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About Scientific Working Groups

Since the early 1990s, American and International forensic science laboratories and practitioners have collaborated in Scientific Working Groups* (SWGs) to improve discipline practices and build consensus standards.

Since 2014, most SWGs function in a collaborative and supporting role to the Office of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science.  OSAC is part of an initiative by NIST and the Department of Justice to strengthen forensic science in the United States.  The organization is a collaborative body of more than 500 forensic science practitioners and other experts who represent local, state, and federal agencies; academia; and industry. NIST has established OSAC to support the development and promulgation of forensic science consensus documentary standards and guidelines, and to ensure that a sufficient scientific basis exists for each discipline.

The current SWGs include the following:                                                                    (list updated October 2016)

FISWG - Facial Identification Scientific Working Group

OSAC - Office of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science

SWGANTH - Forensic Anthropology

SWGCBRN - Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear

SWGDAM - DNA Analysis

SWGDE - Digital Evidence

SWGDMI - Medicolegal Death Investigation 

SWGDOC - Questioned Documents

SWGDOG - Dogs and Orthogonal Detection

SWGDRUG - Analysis of Seized Drugs

SWGDVI - Disaster Victim Identification

SWGFAST - Latent Fingerprints

SWGFEX - Fire and Explosives Scenes 

SWGGSR - Gunshot Residue


SWGGUN - Firearms and Toolmarks

SWGIBRA - Illicit Business Records

SWGIT - Imaging Technologies


SWGMAT - Materials Analysis 

SWGSTAIN - Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

SWGTOX - Toxicology 

SWGTREAD - Footwear and Tiretracks

SWGWILD - Wildlife Forensics
  

In early 1998, the FBI Laboratory performed a strategic review of all SWGs. This review determined the need for administrative and web-based support for the entire SWG effort. To achieve this, the FBI Laboratory has worked collaboratively with the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC). The NFSTC has provided assistance with the following:

  • Developing and implementing optimal business processes that will establish and maintain consistency in SWG organization, life cycle, and business processes.

  • Establishing mechanisms that ensure laboratory management's strong commitment and support for personnel participating in and contributing to the SWGs.

  • Establishing an infrastructure for effective communication within and among SWGs and the national and international forensic communities.

  • Conducting studies on alternate models to increase awareness, improve effectiveness, and reduce costs.

 
* During the 1990s, several US Government-supported forensic working groups were formed and met for one-day to one-week for the purpose of addressing a specific topic.  Circa 1999, the working group names for long-term working groups addressing forensic science disciplines were changed to SWGs to differentiate their activities and documents from short-term groups. 

 


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