What Happens to a Standard After Approval?
So once a standard has been developed, balloted, and approved, is there more to do? Well, yes! Publication and other future developments need to be considered.
When a standard has been approved, it is not yet complete. It will receive a thorough, detailed edit from a professional IEEE standards editor. The role of an editor is to ensure that the standard is grammatically and syntactically correct using American English. It is not an editor’s role to make any changes that affect the technical meaning of the standard?indeed, this is not allowed. The editor can, however, make rewordings, editorial changes, and formatting changes to assist in publication of the standard. The editor also ensures that the document meets the rules for IEEE standards style as outlined in the IEEE Standards Style Manual (PDF).
The editor normally works with a primary contact point for the Working Group (usually the chair or technical editor). The editor will discuss any questions or potentially problematic changes with this contact. The contact will also receive pages of the final standard to review and approve prior to publication.
Sometimes during the process of review the editor or the Working Group will find errors in the approved standard. Glaringly obvious typographical errors are fixed, but sometimes these errors consist of things like incorrect numbers in an equation, an incorrectly drawn figure, or a major misstatement in a paragraph. It is the IEEE editor’s job to determine if these changes are editorial and can be made straightforwardly. By the very nature of their job, the editors are conservative in their acknowledgment of these requests for technical changes or corrections. In many cases, the action taken will be to go to the next RevCom meeting that occurs during publication preparation and ask for RevCom’s review and opinion of the technical change. If RevCom approves the technical change, it can be made. If not, it has to be saved for an amendment or a future revision. (Keep in mind that if more straightforward typos are found after publication, an errata sheet can be issued at that time.)
The Working Group chair or a delegate is responsible for reviewing the edited and formatted pages from which the published standard will be printed. This thorough review should ensure that no errors have crept into the document during the editorial and publishing process. This review is usually made in a timely fashion to facilitate publication of the standard. After review and inclusion of any changes, the document can be published and disseminated as an IEEE standard.
Many draft standards today are being developed in various electronic word processing programs. The IEEE SA also uses such programs, and it’s crucial that you contact and work with the IEEE standards staff throughout the standard’s development to ensure that the program you are using is compatible with IEEE. The IEEE Standards Style Manual (PDF) details many of the types of electronic forms that are acceptable, but you should always double-check with the department first.
Some groups may want to produce an electronic product along with their standard, such as computer code that the standard requires you to implement. In these cases, the groups should let their IEEE project editor know as soon as possible what it is they would like to do so that work on that can begin promptly.
Once your standard has been approved and published, your primary task is completed. In many cases, Working Groups are dissolved, or they may move on to developing other standards.