ON PREPARATION OF 'STANDARDS' IN ELECTROSTATICS
John Chubb Instrumentation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
27 July, 2003
the years I have had some involvement with the drafting of Standards
documents on electrostatic measurements. I have found this quite
a frustrating and, mostly, an apparently fruitless activity. There
are several points about the preparation of Standards that I feel
need to be brought into public discussion, and I offer the following
comments for starters:
1. The objectives for Standards are set and
documents prepared solely by people on national committees. The
first most people outside know about a standard is when it is published.
2. Discussions do not involve anyone outside the committee - no
expert witnesses are called.
3. Comments are made to encourage people to 'get involved' - however,
to be other than an observer one has to 'represent' some organisation.
4. Standards documents are not 'peer reviewed' by anyone outside
the committee system.
5. If one has results of studies one feels likely to be relevant
to standards discussions, no notice is taken of these internationally
unless these are made via one's national committee. (Where I have
been involved with particular documents my attempts to encourage
discussion and progress by sending documents to people involved
has yielded no response - a blank!).
6. Standards continue in existence well after they have been shown
to be inappropriate and/or inadequate (e.g. FTS 101C Method 4046).
There are numerous methods for measuring 'resistivity', surely not
all really relevant? Keeping old Standards alive seems to serve
the main aim of enabling people to say their products comply to
Standard… This sounds good, but may not reflect best present appreciation
of requirements, adds confusion and probably only serves the interests
of the supplier - not the user!
7. Standards usually only include reference to other Standards.
Why should not relevant technical papers be referenced?
8. There is no route of appeal. However strong a technical objection
may be there is no route for anyone outside the committee system
to lodge an appeal or register an objection.
9. There is no funding to promote the investigation and testing
of Standards. It is all done on a voluntary basis. This means that
work is done by people with a vested interest (and relevant equipment/instrumentation)
so results are then viewed with scepticism because 'they would say
that wouldn't they'!
a- The objectives of work towards a new standard
should be published before the start of discussions and document
drafting. Publication should be on the standards organisation Website
as well as in relevant professional journals and to relevant professional
organisations. Comments and suggestions should be invited and these
should form part of the drafting brief.
b- When a draft document has been prepared this should be published
for comment in the same way as the 'objectives'.
c- When the Standard document has been finalised this should be
made available for at least professional peer review within a strict
time limit - say 6 months.
d- A Standard should note or refer to how it was validated. This
will be helped by a clear statement of philosophy in the introductory
e- There needs to be Government funding support for the development
and testing of Standards.
opening up the process of Standards preparation there will be greater
interest and involvement in the development of Standards and greater
understanding and acceptance of their purpose.
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