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Organization of scientific area committees for forensic science news.

The influence of bias on stated opinions and conclusions, the consideration of the emotional toll that examiners face across disciplines, as well as the importance of standardized reporting processes for forensic science practitioners, were major themes and topics discussed at the public reporting sessions of the OSAC February 22-23, 2016, at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting. OSAC chairs and/or their designees provided status reports on standards and guidelines projects, as well as on other OSAC activities.

The OSAC, which is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), fosters the development and promotion of technically sound, consensus-based documentary standards and guidelines that can be used to strengthen the practice of forensic science. The OSAC consists of a Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB), three resource committees, five scientific area committees, and 24 subcommittees, and has a total of 542 members from various disciplines and organizations to include federal, state, and local government, the private sector, and academia. The OSAC meets in person once every nine months, in addition to public reporting at AAFS, and also conducts hundreds of virtual meetings annually.

The OSAC has recently refined their focus to concentrate on 144 specific projects (standards/guidelines) moving within the OSAC processes. Standards/guidelines projects were narrowed down from the original 360+ projects originally identified by the OSAC in February 2015, in order to strategically focus on each unit's priorities. Details on individual draft standards and guidelines were provided. All 29 presentations and questions from the audience will be webcast live, and archived for future on-demand viewing. Materials are located here: http://www. nist.gov/forensics/osac/nist-scientific-area-committeemeetings-february-2016.cfm.

OSAC also documents practitioner feedback that arises during standards gaps analysis, particularly regarding research and development needs. The OSAC recently publicly shared those research gaps with the broader community to help inform the forensic science community on where additional scientific inquiry is warranted. This research gap list will eventually encompass inputs from the all of the 24 subcommittees and 5 SACs, and can be found at http://www.nist.gov/forensics/osac/osacresearch-needs-assessments.cfm.

Continued feedback and willingness to collaborate will be critical to achieving OSAC's mission. Please contact forensics@nist.gov with program questions or to provide feedback.

Sharon Nakich

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Gaithersburg, Maryland

United States of America

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Title Annotation:COMMENTARY/UPDATE
Author:Nakich, Sharon
Publication:Forensic Science Review
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2016
Words:386
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