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J Forensic Sci. 2019 Jan;64(1):127-136. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13849. Epub 2018 Jul 5.

The Kodak Syndrome: Risks and Opportunities Created by Decentralization of Forensic Capabilities.

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School of Criminal Sciences, University of Lausanne, Batochime, CH-1015, Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland.
Centre for Forensic Science, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123, Sydney, Australia.


Forensic science laboratories are being challenged by the expanding decentralization of forensic capabilities, particularly for digital traces. This study recommends laboratories undertake digital transformations to capitalize on the decentralization movement, develop a more comprehensive understanding of crime and security-relevant problems, and play a more central role in problem-solving collaboratively with law enforcement organizations and other stakeholders. A framework for the bilateral transfer of information and knowledge is proposed to magnify the impact of forensic science laboratories on abating crime, strengthening security, and reinforcing the criminal justice system. To accomplish digital transformations, laboratories require personnel with different expertise, including investigative reasoning, knowledge codification, data analytics, and forensic intelligence. Ultimately, this study encourages managers, educators, researchers, and policymakers to look beyond the usefulness of forensic results for solving individual investigations, and to realize the value of combined forensic knowledge and intelligence for developing broader strategies to deal with crime in digitalized society.


Kodak syndrome; big data analysis; forensic intelligence; forensic science; intelligence-led strategies; knowledge management; problem-oriented policing; systematic knowledge reuse


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