Charter and Bylaws


To publish, maintain, and promote the Unified Code for Units of Measure.

Stakeholder and Contributor Roles

The UCUM Organization is a volunteer organization that recognizes contributors based on their contribution to the mission of the Organization. The following roles are recognized:

  1. "The Public:" observers, users, or anyone with interest in UCUM.
  2. "Registered User of the Web Site:" the UCUM work is centered around its web site The published material is open for the public to view and download, etc. But in order to engage with proposals and discussions one must register as a user. To register, go to the web site and search the word Register on the top menu or directly go to the URL Registered users may view and submit change requests, other suggestions or questions as tickets. The chief process of interacting with the UCUM organization is through tickets.
  3. "Verified Contributor:" someone who has contributed meaningfully with a proposal or thoughtful question (usually by submitting a relevant ticket) should be promoted to become a verified user. Promotion to verified user status ”should” be performed manually by a user with administrator privileges.
  4. "Advisors:" the decision-making body of the UCUM Organization is the Board of Advisors (or in short "the Board"). The Board of Advisors may elect other members to the Board (or remove from the board) by a simple majority. The duties of a member of the Board of Advisors are to engage in the decision making process of the UCUM Organization. Decisions may be technical or organizational in nature. To be eligible to become a member of the Board of Advisor, an individual must:
    • have expertise in a relevant subject matter of units of measures
    • must understand the technical subject matter to be able to
      • adjudicate changes and
      • explain the technical reasoning behind changes.
    • must have been and continue to be supportive of UCUM, and
      • must promote and not undermine UCUM when being involved of competing activity A member of the Board of Advisors should be actively contributing commensurable to the actual activity of the UCUM Organization.
  5. "Administrator:" a user may have administrator privileges which allow them to manage the web site content or assign privileges to other members.
  6. "Chairman of the Board:" the Board of Advisors elects a Chairman of the Board.
  7. "Ex Officio and Honorary Board Member:" the Board has
    • one ex-officio member who is a member of the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., which is the Copyright holder of UCUM along with the UCUM Organization.
    • the Founders, Gunther Schadow and Clem McDonald, are honorary members of the Board until their resignation.
  8. "Secretary:" volunteers or employees of organizational volunteers who offer clerical and organizational management services to the UCUM organization are recognized as secretaries. A secretary may be given administrator privileges on the web site. Secretary is a title recognized and granted by the Board of Advisors, who may elect and remove secretaries. A secretary is not automatically an ex-officio member of the Board of Advisors and the role of Secretary confers no voting privileges.
  9. "Editor:" are registered users with write access to the UCUM specification repository and the ability to apply changes to the UCUM specification and the publishing of updated versions. Editors are added or removed by the Board of Advisors and must be board members or secretaries.

Decision Making

It is in the nature of the field of Units of Measure that it is very stable and maintenance activity may be very low. For this reason, the UCUM Organization is constituted as a light-weight organization. The central interaction device for all decision making is an active management web site, Face to face or telephone meetings are held minimally. There are no standing meetings.

All decisions are made by the Board of Advisors by simple majority.

Organizational Decisions

Organizational Decisions are decisions which alter the structure or bylaws of the organization or grant roles such as secretaries and editors, must be made with at least the chairman of the Board, one ex-officio member present and two other board members voting (not abstaining) in a real time discussion via telephone or per discussion convened electronically on the web site. All members of the Board of Advisors must be notified with motions to change bylaws or organization submitted in writing on the web site at least 30 days prior to the voting.

The process for decisions of the Board is as follows:

  1. A Board member moves by submitting a ticket of type "board motion"
    • selecting the component "organization" for the ticket if it is an organizational motion.
    • If it is a technical motion, see below for "Technical Decisions".
    • Only Board members can submit board motions.
    • The chairman may move.
  2. Once placed the motion is open for discussion by Board Members submitting ticket comments.
    • Any Board member who accepts or starts commenting other than rejecting the motion outright does the equivalent of "seconding the motion"
    • There is no need of uttering the word "second".
    • The chairman may second, no need to wait for someone else to second.
  3. When discussion reaches its end the chairman calls the question
    • "call the question!" is not a means of ending a protracted discussion.
  4. To vote, board members comment "yay" or "nay" or "abstain"
    • The default voting period is one week.
    • Voting may be expedited to end one day after 2/3 of board members have voted.
    • All Board members are expected to vote of Board motions.
    • The chairman may vote.
  5. The chairman counts the votes and declares the motion for passed or failed.
    • To pass, the number of "yay"s must be greater than the number of "nay"s.

Technical Decisions

Technical Decisions are made on tickets by at least two (2) board members documenting assent to the proposal. When only one board member engages in the adjudication and no other board member weighs in in opposition, the decision of the single board member may be implemented. However, decisions by a single board member cannot bind the UCUM Organization to implement this decision if the single board member so deciding does not himself implement the decision.

All technical decisions are made on a ticket which may be submitted by any user of the UCUM web site (even non-verified new users). A ticket must be accepted by a board member to be turned into action. Any verified user can comment on tickets by commenting on the ticket. Board members can decide on the ticket status.

The process of action on a technical ticket is as follows:

  1. A board member or secretary reviews the request and triages it.
    • Possibly revising the category.
    • Drafting a quick excerpt of the essence of the request and proposes one of the determinations:
  2. Accept, in which case the Board member or secretary will be the owner and make a concrete change proposal to the specification.
    • A ticket cannot be accepted without a concrete change proposal to the specification.
    • Other board members ”should” review and opine to the change.
    • If the proposal was accepted by a secretary, at least one board member must approve the proposal.
  3. Reject, in which case the Board member or secretary will give a rationale to the proposal to reject.
    • The status of such tickets are "reject_proposed".
    • At least one other board member needs to agree with the rejection proposal, in which case the next status will be "wontfix" (will not change).
    • The registered user who submitted the ticket may provide further comment and justification, thus disputing the rejection decision.
    • If the rejection decision is disputed, another board member may adopt the ticket and take it to Reconsider status, but such board member must then accept the responsibility of seeing the change request through.
    • A proposal for reconsideration must be actionable, it must explain how the issue can be resolved, how the concerns of the rejecting board member can be addressed, the emphasis is "how" not just "why".
  4. Other statuses may exist to determine that the request is not actionable or doesn’t identify a specific change need, is out of scope or suggests a problem that is not a real problem. These determinations can be made by one board member or secretary.

The web site can be used to create ticket reports. The "timeline" function of the web site, and most ticket information can only be seen by registered users; this is necessary and highly effective to prevent ticket spam, i.e., by removing the pay-off for a spammer to place spam tickets: links they place in their spam tickets will not end up on search engines.


The UCUM specification’s source code is maintained in a public Git repository. Anyone may clone or fork the respository and submit pull requests for potential inclusion.

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