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A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS A04 IRON CASTINGS A05 METALLIC-COATED IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS B05 COPPER AND COPPER ALLOYS B07 LIGHT METALS AND ALLOYS C01 CEMENT C04 VITRIFIED CLAY PIPE C07 LIME AND LIMESTONE C09 CONCRETE AND CONCRETE AGGREGATES C11 GYPSUM AND RELATED BUILDING MATERIALS AND SYSTEMS C12 MORTARS AND GROUTS FOR UNIT MASONRY C13 CONCRETE PIPE C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C15 MANUFACTURED MASONRY UNITS C16 THERMAL INSULATION C17 FIBER-REINFORCED CEMENT PRODUCTS C18 DIMENSION STONE C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS C24 BUILDING SEALS AND SEALANTS C27 PRECAST CONCRETE PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D04 ROAD AND PAVING MATERIALS D07 WOOD D08 ROOFING AND WATERPROOFING D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D11 RUBBER D14 ADHESIVES D18 SOIL AND ROCK D20 PLASTICS D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E05 FIRE STANDARDS E06 PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS E33 BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACOUSTICS E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS E60 SUSTAINABILITY F01 ELECTRONICS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F16 FASTENERS F17 PLASTIC PIPING SYSTEMS F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES F36 TECHNOLOGY AND UNDERGROUND UTILITIES G03 WEATHERING AND DURABILITY C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D06 PAPER AND PAPER PRODUCTS D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER D12 SOAPS AND OTHER DETERGENTS D13 TEXTILES D14 ADHESIVES D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D20 PLASTICS D21 POLISHES D31 LEATHER E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E18 SENSORY EVALUATION E20 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E41 LABORATORY APPARATUS E53 ASSET MANAGEMENT E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F05 BUSINESS IMAGING PRODUCTS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F09 TIRES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F11 VACUUM CLEANERS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F14 FENCES F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F16 FASTENERS F24 AMUSEMENT RIDES AND DEVICES F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F27 SNOW SKIING F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F43 LANGUAGE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS A04 IRON CASTINGS A05 METALLIC-COATED IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS A06 MAGNETIC PROPERTIES B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS B02 NONFERROUS METALS AND ALLOYS B05 COPPER AND COPPER ALLOYS B07 LIGHT METALS AND ALLOYS B08 METALLIC AND INORGANIC COATINGS B09 METAL POWDERS AND METAL POWDER PRODUCTS B10 REACTIVE AND REFRACTORY METALS AND ALLOYS C03 CHEMICAL-RESISTANT NONMETALLIC MATERIALS C08 REFRACTORIES C28 ADVANCED CERAMICS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D20 PLASTICS D30 COMPOSITE MATERIALS E01 ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY FOR METALS, ORES, AND RELATED MATERIALS E04 METALLOGRAPHY E07 NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING E08 FATIGUE AND FRACTURE E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E13 MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY AND SEPARATION SCIENCE E28 MECHANICAL TESTING E29 PARTICLE AND SPRAY CHARACTERIZATION E37 THERMAL MEASUREMENTS E42 SURFACE ANALYSIS F01 ELECTRONICS F34 ROLLING ELEMENT BEARINGS F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS F42 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES G01 CORROSION OF METALS G03 WEATHERING AND DURABILITY D21 POLISHES D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E05 FIRE STANDARDS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E30 FORENSIC SCIENCES E34 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E52 FORENSIC PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E58 FORENSIC ENGINEERING F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F12 SECURITY SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F18 ELECTRICAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR WORKERS F23 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F32 SEARCH AND RESCUE F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES D08 ROOFING AND WATERPROOFING D18 SOIL AND ROCK D19 WATER D20 PLASTICS D22 AIR QUALITY D34 WASTE MANAGEMENT D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E06 PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS E44 SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES E47 E48 BIOENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS FROM BIOMASS E50 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, RISK MANAGEMENT AND CORRECTIVE ACTION E60 SUSTAINABILITY F20 HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AND OIL SPILL RESPONSE F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS G02 WEAR AND EROSION B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS C26 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE D02 PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, LIQUID FUELS, AND LUBRICANTS D03 GASEOUS FUELS D05 COAL AND COKE D19 WATER D27 ELECTRICAL INSULATING LIQUIDS AND GASES D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E10 NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS E44 SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES E48 BIOENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS FROM BIOMASS A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS C01 CEMENT C09 CONCRETE AND CONCRETE AGGREGATES D02 PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, LIQUID FUELS, AND LUBRICANTS D03 GASEOUS FUELS D04 ROAD AND PAVING MATERIALS D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D18 SOIL AND ROCK D24 CARBON BLACK D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E17 VEHICLE - PAVEMENT SYSTEMS E21 SPACE SIMULATION AND APPLICATIONS OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F03 GASKETS F07 AEROSPACE AND AIRCRAFT F09 TIRES F16 FASTENERS F25 SHIPS AND MARINE TECHNOLOGY F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F38 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS F39 AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS F41 UNMANNED MARITIME VEHICLE SYSTEMS (UMVS) F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT F45 DRIVERLESS AUTOMATIC GUIDED INDUSTRIAL VEHICLES D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER E31 HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E55 MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS E56 NANOTECHNOLOGY F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F04 MEDICAL AND SURGICAL MATERIALS AND DEVICES F29 ANESTHETIC AND RESPIRATORY EQUIPMENT F30 EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES C07 LIME AND LIMESTONE D14 ADHESIVES D16 AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS AND RELATED CHEMICALS D20 PLASTICS D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D28 ACTIVATED CARBON D32 CATALYSTS E13 MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY AND SEPARATION SCIENCE E15 INDUSTRIAL AND SPECIALTY CHEMICALS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS E11 QUALITY AND STATISTICS E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E43 SI PRACTICE E55 MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS E56 NANOTECHNOLOGY F42 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES
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PlainTalk

