Some criteria of  performance of  standards  development systems

A measure of  a  system’s or process’  relevance and value in the most general sense, is that system’s or process flexibility  and ability to adapt to  current needs and  realities.   

In the case of  “standards systems”  measurable data indicative  of such flexibility  and ability might be   statistics of  the performance of  the system to embrace “new” needs that require “new”  solutions or  changes  to or  abandonment of  the “old” solutions.  There exist such data sometimes deep within standards organizations about “new standards” approved;  old standards revised or reaffirmed; and standards withdrawn.  It is helpful to place such numerical counts in relative context  to the “overall” population of standards within the mandate of the system

In 2011 for example according to the American National Standards Institute the table  below contains  such data for “American National Standards[1]  It shows  an annual   turnover  in the total population of ANS from all actions  of nearly 23%.  

ANS Final Actions


New Adoption (ISO, IEC or ISO/IEC)








Stabilized Maintenance




Total Final Actions by Year


Point-in-time – Fall 2011


Total ANS


Noteworthy are the contributions to "Total Final Actions" of reaffirmations, revisions and withdrawals of ANS.  ANSI essential requirements require  reviews of ANS at least every 5 years. [2]

Similar  (but not identical)   data from the International Electrotechnical Commission[3]  show a  “rate of change” of  total documents  in the range of 7%.  Regrettably  IEC responsiveness data with respect to “withdrawn” standards is not readily available. 

 International standards   2011  5880

Technical Specifications  2011  202

Technical Reports  2011  373

IEC PAS   2011 58

Total publications as of 12/31/2011: 6513

International standards issued  373

Technical Specifications 19

Technical Reports 36


Total “new” documents in 2011: 446

Data from the International Organization for Standardization[4]  show a rate of change of 6% similar to that of IEC.  However similar to  the IEC  data   there are not readily available statistics on numbers of ISO standards withdrawn which makes direct comparison with the ANSI table not possible

2011 International standards published 1208

2011 Total International standards 19023

2011 New  Projects initiated  1419

These data show the standards processes for creating ANS; IEC and ISO standards are indeed flexible and responsive to changing needs. 

[1] Email communication ANSI staff to GTW 9/26/2011

 [2] Administrative withdrawal An American National Standard shall be withdrawn five years following approval, if the standard has not been  revised or reaffirmed, unless an extension has been granted by the ExSC or its designee. An American National Standard that has not been reaffirmed or revised within the five-year period, and that has been recommended for withdrawal by the ExSC or its designee, shall be withdrawn at the close of a 30-day public review notice in Standards Action. American National Standards that have not been revised or reaffirmed within ten years from the date of their approval as American National Standards shall be withdrawn and such action shall be announced in Standards Action.

Issues &

What is GTW Associates

 News &
GTW Associates welcomes  your comments and suggestions.
All material © Copyright 1995-2018 GTW Associates.
Please contact GTW Associates for licensing information.