FAQs

Most commonly asked questions about the IEEE Standards Association, its programs, products, services and processes.

What is a normative reference in an IEEE standard?
Normative references are those documents that contain material that must be understood and used to implement the standard, so normative references are indispensable when applying the standard. Normative references are listed in Clause 2 of an IEEE standard and shall be cited in a clause within the standard as a source of mandatory requirements.

See Clause 6.4.6 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual and Clause 12.3 of the IEEE SA Standards Style Manual.

 

What documents can be normatively referenced?
IEEE and other nationally or internationally recognized standards developing organizations (SDOs) are preferred as the source of normative references. However documents such as those listed below can be normatively referenced if they meet the criteria for normative references.

  • Standards
  • Non-standards documents
  • Draft standards
  • Withdrawn standards
  • Open Source

See Clause 12.3.1 of the IEEE SA Standards Style Manual.

 

What are the criteria for normative references?
The following criteria apply to normative references:

  • The material is judged by the balloting group to have wide acceptance and authoritative status.
  • The normative reference is publicly available at a reasonable cost.
  • The normatively referenced material does not contain commercial terms and conditions.
  • Normatively referenced Open Source shall be hosted on the IEEE Open Source Platform.

Normative references can be dated or undated. An undated reference means that the most recent version of the material is to be used. Working Groups are expected to review undated references to determine if they continue to apply, or whether the reference should be changed to a dated reference.

 

Responsibility of participant for normative references in an IEEE standard

What duty does a participant have to IEEE if they recommend that material from a document be normatively referenced in an IEEE standard?
The participant recommending the material as a normative reference shall ensure that the material being proposed meets the requirement for normative references as outlined in Clause 12.3 of the IEEE SA Standards Style Manual. In addition, the participant shall inform the Working Group of any commercial terms and conditions of which they are aware within the proposed material when recommending the document as a normative reference or as soon as the participant becomes aware of any commercial terms and conditions within the proposed material after making the recommendation. 

Commercial terms and conditions are not permitted in IEEE standards, nor in normatively referenced material in documents listed as normative references in an IEEE standard. See Clause 6.2 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual for the requirements regarding commercial terms and conditions.

 

When submitting a Contribution or recommending a non-IEEE standard or other document as a normative reference, what is the responsibility of the contributor? What is the responsibility of other participants and balloters?
The contributor shall inform the Working Group of any commercial terms and conditions in any Contribution they make to an IEEE standards activity (including material recommended to be normatively referenced) of which the contributor is aware. The contributor shall inform the Working Group at submission of the Contribution or as soon as they become aware thereafter.

Other participants and balloters should promptly inform the Working Group Chair of any commercial terms and conditions in any draft IEEE standard of which they are aware, including normatively referenced material in any document listed as a normative reference. The Working Group shall remove the commercial terms and conditions from the draft and/or remove the normative reference and citation to the normatively referenced material identified. The Working Group Chair may confer with the IEEE SA Program Manager to determine whether a Legal Review is required before taking action on the comment. 

Commercial terms and conditions are not permitted in IEEE standards or in normatively referenced material in a document listed as a normative reference in an IEEE standard. See Clause 6.2 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual for the requirements regarding commercial terms and conditions.

 

What are some implications of normatively referencing a non-IEEE standard in an IEEE standard?
Normative referencing of a non-IEEE standard, or material in a non-IEEE standard, in an IEEE standard could result in material being incorporated into the IEEE standard that has not been developed under principles and policies that would meet those of IEEE.

When an IEEE standard normatively references a standard developed by another SDO, the technical content of the referenced standard is incorporated by reference in the IEEE standard. Working Groups should be aware that the policies governing the other SDO’s development process (for example, policies on commercial terms and conditions) apply to the referenced standard. Because nationally or internationally recognized standards development organizations are more likely to adhere to principles and policies similar to those of IEEE, Clause 6.4.6 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual states that “IEEE and other nationally or internationally recognized standards developing organizations (SDOs) are preferred as the source of normative references,” but standards developed by other organizations are not precluded from being referenced.

 

Responsibility of the comment resolution committee

During the SA ballot, what should be the response to a comment regarding concerns about commercial terms and conditions in the draft or in a normative reference?
All normatively referenced material in documents listed as normative references in IEEE standards are expected to meet the restrictions on commercial terms and conditions described in Clause 6.2 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual. If a ballot comment identifies commercial terms and conditions in the draft or within material that is normatively referenced, the comment resolution group shall remove the commercial terms and conditions from the draft and/or remove the normative reference and citation to the normatively referenced material identified. The  comment resolution group may confer with the Program Manager to determine whether a Legal Review is required before taking action on the comment.

Commercial terms and conditions are not permitted in IEEE standards, nor in normatively referenced material in documents listed as normative references in an IEEE standard. See Clause 6.2 of the IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual for the requirements regarding commercial terms and conditions.