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 July 2005 Feature Section Introduction

New ASTM International Committee E56

We often speak of partnership at ASTM International. We applaud the ability of consensus standards developers to put aside issues of competition and work together to accomplish a common goal. In most cases, cooperation takes place on a small scale with like-minded individuals and organizations within an industry sector agreeing to pool resources rather than dilute them. Occasionally, however, an opportunity arises to which the concept of partnership can be applied on a truly grand scale – such is the case with the newly organized ASTM International Committee E56 on Nanotechnology, and its pursuit of a global terminology standard.

An early priority for Committee E56 is the development of a globally relevant, industry-driven terminology standard. In an effort to facilitate this objective, ASTM International has initiated and signed partnership agreements with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, NSF International, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. The agreements contain several unique provisions regarding the terminology standard to be developed by Committee E56.

• Technical experts provided by the partner organizations can participate in E56 without fee and will have all membership voting privileges.
• ASTM International will not charge a fee for access to the approved terminology document. The document will be made available to the partner organizations and their membership for use via a royalty-free license.
• The partner organizations’ cooperation in the development of the terminology document will be noted within the document with the partners’ corporate logos affixed to the approved document.

ASTM believes that the partnership agreements will eliminate redundant resource allocation among a variety of standards organizations, provide for the pooling of technical experts in a single standards development venue and, consequently, help create a truly global terminology document in terms of input as well as application. While the agreements focus solely on the issue of nanotechnology terminology, they serve as a symbol of consensus at its best — an open and transparent exchange of information in a process devoid of impediment to participation.

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