PlainTalk

The Power of Participation

Why a Fishbowl is a Good Thing

They say knowledge is power. And the marketplace power that comes from knowing what work is under way in a standards developing organization can be obtained only if that organization is transparent.

The WTO/TBT1 committee says that in a transparent SDO, “All essential information regarding current work programmes, as well as on proposals for standards, guides and recommendations under consideration and on the final results should be made easily accessible.”

ASTM International is a virtual fishbowl. Anyone — member and nonmember alike — can access Standards Tracker, an online notification service that provides information on newly approved standards, actions on existing standards and work items. ASTM provides drafts on request and encourages input from materially affected interests.

The decision to be part of a standards project is based on knowing what already exists, what is being undertaken or what is not being undertaken, the direction in which a technology is headed, whether or not that technology is applicable to one’s business, one’s culture, society or level of development, and whether or not one has a “materially affected interest.” The decision to participate in a standards project begins with knowledge — the first encounter with power in the standards development process.

The second encounter comes with participation in a standards body that embraces openness. Openness means nondiscrimination. As practiced in ASTM International, nondiscrimination means that anyone can participate in the ASTM process of developing standards. Openness, as defined by the WTO/TBT committee, states that bodies that develop international standards should be open on a nondiscriminatory basis to relevant bodies of at least all WTO members. This includes openness without discrimination at the policy development level and at every stage of standards development. ASTM International is open to other bodies and to individuals as well.

This is an enormous expansion of the WTO/TBT definition. One is not required to be a member of a body of any kind or meet any prerequisite to become a member of ASTM International, to sit on a technical committee, to initiate a standards project, to propose a modification to an existing standard, to have a voice, to vote, to bring about change to a way of doing something that can affect lives all over the planet. This is the power of participation in an organization that is open. Openness conveys that power to any and all who wish to possess it.

The ASTM International board of directors, the body that decides policy, is as open and nondiscriminating as its technical committees. Standards professionals from ASTM’s ranks, as well as those from countries all over the world, leave their imprints on ASTM’s most important decisions. Men and women with domestic and international perspectives, and those from other standards bodies and systems, bring their wisdom and varied histories to every change of course and every measure of progress made by the ASTM International organization. The power to govern is as available and nondiscriminatory as is the power to create a standard, whether it belongs to the chairman of a task group, a subcommittee, a technical committee, a governing committee such as the Committee on Standards,2 or the ASTM board of directors.

But perhaps the highest level of power is the personal power that is to be attained through participation in the development of a standard. The process of standardization is not only the development of a technical document that makes the world a better, safer place in which to live. It can also be an intensely personal undertaking — an investment in a family business, the recognition of a process developed through years of education and research, the documentation of an invention, the fulfillment of a goal to prolong life or preserve an environmental treasure, the immense satisfaction of advancing a life’s work into the public realm and the tremendous rewards of collaborating with peers met only through a technical committee. Standardization is work with a purpose and a commitment to something that impacts — in a significant way — our families, businesses and careers, and people around the world we’ve never met and will never meet. That kind of power is intangible, great and indescribable.

We hear the words openness and transparency and participation so often that they can sometimes lose their potency. But if we stop to think deeply about what these words mean in the day-to-day process of developing standards, of belonging to an organization like ASTM International, we can see what priceless, enormous values they convey, what power is behind them.

References

1. World Trade Organization/Technical Barriers to Trade

2. And other standing committees of the ASTM International board of directors, such as the Committee on Publications and the Committee on Technical Committee Operations.

James A. Thomas

President, ASTM International

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.