[LINK] Australian standards blocked from open access

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Jul 8 09:12:45 AEST 2009

Standards Australia and SAI Global have received the results of 
arbitration over the publishing and distribution rights for 
Australian Standards: 

The result is that SAI Global has exclusive publishing rights for 
standards issued by Standards Australia, even those standards 
developed by a third party. The effect of this would appear to 
preclude the provision of any SA endorsed standards in an open access 
format free online.

To avoid such issues, when asked to help draft a standard, I now 
first check that the standard will be available open access online. 
If the standard is not going to be free online, then I decline to 
take part in the development. Organisations such as W3C, IETF and 
OASIS make their standards freely available. Versions of these 
standards may later be made into government endorsed standards, but 
the text remains available.

The agreement between SA and SAI Global seems to preclude open access 
to standards, even where those standards were made by an independent 
body and then put through the SA process. I will therefore be 
declining to take part in any standards making through Standards 
Australia. I recommend that my colleagues in the ICT industry also 
consider withdrawing support for SA processes, due to the detrimental 
effect this closed process will have on the Australian ICT industry.

I will be asking the professional bodies I am a member of to withdraw 
funding and support from SA and transfer it to other standards making 
bodies which do not impose restrictions on access to standards. Also 
I will be asking my professional bodies to ask the Australian 
Government to withdraw endorsement and funding from Standards 
Australia for standards making.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  

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