A Template for Enhancing the Impact of the National Academy of Sciences' Reporting on Forensic Science

Amelia Shooter, Sarah Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), established in 1863, is the United States’ leading science and technology think-tank, with an active commitment to advising government. Over the last 150 years, the NAS has, both independently and in conjunction with the federal government, investigated and reported on various issues of importance, ranging from space exploration and biosecurity, to STEM education and immigration. Due to growing concerns about particular disciplines (and specifically their application in legal proceedings), one issue the NAS has reported on between 1992 and 2009 is forensic science. Specifically, the NAS has published six reports commenting on the status of forensic science evidence in the USA, namely DNA Technology in Forensic Science (1992), The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence (1996), The Polygraph and Lie Detection (2003), Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence (2004), Ballistic Imaging (2008), and Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009). The response of stakeholders (including from political, legal, and academic spheres) to these reports has varied, ranging from shifts in practice and full acknowledgement, to considerable struggles to effectuate systemic reform. Using the different experiences of two reports – Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence (2004) and Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009) – as a vehicle, this article suggests how the NAS can strengthen the impact of its forensic science reporting, and how
stakeholders can better harness the expertise of the NAS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of American Legal Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2019


  • National Academy of Sciences
  • Forensic science
  • Reporting
  • Stakeholder responses

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