Maintenance of IEEE Standards FAQs

Maintenance of IEEE Standards

Information on changes that have been made to maintenance process for IEEE standards.

What changes are being made to the maintenance process for IEEE standards?

Effective January 2012, an IEEE standard may remain continuously active only if a revision process for that standard is completed and approved within 10 years from the date that the standard was approved or last revised. The revision process is initiated by a PAR for the revision of the standard. It is not necessary that the document be changed, just that the opportunity existed to make appropriate changes and the requisite ballot group confirmed decisions to change or not change the document. The reaffirmation and stabilization processes will be eliminated beginning January 2012. In addition, the maintenance timeline for completing a revision will be extended to 10 years rather than 5 years. See also the NOTE in in FAQ#18.

Why is the IEEE SA eliminating reaffirmation and stabilization as a means to maintain an IEEE standard?

The IEEE SA Standards Board (IEEE-SASB) determined that it was important to have a process that permitted the standard to be revised when addressing comments provided during a maintenance review process, and to streamline/simplify the maintenance process to ensure that participants would comply with the policies and procedures of both IEEE and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which accredits IEEE as a standards developing organization (SDO).

How will the new maintenance process benefit Standards Committee and Working Groups?

The new process for maintaining active standards will be simpler and less confusing. In addition, the process extends the maintenance timeline from 5 years to 10 years, allowing Standards Committee and Working Groups additional time to review and complete a revision cycle. Each year, the IEEE SA will provide to Standards Committee a status of all active standards, with standards in Years 5 through 10 highlighted, to ensure that Standards Committee are aware of their deadline for revision. Standards Committee will then take action on standards in the list that they believe require revision or withdrawal.

Standards Committee will be able to focus their efforts and resources on standards that require revision or need to be maintained as active (see FAQ#7). Standards that do not require revision may be transferred after 10 years to an inactive-reserved status, or they could be withdrawn immediately via a withdrawal ballot.

How will the new maintenance process benefit standards implementers?

Standards implementers (i.e., those who use or implement the standards) will benefit from the focus on revisions of standards that require maintenance action, rather than a diffusion of Standards Committee efforts to meet administrative requirements for reaffirmation or stabilization. Implementers who participate in Standards Committee ballots will be able to address significant errors in a process where changes can be made to the document during the ballot. This should allow IEEE standards to remain pertinent and of high technical value.

When will the new policies go into effect?

The new maintenance policies will go into effect on 1 January 2012. At that time, active standards can only be maintained through a revision process.

What will happen to the reaffirmation and stabilization processes?

The reaffirmation and stabilization processes will be eliminated as of 1 January 2012; the currently stabilized and reaffirmed standards will be treated as active or inactive as described in FAQ#7. See also FAQ#9.

What will be the status of IEEE standards going forward?

Approved IEEE standards will either be active or inactive. Active standards must undergo a revision process at least every 10 years (i.e., approved as revised standards by the IEEE-SASB within 10 years of the prior revision, even if the standard is not changed). Standards can become inactive through a Standards Assocation ballot to withdraw, or will be made inactive if they do not complete a revision process within 10 years.

What are the categories of IEEE standards?

The following outline the statuses of IEEE standards, effective 1 January 2012:

  • active: These standards are currently being maintained.
  • superseded: These standards have been replaced with a revised version of the standard, or by a compilation of the original active standard and all its existing amendments, corrigenda, and errata.
  • inactive-reserved: These standards are removed from active status through an administrative process for standards that have not undergone a revision process within 10 years.
  • inactive-withdrawn: These standards have been removed from active status through a ballot where the standard is made inactive as a consensus decision of a balloting group.

Standards withdrawn by ballot or administratively withdrawn prior to 1 January 2012 will continue to be identified as withdrawn standards, and will not be reclassified as inactive-withdrawn or inactive-reserved.

What will happen to standards that have been reaffirmed or stabilized prior to the policy going into effect?

