Member Jargon

Standardization News

Member Jargon

ASTM International committees use certain expressions to describe their work. Here are some you’ll likely encounter.
Cicely Enright

Ballot: Could be task group (though always informal at this stage), sub, or main (all defined below) as a new or revised standard goes through the required voting process.

Chair: Usually said along with main, sub, task group to describe the person who leads one of these groups.

Concurrent Ballot: When a standard is voted on by both the subcommittee and main committee at the same time.

COS: The Committee on Standards, a group under the ASTM International board of directors, which reviews standards actions to ensure that the process has been followed. This group also oversees Form and Style for ASTM Standards.

COTCO: The Committee on Technical Committee Operations, the group under the ASTM International board of directors that is responsible for the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees and approving committee bylaws.

Committee Week (CW): Where a number of committees meet in the same place (along with training sessions, workshops etc.).

Form and Style: Full name is Form and Style for ASTM Standards, the textbook for writing any type of ASTM standard.

Main: A main committee, or technical committee, that addresses a specific industry.

Negative(s): A negative vote(s) on a standard somewhere in the balloting process; a vote that stops a standard from moving ahead in the balloting process and must be addressed. A negative can be found persuasive, meaning members agree the negative vote is correct; or not persuasive, which requires a two thirds affirmative vote.

Regs: The Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees, which covers how committees must operate.

Sub: A subcommittee, which addresses a part of a main committee’s industry area or administrative responsibilities. 

Technical Contact (TC): The person who oversees the work on a particular standard or revision (and can be the technical contact for one or more standards projects). Also used to refer to technical committee.

Task Group: The basic work group organized to develop/revise ASTM standards. A TG comes under a subcommittee’s jurisdiction.

Withdrawn (WD): Either a ballot item being taken from the process because of persuasive negatives, or a voter withdrawing a negative vote so that the standard can move forward.

WK: A registered work item, which is a draft standard and any proposed revisions, entered in the system
for tracking.

If you have questions, please contact your staff manager.

Regs Corner

What’s in a Word?

Several standards-related words or phrases — jargon, that is — find frequent use at committee meetings. However, a few terms essential to standards work are defined in the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees:

Consensus, n — The judgment arrived at through the balloting and review procedures of these regulations. 

Member, n — An individual or an organization (or a primary division of an organization) that subscribes to the purposes of the society and pays the required administrative fee. 

Responsibilities of membership — Open participation and the consensus process are core values and the principal strengths of standards development in ASTM International. To be successful, the consensus process depends on the ability of members to work together with an attitude of collaboration and collegiality in a safe and comfortable environment where all interactions are professional and members, participants, and staff are treated with dignity and respect. Each member is expected to participate and contribute in good faith to the standardization activities undertaken by the committee(s) to which they belong. 

The Regs then continues with the Purpose of the Regs (rules for standards development), the Authority for the Regs (the board), Society Principles (which guide the procedures), the Committee on Technical Committee Operations (COTCO, the responsible committee), and the maintenance and revisions of the Regs. Learn more here.


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