DRAFT Guidelines for Establishing Partnerships with W3C
This document is deprecated. See instead the
formal liaisons process of the W3C
Process Document as of June 2003.
- This version:
- Tim Berners-Lee,
- Ian Jacobs, <email@example.com>
- Joseph Reagle,
- Last modified:
- $Date: 2003/06/19 16:37:18 $
In order to promote architectural consistency between technologies
developed within the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C) and those developed by other organizations
writing specifications for information technologies, W3C wishes to
institute a process for creating Partnerships with these
organizations. This document describes the general goals of
Partnerships - harmonization of specifications, open exchange of
information, quality, and trust - and proposes additions to the W3C Process Document about
the creation of such Partnerships.
Status of this Document
This document is a draft document based on numerous discussions
and proposals, including
March 1999 Advisory Board Meeting (Team and AB only), the
August 1999 Advisory Board Meeting (Team and AB only), a
proposal by Ian Jacobs
(Team only), and a proposal by Tim Berners-Lee.
From time to time, the W3C Team or Members will perceive the need
for a Partnership with a peer organization or standards body. In a
number of situations, coordination would benefit both parties,
- The development of a technology that plays a similar role to, but is not
interoperable with, a technology developed by W3C or the potential
Partner. The goal of such a
partnership would be to prevent market fragmentation.
- The application of a W3C technology to a new domain. The goal of such a
partnership would be to promote deployment of W3C technologies and
understand requirements from new domains.
- The development of complementary technologies. This type of partnership
would help resolve mutual dependencies.
Partnerships are not meant to substitute for W3C Membership;
organizations will continue to join W3C to pursue W3C
Activities. Partnerships allow similar organizations to pursue related
goals (e.g., technical specifications) to their mutual benefit.
Partnerships are likely to vary from organization to organization, so
the goals and processes described herein are designed to be
flexible. They will be refined as W3C learns from experience.
The W3C is an open organization in that it:
- encourages the participation of all organizations and
individuals that can contribute substantively to specifications,
- focuses on achieving group consensus among peers, and
- works to ensure the timely delivery of high quality
technical specifications that have undergone public review.
All W3C Recommendations are public and their ultimate success
relies upon the voluntary adoption and implementation by that same
public: the Web community. In order to collaborate with partners in
an environment that fosters openness, consensus, and wide distribution
of specifications, W3C requests that potential partners agree to the
following general principles for work carried out as part
of the partnership.
- Public process
- The Partner agrees to make public process and membership information.
This includes a
publicly documented position on its membership and partnership policies
that permits widespread participation of all interested parties within
its scope of activity. W3C declines to partner with organizations that have
selective or arbitrary membership policies that serve only to benefit
pre-existing or dominant member organizations.
- Decision by consensus
- Groups operating within a Partnership
agree to reach consensus in order to provide a
single solution acceptable to both Partners and
the market at large. Where
unanimity is not possible, minority opinions are archived.
- Specifications widely available and free of charge
A Partner agrees to allow its peers to archive/mirror
specifications and also to
make them available, with clear attribution of the source, in the event
the organization cannot.
- Peer review
- A Partner agrees to have joint work reviewed by peers at
appropriate/documented milestones to ensure compatibility and
likewise to review the work of peers. The Partner agrees
to negotiate changes deemed necessary by reviewers.
- Public review
- The Partner agrees to solicit and respond
to comments made during periods of public review.
- The organization archives all discussion and input to its work.
- Reasonable and non-discriminatory IPR
- The Partner recognizes W3C's preference that specifications
be unencumbered by intellectual property rights claims. Where such claims
exist, public disclosures should be made as early as possible.
Technology developed through the collaboration must be
available to the public under reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing
- Promotion of interoperability
- The Partner's mission promotes the technical,
institutional, or social evolution and interoperability of distributed
For any partnership, both W3C and the Partner must agree to at
least the following for work carried out as part of the
- To make available to each other
all information pertinent to the joint effort.
- To ensure public distribution of intermediate and final versions
- To respect the confidentiality of sensitive information shared
within a Working Group. Willingness by all parties
to protect such information fosters trust and may allow Working Groups
to get work done more quickly. However, those involved should not lose
sight of the ultimate goal of open and public specifications.
- To disclose any IPR claims related to the joint effort.
- To coordinate all public statements and press releases related to the
In addition, the Partner must agree to at least the following:
This more formal section proposes the details for initiating,
reviewing, and accepting a Partnership and resembles the Process for
Creating an Activity described in the W3C Process Document.
In order for a Partnership to take effect, both W3C and the Partner must
approve a proposed Partnership
Analogous to the creation of a W3C
Activity, the Director proposes a Partnership to the Advisory
Committee for review, referring by URL to a Partnership Agreement that has been
jointly assembled. The proposal must also indicate the review schedule
and deadline for ballots. The Advisory Committee will review the
proposal (e.g., for one month), after which the Director will decide the
outcome of the proposal.
As part of the Partnership review, AC representatives must make
known in their ballots whether their organization is also a member of
the Partner organization. If so, they must include the name of the
individual who represents their organization in the returned
ballot. Also, AC representatives should disclose relevant IPR claims
according to W3C's IPR policy.
Joint work with the Partner will be carried out in:
- a single Working Group, when the work falls with the charter of that
- a Coordination Group, when the work spans several WGs.
The Director will name a W3C Team member as the Partnership Lead for all
formal communication between W3C and the Partner.
At least before each regularly scheduled Advisory Committee meeting, the
W3C Partnership Lead is responsible for updating a Partnership Statement (like
an Activity Statement) that describes the state of the Partnership, goals
achieved, deliverables produced, etc.
As both W3C and the Partner must have access to a joining Partnership
Agreement, this document must be available on the Web with appropriate access
rights. A Partnership Agreement must answer the following questions:
- What are the names and addresses of the Partners (W3C and the other
- What is the background of the relationship between W3C and the Partner?
Why is this liaison being proposed now? What is the market within the area
of the proposal? What organizations, products, or standards currently
exists in the market? Is the market mature/growing/developing a niche?
What competing technologies exist? Are there competing organizations?
- What are the goals of liaison (e.g., convergence of technologies,
exchange of information, development of new architecture)?
- What technologies will be the object of this work? What technologies do
these depend on? Are dependent on?
- What is the scope of the liaison (e.g., topics covered, topics not
- What is the duration of liaison?
- What process will govern the joint effort, W3C or Liaison? (e.g., will a
document be part of the W3C Recommendation track or some other?)
- What are the foreseen deliverables based on the liaison?
- What are the requirements from the Partners on the deliverables (e.g.,
IPR requirements, must use XLink, etc.).
- Which groups will manage the liaison? (e.g., within W3C, which Working
Group or Coordination Group?)
- What process will be used to resolve disputes?
- What resources from the Partners will be allocated to the joint
- What IPR policy will be associated with the deliverables? For example,
will the copyright on deliverables resulting from the joint effort be held
jointly by the Partners?
- What milestones are foreseen for the Partnership?
- Do the Partner and W3C (or other standards bodies)
share a similar relationship with other consortia,
organizations, or Members?
See the following for examples of such relationships: