Standards Australia has announced it will look to improve access to standards in the wake of a ruling that SAI Global will no longer have exclusive distribution rights.
In late December 2018, an independent arbitration determined that any extended distribution agreement with SAI Global will be non-exclusive. This means that Standards Australia can now take steps to move beyond the arrangements that have been in place with SAI Global since 2003.
Exactly what this means for the distribution of standards – and how it could affect their pricing – remains to be seen. Standards Australia says it is committed to getting to the end of this process as quickly as it can, sometime later this year. In the meantime, standards will continue to be distributed through SAI Global.
Standards Australia’s Chairman Richard Brooks describes the arbitration decision as an exciting step towards delivering greater value and improving access.
“Standards Australia has been aiming to make Australian communities safer, help our economy grow and connect our nation to the world for almost 100 years,” Brooks says.
“Improving every aspect of our work – from how we connect with contributors, to how we foster innovation and how we distribute our content – has been a major part of our agenda.
“However, as the world of publishing changes, we must also change to continue our strong, positive contribution to the community and empower those who use our content.”
The comments hint at a review not just of pricing, but also of the format of the standards, which currently are provided only in hard copy and in PDF. With today’s technology offering much more sophisticated digital reading software, many feel there should be more up-to-date and user-friendly ways of accessing the standards.
Standards Australia says it is exploring additional distribution channels as the first stage of its transition. The second stage of transition will start with an open process of consultation with stakeholders to understand how the current and future distribution models can deliver easier access for those who use Standards Australia’s content.
Standards Australia’s CEO Bronwyn Evans says that input will be keenly sought in this process.
“This is an opportunity to design a Standards Australia of the future that relies on all interested stakeholders, whose support and contribution will be vital in the improvement and innovation in the distribution of Australian standards,” she says.
“We strongly believe we can deliver better solutions by working together.”
Standards Australia says it will provide more details about this consultation over the coming months.