direction appropriate for each sector. For example, ANSI members in the information technology industry emphasize international standardization, whereas consumer and workplace safety and health standards are developed with a focus on U.S. national standards. Four member councils discuss issues from their constituents' perspectives, bringing them before the ANSI Board of Directors as needed. These are the Company, Consumer Interest, Government, and Organization Member Councils.53

As noted earlier, one of ANSI's key means of carrying out its mission is to accredit U.S. standards developers. ANSI accredits both the organizations that develop standards and the standards themselves. (See Figure 2-3 for an overview of ANSI-accredited standards processes.) Accreditation is based not on the technical merits of standards but, rather, on the procedures used to develop them. Adherence to open participation, due process, and consensus procedures is necessary for an SDO to become an ANSI-accredited standards developer. ANSI accepts three different types of standards developers. Accredited organizations include most of the largest U.S. SDOs. Accredited standards committees (ASCs) write standards for a specific industry or technology sector, with administrative support provided by an interested host organization. An example is ASC X3 for Information Processing, whose secretariat is provided by CBEMA. Accredited sponsors are smaller groups that seek comment on and approval of their standards through a ballot of interested parties. These groups are usually formed to write one or a select few standards for a narrowly focused application.54

ANSI-accredited organizations may submit standards they have developed for ANSI approval as American National Standards. ANSI publishes American National Standards developed by some, mainly smaller, standards developers. Larger SDOs, such as ASTM, ASME, IEEE, and NFPA, publish standards under their own organizational name, even if they have been accredited as American National Standards. For example, more than half of the standards listed in the IEEE Standards Catalog are indicated, by footnote, as "recognized by the American National Standards Institute."55 The National Electrical Code, published by NFPA, is approved and identified by ANSI with the designation ANSI/NFPA 70; NFPA's own publications, however, refer to it simply as NFPA 70.56

Although ANSI is not a standards developer, as noted above, it publishes American National Standards developed by some of the groups it accredits. This activity has been a source of conflict between ANSI and some of the larger SDOs. Approximately 65 percent of ANSI's $16.7 million gross income (based on 1993 data) is generated from sales of standards and other publications. Net income from publication sales provides for 34 percent of ANSI's core (nonpublishing) expenses, which are not fully funded by membership dues.57 The SDOs' main objection is to ANSI's accrediting and providing publication services to smaller trade and professional associations to produce standards by the canvass method, rather than through a committee process.58 (Some standards developers rely on both canvass and committee methods at different times.) These groups can



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement