Perhaps it has been studied already. Perhaps it is more of a PhD chapter, short paper or indeed a case for public interest litigation. Stephanie Bijlmakers and I had a good moan about the lack of access to ISO standards when we wrote on ISO 26000. I now have encountered again how extraordinary it is that the public do not have free access to industry standards with such high societal relevance. The trigger this time round is one of our PhD students enquiring with me about recyclable content in packaging. This has sent me on a goose chase to gain access to a copy without having to fork out £170 each for 5 relevant CEN standards.
So here’s my research starter for ten: could and if so under what circumstances can privately developed yet publicly approved standards be considered environmental information under relevant EU and international rules, access to which needs to be granted without charge?
2 Replies to “Looking for a PhD or paper topic? Public interest litigation and access to industry standards.”
Geert, I share your frustration, but I assume that standard setting organisations want to regain a portion of the costs involved in the development of standards. And being accessible does not imply that standards should be made available for free (especially as they are used by corporations to demonstrate compliance with relevant laws).
Txs Wim! Therein lies a solution me thinks: charging companies a licence fee for use of the standard in conformity assessment.