26. How do I determine and find the standards organization my project should interface with

Generally speaking, the specific characteristics of individual standards bodies play the most important role when selecting organizations to interface with. In this respect, your project should consider the issues:

Next to these aspects, you should also take into account that characteristics of certain standardization processes may fit your project's objectives better than others, as well as the fact that you may wish to pursue a specific kind of deliverable.

26.1 Thematic focus area

Finding the standards body best covering the thematic scope of your project’s activities may seem a relatively easy part of the selection process. Nevertheless, it can be quite complicated to point out a single organization, because you may find that several standards bodies are addressing the area your project is targeting. Consequently, it may be necessary to define in much more detail the specifics of the envisaged results, which may not always be possible in the early stages of your project. On the other hand, your project’s output may in fact be relevant to more that one area of standardization, but you may not have anticipated the resources required to interface with multiple standradization processes.

Focusing your envisaged standardization output, and mapping it against the thematic scope of potentially targeted standards organizations, should therefore best be done at an early point, e.g. when preparing an initial project proposal. This will provide greater assurance that your project will be able to pursue all its standardization goals, and generate feedback from an outside expert community in the most efficient way.

26.2 Timing

Standardization processes are market driven and usually start when market players have identified the need to initiate a process of capturing requirements for what is to become a new, or improved specification or standard. Timing is often an essential aspect in these processes as standards bodies consequently have to focus on the momentum in the market.

When putting forward output for standardization, your project should ensure that the issue or area addressed is actually on the agenda of the targeted standards body, and that there is sufficient critical mass among the target standards body’s members to work on the issue.

If this is not the case, additional constituency or consensus buildingmay be required first, but if there is little perspective that this situation can and will be changed within a reasonable amount of time, it may be preferable to look for alternative organizations for which the agenda provides a better match with your project’s standardization objectives.

26.3 Open standardization processes

Standards organizations do not all have the same background. Moreover, their structure, working methods and principles have developed over their history and mostly reflect a balanced result of the positions and considerations of their members.

However a number of general principles apply, and these are essential to conducting voluntary, open, and market driven standardization processes. When choosing standards bodies to cooperate with, research projects should therefore verify that …

26.4 Membership of standards bodies

Membership of a standards body may not be the same as participation in its activities. Therefore the members of CEN and CENELEC in Europe, and of ISO and IEC internationally, are national standards organizations. The participants are those who draft the standards in technical groups, and these people are interested market stakeholders, for instance individual companies (manufacturers, service providers, consultancies etc), non-profit organizations and associations, public organizations (agencies or Government Departments), academic institutions etc. By the same token, the members of ITU or the UN-ECE are national Governments, but the participants are the stakeholders in the standards process. There may also be geographical restrictions - for instance CEN and CENELEC full members come from the EU, EFTA and EU-applicant countries only (though affiliate and partner bodies come from a wider area).
On the other hand, in industry consortia and also in some formal bodies such as ETSI, the members are any interested party, usually those who have paid a subscription.

Although research projects as such are usually not excluded from membership, there may be reasons why membership as such is not an option, for example if a project is no legal identity but is simply a contractual consortium. In such circumstances, a number of different approaches may be possible:

Projects having issues around their participation in standardization are always welcome to discuss them with the ICT Standards Board or the COPRAS partners.

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See also

  1. How can I contact a standards organization
  2. What if there's no standards organization that is able to address my project's output

Created by Bart Brusse & Rigo Wenning
last updated $Date: 2006/12/12 12:10:34 $