Standards that have been reaffirmed or stabilized prior to 1 January 2012 will be transitioned into the new maintenance timeline. The Standards Committee of the standard will be required to revise the standard according to the latest of the following dates:

  • By 31 December 2018
  • Within 10 years of initial approval
  • Within 10 years from the last maintenance action (revision, reaffirmation or stabilization)

If no action is taken, the standards will be transferred to inactive-reserved status.

What will happen to stabilizations or reaffirmations in ballot on 1 January 2012 when this new policy is implemented?

Any reaffirmation or stabilization ballot that is in process on 1 January 2012 will need to complete in time for submittal to the Standards Review Committee (RevCom) of the IEEE-SASB for its 4 December 2012 meeting. All ongoing reaffirmation ballots will be cancelled after 4 December 2012 and any related standard will be subject to the timelines in FAQ#9.

No reaffirmation/stabilization ballots can be initiated after 31 December 2011.

Can an inactive-withdrawn or inactive-reserved standard be revised?

Yes. An inactive-withdrawn or inactive-reserved standard can be revised at any time. The inactive-withdrawn or inactive-reserved standard will remain inactive. Any active standard created by revising an inactive-withdrawn or inactive-reserved standard will be the revision approved by the IEEE-SASB, and will be identified using that approval date.

What will happen to standards that were withdrawn prior to 1 January 2012?

No changes will be made to withdrawn standards, and they will remain withdrawn unless revised. These standards will continue to be identified as “withdrawn.”

What will happen to the timeline of a PAR when this new policy is implemented?

The timeline for PARs will not change. The initial PAR timeline will remain at 4 years after the PAR is approved. See also FAQ#18.

What will happen to revision projects under development when this new policy is implemented?

PARs for revision projects under development remain valid after the new policy is implemented. However, the revision project needs to be completed (i.e., approved by the IEEE-SASB) within 10 years after the approval of the existing standard in order to ensure that the standard remains continuously active. At the 10-year mark, the existing standard will be transferred to inactive-reserved status if it has not otherwise been approved as a revised standard by the IEEE-SASB.

What if I submit a revision PAR, or an Extension Request for an existing revision PAR, near Year 10 of the life of the approved standard? Can the timeline of the approved standard be extended?

No. There is a 10 year cutoff on the maintenance of an approved standard. If the revision project has not been completed and approved by Year 10, the approved standard will be transferred to inactive-reserved status.

What will happen to a PAR for revision of an active standard if that standard is transferred to inactive status?

The PAR for the revision project will remain active until the expiration date for the PAR.

How can IEEE minimize unnecessary or arbitrary changes?

The consensus process is the arbiter of what changes should or should not be made. The Standards Association ballot process allows materially interested parties and technical experts to determine through consensus whether specific changes should be made to the draft standard. Those interested in helping to ensure that arbitrary changes are avoided should participate in the Standards Association ballot process.

Can a standard still have amendments or corrigenda?

An amendment (for additions or changes to a standard) or corrigendum (for corrections to a standard) can be created for any active standard. No new amendment or corrigendum for an inactive standard will be approved. NOTE: Amendments and corrigenda do not impact the maintenance cycle of the original active standard. The maintenance requirement for the original active standard can only be met by completing an appropriate revision action, or by transferring the standard to inactive status.

What if a standard that does not have any approved amendments or corrigenda, or any errata undergoes a revision ballot and reaches consensus with no changes? Will its designation change?

No. The previously published standard will remain available so the designation will not change. IEEE SA databases and online product descriptions will be updated to show the date that the revision process was completed.

What if a standard with existing amendments, corrigenda or errata undergoes a revision ballot and reaches consensus with no changes? Will its designation change?

Yes. A draft must be provided for the ballot review with all existing amendments and corrigenda integrated into the draft. The ballot package may also include the separately published original active standard, amendments, corrigenda and errata to allow the ballot group to review the accuracy of the compilation. After approval by the IEEE-SASB, the designation will change. The standard will be published as a revision with a new designation showing the most recent date of approval by the IEEE-SASB.

