new role, resource task group members will sit on OSAC Subcommittees as full members, assisting in the development of draft standards and have a full vote of the movement of those documents through the OSAC process and being proposed for addition to the OSAC registry of standards.

Process Updates

In addition to a wide array of technical and administrative issues for discussion, the FSSB also took steps to finalize changes to the OSAC Charter and bylaws to aid the transition of the resource committees to task groups, to streamline the standards registry approval process, and to ensure the communication and sharing of OSAC work products with the broader forensic community.

Expect to see additional updates and highlights from the OSAC in the coming months including announcement of the 2020 OSAC Member award winners (nominations now being accepted!) and updates to the Scientific Area Committees (SACs) structure.

To learn more about the OSAC, Click here.

To learn more about the OSAC FSSB and its members, click here.

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