W3C TAG Contributor Policies

copyright · document roles

This document describes the contributor and copyright policies associated with products of the W3C Technical Architecture Group.

TAG participants who are not employees of a W3C Member organization must agree to the W3C invited expert and collaborators agreement (per section 4.2.3 of the W3C Process Document).


Technical reports published by the TAG will bear the following copyright notice:

Copyright  © 2002 W3C (MIT, INRIA, Keio), All Rights Reserved. W3C liability, trademark, document use and software licensing rules apply.

TAG participants who are not willing to contribute under these terms must refrain from doing so and notify the Chair as to the reason why.

Note: Patent disclosures must be made by TAG participants as discussed on the TAG patent disclosure page.

Document roles

The TAG charter sets expectations that all TAG participants are expected to contribute to Architectural Recommendations:

W3C Members are encouraged to nominate individuals who: ...[a]re available to spend approximately 25% percent of their time writing and resolving issues.

This document describes three levels of contribution towards written work: Editor, Author, and Contributor.

Editors are responsible for reflecting the proposals and consensus of the WG within the specification. From section 5.2 of the W3C Process Document, "Every technical report on the Recommendation track is edited by one or more editors appointed by a Working Group Chair. It is the responsibility of these editors to ensure that the decisions of the group are correctly reflected in subsequent drafts of the technical report. Editors are not required to be part of the Team."
Authors by their own initiative or through commitments to the Chair make substantive contributions that are included within a specification. Frequently an author will make and write a proposal that becomes the basis of a section of the specification. Criteria for authorship are the expressed interest (agreed to by the Chair) to be listed as an author and the substance and quality of contributions. The Chair looks at the consistency of participation, the willingness to take action items, and how much "authoring" the TAG participant actually accomplished. These criteria are somewhat relative in that, if this role is designated, the Chair wishes to list the top handful of people that consistently plugged away on the work and to avoid a list of names that occupies the first two pages of the specification. Where the number of authors/editors are small, the Author and Editor roles are frequently collapsed into the Editor designation. Where there are may authors, the role will be a specified subset of the Contributor designation which is an Appendix to the specification.
Contributors are the many important TAG participants or non-TAG commenters who provide the ideas, comments, feedback and implementation experience that make the specification meaningful. Criteria for the contributor role are an expressed interest to be listed as a contributor to the document and the quality of contributions, as determined by the Chair. The assessment of quality is based on the consistency of participation on the email list, participation in teleconferences and face-to-face meetings as appropriate, and a responsiveness to open TAG issues. In reality, this criteria are fairly relaxed in that the Chair wishes to include all of those that helped, while not weakening that acknowledgement through the inclusion of individuals who contributed only slightly. Contributors are listed as an appendix to the specification.

W3C does not have a clear process for defining the role of author as it appears on a W3C technical report. It has become clear through experience that this distinction is sometimes a useful one within a Working Group. In general, only the document editors are listed on the W3C Technical Reports page. In deciding attribution, the Chair will consider a final formulation that is reasonably terse but as fair as possible to all involved.

Changes in attribution

In the event that a TAG participant discontinues participation in one of the roles above, the Chair has the option of changing or removing acknowledgment Criteria for removal include duration and reason of absence, as well as the weight of previous contributions to the present draft. The goal is to give credit where credit is due, but not to carry forward attributions that are no longer relevant.

Ian Jacobs
This document draws heavily on the XML Signature Working Group Contributor policy, by Joseph Reagle and Donald Eastlake III
Last revised: $Date: 2002/01/20 23:17:01 $