The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Definition of Open Standards

Status of this Document

This is a memo edited by Daniel Dardailler based on earlier draft of comments on EC Directive 98/34 Revision. This is also the basis of the Wikipedia Open Standard definition section on W3C.


As one of the important provider of ICT Standards for the past decade, in the area of Web technologies (HTML, URL, XML, http w/IETF, CSS, WAI guidelines, Web Services, Semantic Web, etc), the international World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is well positionned to give its opinion on the matter of Open Standards definition.

W3C follows a process that promotes the development of high-quality standards. This process has evolved over a period of ten years, from a very rough consensus building approach of writing specifications (ancestor IETF model), to a formal set of obligations that promote fairness, responsiveness, and progress: all facets of the W3C mission.

W3C Position statement

Using the W3C process as a model, we define the following set of requirements that a provider of technical specification must follow to qualify for the adjective Open Standard.

About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, nearly 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see

Editor: Daniel Dardailler

Last modified: 29 Sept 2007


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