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Evolving with the Times in the Field of Standardization Research and Information Service

Spotlight on the Shanghai Institute of Standardization

by Wang Jingsong

The Shanghai Institute for Standardization has been assisting standardization research in China for over 17 years. Wang Jingsong, of the SIS, describes their programs and their partnership with ASTM.

Standardization is inseparable from the development of science, technology, and economy. As the global economy becomes more integrated, the Chinese government, industrial enterprises, and citizens have become increasingly concerned with standardization. Standardization leads to technological innovation, improvement in industrial efficiency, and a rise in the quality of products, services, and standards of living.

The Shanghai Institute of Standardization is an organization that specializes in research on standardization. Financed by the Shanghai city government, SIS provides services to the public in all areas pertaining to standards and standardization.

Introduction to SIS

SIS was founded in 1984. Its previous name was Shanghai Institute of Technical Supervision Information. Our organization was renamed SIS in December 2000 due to an expansion of the range of professional services that we want to offer.

As a government-authorized organization, SIS specializes in standardization research, documentation, information services, quality certification, classification, coding, and research on the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade of the World Trade Organization (WTO/TBT). SIS is also authorized by the relevant government authorities to undertake the local management of commodities’ bar codes and corporate entities’ codes.

SIS is mainly made up of the following departments:

• Standardization Research Center;
• Standards Documentation Service Center (including the Documents Division and the Domestic Standards Distribution Division);
• Editorial Department of the Shanghai Standardization Magazine Information Center;
• Code Administration Center for Shanghai Organizations and Corporate Entities; and
• Article Numbering Center of China, Shanghai Branch.
SIS supervises the activities of other subsidiary bodies such as the Shanghai Audit Center of China Certification Committee for Quality Mark, the Shanghai Audit Center, Shanghai Laboratory Accreditation Communication Center, the “Quality Time” Studio of the Oriental TV Station, and others.

SIS has 136 staff employees. More than 90 percent are professionals in various fields including 18 senior-level technical professionals and more than 30 nationally registered auditors for quality management systems, environmental management systems, and laboratories.

Over the last 17 years, SIS has developed into one of China’s largest comprehensive standardization organizations. SIS has made many important contributions to the economic development efforts in Shanghai and adjacent regions. In July 2001, SIS became the first institution of the same kind in China that obtained the QMS certification of ISO 9001:2000.

Standardization Research and Information Service

As one of China’s largest standards centers, SIS possesses 43 kinds of advanced international and foreign standards including those of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASTM, the British Standards Institute (BS), Germany’s standards institute (DIN), and the Japanese Standards Association (JSA) as well as 61 kinds of domestic standards. SIS acquires more than 40 sets of CD-ROM reference tools containing domestic and foreign standards and technical regulations. Besides these resources, SIS has created the Domestic and Foreign Standards Database that includes over 250,000 standards titles. Today, this database is widely used by a large number of standardization institutes and Chinese corporations across the nation.

Each year, SIS provides information services and assistance to more than 30,000 readers and users. The Institute’s customers come from more than 27 provinces, cities and regions of China including Hong Kong and Taiwan. SIS provides support for quality supervision, adoption of advanced international standards, and technical innovation in Shanghai and adjacent regions. For this reason, SIS receives many favorable reviews from corporations, government, and customers.

SIS launched the Shanghai Standardization Information Web site (www. shsi.net.cn) in October 2000. Customers can search the Domestic and Foreign Standards Database free of charge.

SIS has carried out research studies on WTO/TBT, information technology, standardization and foreign technical regulations, and standards and conformity assessment procedures. Some of these research projects have received local awards. The major research projects that have been completed in recent years include:

• Information Database of Export-Based Industrial Products to the European Union;
• Standards Research Pertaining to E-Commerce;
• Standards System Research for the Shanghai Information Harbor;
• Standardization Implementing Plan for the Shanghai Golden Card Project;
• Standardization Research for the Shanghai Information System; and
• Standardization Research for Shanghai Digital Broadcasting and Television.

These research achievements have helped speed up the economic development of Shanghai and promote its exports.

SIS is carrying out research on other fields such as agricultural standardization, software engineering, enterprise standardization, and smart labels for commodities.

To make full use of each other’s resources, SIS and the Shanghai Association of Standardization (SAS) jointly set up the Shanghai WTO/TBT Consulting Center in 2000. The center provides consulting services pertaining to the WTO/TBT, foreign technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures.

A Look to the Future

Facing the new century, SIS will make efforts to learn from advanced experiences from home and abroad. SIS is planning to transform the traditional standards documentation resources with the help of computer technology, digital technology, and network technology. It will enhance the cooperation with domestic and foreign publishers of standards to create an online bookstore for standardization publications and a digital library for standards documentation within two to three years. At that time, SIS will become a real Internet provider of standards information.

SIS is striving to turn itself into a modern, customer-friendly provider of world-class standards information. //

Copyright 2001, ASTM

Wang Jingsong is the deputy director of the Documents Division of SIS. He supervises the collection, processing, analysis, and utilization of foreign and domestic standards materials. He is also in charge of international communications and cooperation between SIS and foreign organizations in the field of standardization information service.

The Cooperation Between SIS and ASTM

To keep up with the changing times and to stay ahead of global standardization work, SIS has developed long-term cooperative relationships with world-famous standardization bodies like ISO, DIN, and ASTM.

ASTM standards are widely used all over the world. A number of countries reference ASTM standards in their regulations and domestic standards. Take the National Standards of China (GB) as an example. China had 19,278 GB standards at the end of 2000. Among them, 8,378 standards are adopted based on advanced international or foreign standards.

Statistics show that 541 of these 8,378 standards are based on ASTM standards (of which 175 are “equivalent adoptions,” 343 are “non-equivalent adoptions,” and 23 are “identical adoptions”). ASTM ranks third in China after ISO and IEC as the most frequently adopted “Western” standards in China. In Shanghai, a large number of institutions and testing facilities such as the Shanghai Institute of Measurement and Testing Technology, Shanghai Research Institute of Materials, Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation and GE China use ASTM standards. ASTM standards are most often used in the plastics, rubber, textiles, metallurgy and medical equipment industries.

The cooperation between SIS and ASTM dates back to successful visits at SIS by Robert Meltzer, ASTM vice president, publications and marketing, and Drew Azzara, ASTM assistant vice president, technical committee operations, in September 1998. Two months later ASTM and SIS signed a Photocopy License Agreement. At the same time, ASTM authorized SIS as one of its distributors of ASTM publications in China.

Over the last three years, more and more enterprises in Shanghai and the adjacent regions have learned about ASTM and use ASTM standards as a result of our cooperation. With the help of SIS, they could easily search and identify which ASTM standards they need. We have successfully reduced time and cost along the way. Our companies benefit from ASTM’s new technical information, which are now easily accessible in China. SIS has gradually become a key partner of ASTM in East China. During that period, Sheng Tai, chief engineer of SIS, paid ASTM a return visit in 1999; Robert Meltzer visited SIS for a second time in May 2001. During that meeting, both sides reached an agreement on several new cooperative activities that would lead to a closer relationship in the near future.