Aims and Scope of our Journal “Accreditation and Quality Assurance” (ACQUAL)

Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Jan 2009

Paul De Bièvre, Ernst-Heiner Korte

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Aims and Scope of our Journal “Accreditation and Quality Assurance” (ACQUAL)

Paul De Bie`vre 0 1 Ernst-Heiner Korte 0 1 0 E.-H. Korte (&) ISAS, Bunsen-Kirchhoff-Str. 11, 44139 Dortmund, Germany 1 P. De Bie`vre (&) Kasterlee, Belgium - themselves contain the basic concepts of MiC (and other things as well). Hence these basic concepts of MiC must be carefully elaborated in the Standards. Quality assurance is a process conducted by the laboratory to ensure that these Standards and (consequently) the basic concepts of these Standards are implemented and maintained in the course of time. It seems logical that all of the above concepts should be central in the formulation of the Aims and Scope of a journal with the title Accreditation and Quality Assurance and the subtitle Quality, Comparability and Reliability in Chemical Measurement. Were the Aims and Scope chosen for the Journal and announced in (1996) Accred Qual Assur 1:A2 (inside of front cover), correctly identified as the more important ones? It seems so. But some adjustments are indicated. An important refinement was the introduction in the VIM edition 3:2008 [3] of the concept metrological traceability in order to distinguish it from many other kinds of traceability such as material traceability, sample traceability, product traceability, document traceability. Whenever traceability of measurement results is meant, the new term metrological traceability should be used, also in current parlance. That was therefore also done in this Journal. Probably the concept measurement uncertainty has been the most popular topic in the Journal over the past 13 years, thereby reflecting the entry of the International guide for the expression of measurement uncertainty [4], GUM, in the chemical measurement community. Also, proficiency testing (PT), has been a subject of choice by the authors. Papers describing a validation were rejected in the past when validation was mostly based on Limit of Detection (LOD) and similar figures of merit. Hence a better understanding seems to be needed. In addition, the change in the definition of the concept validation in the revised VIM [3] is likely to stir up more contributions to the Discussion Forum than in the past. Validation should therefore stay in the Aims and Scope. Have all of the announced topics been properly reflected in the Journal? Yes, with some exceptions which enjoyed a rather variable degree of popularity such as certification and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). Were important topics ignored since the start? No, but the insight has increased that metrological concepts can be usefully applied in chemical measurement in biochemistry and biology, as well as in Microbiology. That has had, and must, of necessity, have more repercussions on this Journal. Also, the importance of uncertainty of sampling was stressed as several authors addressed the subject in ACQUAL by their submission of papers on the topic. Have new topics emerged in the course of the last 13 years? Probably, the ambiguityor even straightforward unclarityin matters of proper identification of the measurand(s), especially in biological measurement, is far from having been adequately addressed, let alone resolved. What is certain, is that the Journal was present on the intercontinental scene when two historic changes of paradigm took place: the transition from the thinking in terms of the true value concept with related random and systematic errors, to measurement uncertainty, and the start of the de facto demonstration of the applicability of basic metrological concepts in chemical measurement through the VIM edition 3:2008 [3]. That publication is having a very important consequence for a journal such as ACQUAL: respecting the new Vocabulary too rigidly or too quickly, entails the risk of (temporarily?) distancing authors and readers. But, not respecting the new Vocabulary, thereby slowing its introduction, may even carry a greater risk, nl that it would never been implemented. Particularly important to note in this respect is the explosive development of biochemical and biological measurements where the basic question is: can they be made in a metrological framework? This journal is not only serving the practitioner and the scientist butas stressed nowalso the decision maker. Its scope is explicitly said to be widened from measurements in (analytical) chemistry to measurements in chemical and biological sciences. This enables to take rightfully on board the numerous papers on biological, biomedical, clinical and related measurements. At the occasion of this revision, statistics is given its place in the scope, by adding the key terms applied statistics and statistical simulations. The important term Metrology in Chemistry which could be placed over all of this, even above the main title of the journal, is not (yet) all that popular among practitioners. Gradually, however, it will find its place in prominent position in any list of foci. New key words are reference measurements and reference values as well as purity assessment and sampling, and the serial numbers of Guides and Norms have been replaced by related key words. Aims and Scope now also contain the essential types of articles as well as a selection of application fields. All these changes are the result of discussions between the Editors-in-Chief, the Publishing Editor at SPRINGER (now Steffen Pauly who succeeded Peter Enders in 2008) and consultation of the members of the ACQUAL Editorial and Advisory Boards which now have been merged into a single Intercontinental Editorial Advisory Board. The intention of the editors isand will remainto strive for clarity and transparency in text, table and picture presentations, thus avoiding misunderstandings by the readers and encouraging the authors to provide simple, unambiguous language, all with the purpose of reducing technical barriers to international understanding (TBUs), if not conceptual barriers to intercontinental understanding (CBUs) and therefore technical barriers to global trade (TBTs). We hope that with the collaboration of all, this goal will be achieved. The original task given in the Editorial of Volume 1, Number 1, p. 1 [4] remains valid: Measurements of high quality are not possible without qualified analysts in the field. It is not sufficiently recognized that analysts pursue an important task in society by achieving reliable and accepted chemical measurements. One of the explicit purposes of this journal is to assist the chemical analysts in this task.


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Paul De Bièvre, Ernst-Heiner Korte. Aims and Scope of our Journal “Accreditation and Quality Assurance” (ACQUAL), Accreditation and Quality Assurance, 2009, 1-3, DOI: 10.1007/s00769-008-0481-8