Appropriate Use and Reporting of NIST Test Report Numbers
Many customers have inquired as to the use of NIST test report numbers. This is an
age old practice that has no basis in any quality standard and their reporting has
been suspended by most calibration facilities.
The reporting of a "NIST number" does not provide proof that the measurement value
is traceable. This has been addressed by the metrology community as follows:
National Conference of Standards Laboratories (NCSL) Position Statement 96-1:
"It is the position of the National Conference of Standards Laboratories (NCSL) that:
Test report numbers issued by the (NIST) of the (US Dept of Comm) are intended to be used soley for administrative purposes. Although they are often used to uniquely identify documents which bear evidence of traceability, test report numbers should not be used nor required as proof of the adequacy or traceability of a test or measurement.
National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NAVLAP) Policy PG-1-1998
"Citation of a NIST test number by the calibration service provider is likewise not acceptable evidence of verification of traceability."
NIST Definition of Traceability:
"...having an authentic number does not provide complete assurance or evidence that the measurement value provided by another organization is traceable."
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