Can a revision ballot consist of only changes to update the normative references and the bibliography?

Yes, a revision can consist of only changes to normative references and the bibliography. However, during the Standards Association ballot, revision procedures apply (i.e., the entire document is open to comments and changes).

Will Standards Committee and Working Groups have access to any comments that were received during previous reaffirmation or stabilization ballots conducted prior to 1 January 2012?

Yes. The Standards Committee or designee can access previous reaffirmation and stabilization ballot comment results through the IEEE SA myProject™ system.

Will this process be submitted for approval by ANSI?

Yes, the new maintenance process is described in IEEE SA revised governance documents, and ANSI regularly audits these documents. The provisions covering the new maintenance process will be formally reviewed by ANSI when the updates to our governance documents are submitted for the regular audit in early 2012. The updates to our governance documents have been discussed informally with ANSI staff (and the leadership of the ANSI Executive Standards Council) and they have indicated no objections to this improvement in our process.

What happens to any standard that is recognized as an American National Standard (ANS)? Will a revision be required on an earlier timeline?

The Standards Committee of any standard that is currently an ANS will need to explain to the RevCom Administrator during Year 5 whether a revision is in progress, or whether a revision is slated to be completed within the next 5 years. If a revision is not in progress, the Standards Committee shall provide the schedule of work that will lead to a revision. This information will be forwarded to ANSI as an extension request.

How does this process affect IEEE standards that are developed jointly or adopted by other standards development organizations (through the ISO/IEEE PSDO, IEC/IEEE Dual-Logo Agreement, etc.)?

The adoption, joint development or normative reference processes will not change. However, standards that undergo development as a part of the ISO/IEEE PSDO or IEC/IEEE Dual-Logo Agreement will need to coordinate their maintenance timeline with the partner or adopting organization as per the agreements, or defer to the partner or adopting organization’s decision on maintenance. Questions about specific projects should be directed to [email protected].

How does this process affect the adoption by IEEE of standards from other organizations?

There is no change to the process for IEEE adoption of standards from other organizations. IEEE will continue to adopt standards from other SDOs using the existing process shown in Clause 5.6.2 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual. However, once the adopted standards are approved, they are subject to the 10-year maintenance timeline to remain an active IEEE standard. Questions about specific projects should be directed to your Staff Liaison.

Can a revision be done prior to 10 years?

Yes. A Standards Committee and Working Group can conduct the revision of a standard at any time. A revision prior to Year 10 will keep the standard continuously active for another 10-year period after the approval of the revision by the IEEE-SASB.

Can a withdrawal be done prior to 10 years?

Yes. A Standards Committee and Working Group can conduct a withdrawal ballot at any time.

Has the withdrawal process changed?

No. The withdrawal process has not changed.

Are inactive standards available for purchase?

Yes, inactive standards are available for purchase from the IEEE Standards Store.

How will you know the status of an IEEE standard?

The IEEE SA website will show the status of any IEEE standard as a part of the search result.

Were options other than eliminating reaffirmation and stabilization considered? Why was this option preferred?

Yes. Other options, including the option of evaluating a standard through a two-step process, were considered prior to accepting the current process. The Procedures Committee (ProCom) of the IEEE-SASB and an ad hoc of the IEEE-SASB itself considered the various options and determined that the new process was simplest and least taxing on volunteer resources. The new process also allows standards developers to concentrate on keeping IEEE standards relevant, and therefore reduces IEEE’s legal risk associated with outdated standards.

Do Patent Letters of Assurance apply to inactive standards?

Patent Letters of Assurance (LoAs) may not apply to inactive standards. Refer to Clause 6 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Bylaws and Clause 6.3 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual. Additional information is available on the IEEE-SASB Patent Committee website. Related materials

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