W3C Icon, linked to the W3C Home page Roles of W3C Offices

*** This page has been replaced by http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Offices/about/role/  which is now the definitive page for the Roles of W3C Offices. ***


A W3C Office is a regional arm that helps recruit Members and promote W3C technology. The primary roles of a W3C Office are to:

  1. Recruit stake-holders in the region by introducing them to W3C, developing relationships with local technology or policy leaders, and guiding organizations through the steps for joining W3C. The W3C Offices play an important role in maintaining W3C’s Membership base, which is fundamental to W3C's operations.
  2. Provide support for existing W3C Members in the region.
  3. Provide feedback to W3C on regional issues (for example, in support of W3C's Internationalization Activity).
  4. Promote the adoption of W3C Recommendations with a particular attention to the local languages and cultures.
  5. Initiate translations and help others translate W3C materials and promote their dissemination.


W3C plays an increasingly important role in developing core Web standards. To ensure that W3C continues to produce standards that meet the needs of the global community, W3C must:

The Offices play a key role in helping W3C reach these goals.

Hosting Institutions

A W3C Office represents one or more countries or regions and is “hosted” by an organization that is vendor-neutral. Each hosting institution of a W3C Office has a contractual relationship with W3C. W3C uses the following criteria when considering a host institution for an Office:

Vendor Neutrality
Like W3C itself, a W3C Office must be vendor neutral. Typically, a W3C Office is hosted by a research center, a university department, or a technology transfer institution.
Contributing W3C Members
The synergy between contributing to W3C work and promoting this work is at the heart of the W3C Office concept. The institution has to have a proven record with W3C technologies (as users and, we hope, as contributors as well).
Established Network of Contacts
Effective promotion in a region relies on an established regional network of contacts. These contacts should include research institutions, local industry, governmental bodies, and press.

Benefits to Host Institutions

Institutions that host a W3C Office benefit from the relationship in a number of ways:

It is the responsibility of the Office Manager and staff to maintain close contacts within the host institution, to ensure the integration of the Office into the host institution, and to communicate W3C news to the host institution. In return, Office staff generally call on host institutions for local expertise and for help in organizing tutorials and other events.

Starting a W3C Office

Launching and running a W3C Office involves a significant investment from W3C and the host organization, in terms of time, money, and human resources. W3C decides to set up an Office only after careful consideration. Two important factors when considering to set up an Office are:

W3C creates an Office when the W3C Management approves a proposal from a qualifying host institution to the Coordinator of Offices.

The Offices receive between 15% and 25% of the membership fees paid by W3C members in their respective region/country during the first 3 years of the membership (the exact amount depends on the date when the member joins W3C: 25% for the first year, 20% for the second, and 15% for the third year).

Staffing a W3C Office

Each W3C Office has an “Office Manager” responsible for running the Office. This manager is nominated by the host organization, and is approved by the Coordinator of Offices at W3C. An Office operates with typically one full time equivalent; often that time is divided up among several people. At least one person in the staff should have a thorough understanding of the technical work of W3C.

Principal Activities of a W3C Office

A W3C Office develops and maintains local relationships in a number of ways:

Communications Channels

A W3C Office employs a number of communications mechanisms to carry out their activities:

While Offices maintain close contacts to their host institutions, they also must ensure that they can represent W3C positions both in public presentations and when speaking with the press.

A set of overview slides, presentation and promotional materials, etc, are at the disposal of the Offices. Offices use and translate these materials to use it in their own presentations and work. Offices also actively improve and share these resources with one another and with the core W3C Staff.

W3C Offices Meetings

All W3C Office managers participate in a monthly teleconference to discuss current problems, tasks, etc. These phone conferences often include a short overview on one of the W3C activities by a member of the W3C team. These meetings are chaired by the Coordinator of Offices, who acts as a bridge between the offices and the rest of the W3C Team.

Office managers also attend an annual face-to-face meeting (traditionally in January). W3C pays the costs of one person per Office to attend this annual meeting.

Klaus Birkenbihl, Coordinator of W3C Offices (Klaus@w3.org)
(originally from: Ivan Herman, former Head of W3C Offices (Ivan@w3.org))
Last revised: $Date: 2013-08-28 14:58:05 $