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Survey Respondents Unanimous in Reported Use of International Standards

International Federation of Standards Users (IFAN) releases survey report

New York, Dec 27, 2002

Results of a survey conducted from early 2001 through May 2002 on the worldwide application of International standards has been released by the International Federation of Standards Users (IFAN). Survey participants from more than 50 nations answered eighteen questions on topics such as sales, including pricing and storage; usage patterns and overall implementation of international standards. Access to the online survey was made available via links from the websites of organizations around the globe.

For the purposes of the questionnaire, “international standards” was defined to include “International standards which are used directly” and “those which have been adopted without change as regional and/or national standards.”

Each of the nearly 300 respondents indicated that they are using international standards to some degree, with 59% reporting that their usage is high. 94% of the respondents used standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 45% used standards published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and 11% used other international standards.

The survey report also indicated a steady and obvious movement toward the purchase of electronic documents and electronic ordering, if their standards supplier offered these options. While 225 (78%) of the respondents indicated that they purchase between 1 and 100 international standards each year, and only 12 (4%) purchase more than 1000, responses indicated that orders placed via e-mail or online via a webstore were beginning to overtake traditional the more traditional order placement methods of telephone/fax, post and subscriptions.

“This is underlined by the reply of 62% of the respondents who indicated that they would move immediately to electronic document sand electronic ordering if it were offered by their standards supplier,” stated the survey report. Nearly one quarter of the responses (67, or 23%) acknowledged that “Standards should be available in paper as well.”

Overall satisfaction with the content of international standards was also questioned. The survey report summarized that, “While the greater number of respondents expressed the opinion that the content is adequate with respect to the state of technology, several suggestions for improvement were made. The most needed requirements for standards users were identified as:

  • A single source or at least a universal system to search for appropriate standards to solve business problems or needs. (This system should also give access to information in respect of new items of standardization or revisions of current standards.)
  • Improvement of the information available on content and status of standards prior to purchase.
  • National adoptions and national translations of international standards.
  • A rethinking of the costs of single standards and the costs of networking standards.
  • Improvement of the presentation of the technical content (issues raised by the respondents were: conflicting scopes, consistency, terminology, layout, frequency of changes, lack of technical strength due to the compromises within international standards).
  • Summaries of changes in relation to the previous versions.”

For the complete report and summary of survey responses, please visit the IFAN website and follow the “Forum” link.

Founded in 1974, IFAN is an independent, non-profit, international association of national organizations for the application of standards, companies, professional and trade associations, and governmental agencies, concerned with the use of standards. The organization’s objectives include the promotion of uniform implementation of standards without deviation and the development of solutions to standards users’ problems without itself drawing up standards; the consolidation of standards users’ interests and views on all aspects of standardization and conformity assessment, and to cooperate with international and regional standardizing bodies (e.g. ISO, IEC, ITU, CEN, COPANT, etc) in order to communicate user views to these organizations; and the promotion of networking in the field of international standardization and conformity assessment.

Staff of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) conducts administrative responsibilities for IFAN. The Standards Engineering Society serves as the member body representing both the United States and Canada.

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