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Combining and Reporting Analytical Results

A. Fajgelj, M. Belli, and Umberto Sansone (eds.)

The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2006
[ISBN 0 85404 848 0;
ISBN-13 978 0 85404 848 9]

This book contains lectures presented at the international workshop on "Combining and Reporting Analytical Results - The Role of (metrological) Traceability and (measurement) Uncertainty for Comparing Analytical Results", held from 6 to 8 March 2006 in Rome, Italy. The IUPAC Interdivisional Working Party on Harmonization of Quality Assurance and the Italian Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services have cooperated in organization of this event.

The idea for this workshop originated from editors' long term experience and observations at various meetings of different technical/scientific organizations and groups, where analytical (measurement) results are considered. Almost all organizations face similar problems when the analytical results are to be combined and reported, regardless of their "metrological level", being a field laboratory, producer of reference materials, proficiency testing organizer or even a national metrology institute. Combining measurement results obtained by one analyst in one laboratory employing one measurement procedure, using one measurement technique is the starting point, and the two questions: "How to report the associated measurement uncertainty and how to establish and demonstrate the metrological traceability of combined results?" are the major points of concern. The complexity of these questions expands with the increasing number of measurement procedure/techniques, number of laboratories and measurement results that need to be considered. The problems described are not at all new. In recent years, however, in following the latest developments on the international measurement scene, in fulfilling requirements for laboratory accreditation according to international standards, e.g. ISO/IEC 17025, as well as ISO Guides 34, and 43 related to formal demonstration of competence of reference materials producers and proficiency testing organizers, more attention has been paid to metrological traceability and measurement uncertainty as two important quality components of measurement results. A wide international interest in the topics covered by the workshop program is reflected in the number of cosponsoring organizations, namely: Centro Svillupo Materiali. S.p.A (CMS), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Consultative Committee for Amount of Substance - Metrology in Chemistry (CCQM), International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the Co-operation on International Traceability in Analytical Chemistry (CITAC), the ISO Committee on Reference Materials (ISO REMCO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). All these organizations were represented by speakers at the workshop and have contributed papers for this book.

The contributions in this book provide an overview of current practices used in different laboratories from different scientific fields to combine and report measurement results, at the same time describing some basic scientific considerations as well as discussions related to legislative aspects. Practical examples from, environmental monitoring laboratories, reference material producers, clinical chemistry, as well as from the top metrological level, e.g. key comparisons and pilot studies organized in support and to enable comparability of measurement and calibration results at world-wide level, are included. The contributions in this book were prepared by scientists from laboratories dealing daily with sets of measurement results, their combination and reporting. We hope that the reader will be able to extract information for her/his own specific case and be able to apply it in practice. Taking into account that there will never be only one way of combining and reporting measurement results, this book is not a classical text book and critical reading is required.

This is the sixth book in a series based on the work of the IUPAC Interdivisional Working Party on Harmonization of Quality Assurance. Also this time the IUPAC's role in achieving consensus was followed by bringing together technical experts so that they could share their experience and expertise. Co-operation with other organizations is essential for making any significant progress on an international scale. Besides the above listed co-sponsoring organizations, substantial support and contribution to the successful organization of the workshop came this time from the IUPAC Secretariat and the Analytical Chemistry Division and locally from the Italian Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services (APAT) and Centro Sviluppo Materiali S.p.A (CSM). We are especially grateful to Ms. S. Rosamilia, Mr. F. Falcioni, Mr. P. de Zorzi, Ms. G. Gelati, Ms. T. Guagnini and Mr. F. Babalini for the excellent conditions provided during the workshop and Mr. A. De Maio, the Director of APAT Environmental Department for his support.

This book provides an overview of current practices on calculating, combining and reporting sets of measurement results, including their associated measurement uncertainty and deals with the concept of metrological traceability in different measurement fields, thus enabling the reader to better understand specifics and quality of his/her own measurement results.

With worked examples the reader will get an overview of current practices used in laboratories dealing daily with sets of measurement results, their combination and reporting. This book will help the reader to extract information for their own specific case and to critically evaluate the quality of the data understanding that there will never be only one way of combining and reporting measurement results.

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<book announcement to be published in Chem. Int. >

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