Scientific Working Groups

The early 1990’s saw the ushering in of a new era of forensic science and with it, the mobilization and creation of Scientific Working Groups (SWGs). The specialized groups are organized by discipline to further advance each one as well as to develop standards among the disciplines. In 2014, the SWGs came together under the leadership of NIST Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC).

Scientific Working Groups cover a wide range of disciplines. The Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) is the overarching governing body. Under this, there are five broad fields: Biology/DNA, Chemistry/Instrumental Analysis, Physics/Pattern Interpretation, Crime Scene/ Death Investigation, abd Digital/Multimedia. These are then further broken down into the individual SWGs for each discipline. There is one for DNA Analysis (SWGDAM), Toxicology (SWGTOX), Firearms and Toolmarks (SWGGUN), and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (SWGSTAIN). There are also disciplines that deal with lesser-known areas such as Digital Evidence (SWGDE), Disaster Victim Identification (SWGDVI), and Questioned Documents (SWGDOC).  These are only some of the many groups that have organized in the past twenty or so years.

The SWGs are made up of scientists and other experts working within the field in question. Together, they work to further the research and the techniques and tools in their subject matter. The FSSB works with the Human Factors Committee, Quality infrastructure Committee, and Legal Resource Committee. They work to establish standard by which the SWGs operate and most importantly, to strengthen forensic science. While a few of the SWGs only have American members, most are international.

Forensic Summary by Gina Gallucci

Sources:
http://www.nist.gov/forensics/workgroups.cfm
http://www.nist.gov/forensics/osac/

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