The National System of Scientific Measurement

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Science  21 Nov 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4472, pp. 869-874
DOI: 10.1126/science.210.4472.869


Mandated measurement methods are required by regulatory agencies and other government groups. These methods exist for measuring almost all physical, chemical, and biological phenomena. The methods have been culled from the literature, from the organizations that write voluntary standards, and some have been developed by the agencies. Few provide adequate estimates of precision, and fewer still provide any evaluation of interlaboratory bias. The societal costs of these poor measurements are large. Much needs to be done to meet the physical and statistical requirements for establishing and maintaining dependable measurements. Excepting those directly supported by the National Bureau of Standards, most of the nation's measurement systems are uncontrolled.