Vacuous standards – Subversion of the OSAC standards-development process

Geoffrey Stewart Morrison*, Cedric Neumann, Patrick Henry Geoghegan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


In the context of development of standards for forensic science, particularly standards initially developed by the U.S. Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC), this perspective paper raises concern about the publication of vacuous standards. Vacuous standards generally state few requirements; the requirements they do state are often vague; compliance with their stated requirements can be achieved with little effort – the bar is set very low; and compliance with their stated requirements would not be sufficient to lead to scientifically valid results. This perspective paper proposes a number of requirements that we believe would be essential in order for a standard on validation of forensic-science methods to be fit for purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-209
Number of pages4
JournalForensic Science International: Synergy
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

©2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Forensic science
  • Method validation
  • OSAC
  • Standard
  • Validation


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