May 29, 2022

Reference Manual On Scientific Evidence For Judges Updated; New Chapters Include Neuroscience, Mental Health, And Forensic Science

Although this reference resource was written for judges it will likely be of interest to legal researchers, journalists, teachers, students, and others. The full text is available online for free. It’s also keyword searchable.

From the National Research Council:

The National Research Council has released the third edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence.  Developed to guide judges as they encounter scientific evidence at trials, it replaces an edition published in 2000 and includes new chapters on areas such as neuroscience, mental health, and forensic science.  The new manual was developed in collaboration with the Federal Judicial Center, which produced the previous editions, and was rigorously peer-reviewed in accordance with the procedures of the National Research Council.


Scientific advances continually introduce new fields, tests, and approaches in the courtroom.  For example, the manual notes how DNA technology has called into question many earlier convictions, which has resulted in the re-examination of several time-worn forensic science techniques such as bullet matching and fingerprint identification.  “The report’s new chapters should provide an important tool for assessing evidence in several rapidly advancing fields,” said committee co-chair Jerome P. Kassirer, Distinguished Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine.

Chapters on topics such as epidemiology, statistics, and engineering have been updated or reshaped.  Each provides an overview of principles and methods of the science from which legal evidence is typically derived and examples of cases in which such evidence was presented.

The manual was sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Starr Foundation.  The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.

Direct to Full Text Book (Searchable; 1038 pages)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.