Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group Charter

The term 'open data' has evolved rapidly since it came into common usage less than a decade ago. From presidential executive orders to pan-national directives; from cultural heritage to scientific data, it's clear that more and more of the data that historically has been hidden away is now coming into the open. There is widespread consensus that this is a good thing, but there is also a lot of data that is not freely open to all. How can open data be interoperable not just with other open data but with data made available at marginal cost, under less permissive license terms, or with enterprise data?

As experience of publishing and using data on the Web grows there are further issues that need addressing. Developers would like easy access to data that is 100% accurate, regularly updated and guaranteed to be available at all times. Data publishers are likely to take a different view. There are disparities between different developers too: for many, data means CSV files and APIs, for others it means linked data and the two sides are often disparaging of each other.

The mission of the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group, part of the Data Activity, is:

  1. to develop the open data ecosystem, facilitating better communication between developers and publishers;
  2. to provide guidance to publishers that will improve consistency in the way data is managed, thus promoting the re-use of data;
  3. to foster trust in the data among developers, whatever technology they choose to use, increasing the potential for genuine innovation.

The guidance will take two forms: a set of best practices that apply to multiple technologies, and vocabularies currently missing but that are needed to support the data ecosystem on the Web.

Join the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group.

End date 30 July 2016
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Hadley Beeman (Invited Expert), Yasodara Córdova (NIC.br/W3C Brasil), Steven Adler (IBM)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 20)
Phil Archer
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: weekly
Face-to-face: twice annually


The Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group will be agnostic about the technologies it considers important. Specifically, whilst it will promote linked data using the 5 Stars of Linked Data paradigm, it will also promote best practices for data in other formats such as CSV and JSON.

Government data, scientific research data and cultural heritage data are all explicitly in scope.

Out of Scope

The Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group will not develop any new technologies. Neither will it develop licenses or license terms.


The titles of the deliverables are not final; the Working Group will have to decide on the final titles as well as the structures of the documents. The Working Group may also decide to merge some deliverables into one document or produce several documents that together constitute one of the deliverables.


The Working Group will pay attention to independent efforts to develop standards and methods relevant to open data and may choose to refer to such efforts or incorporate them directly in its work. An indicative list of inputs is:

Success Criteria

To advance to Proposed Recommendation, evidence will be adduced that each of the best practices have been recommended in at least two environments, such as data portals and formal policies.

The vocabularies that will eventually be developed by the working group will be published via the W3C Vocabulary Management Process that offers stability of terms but the flexibility for future evolution in response to community demand.

Milestones (Recommendation)

Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Deliverable FPWD LC CR PR Rec
Best Practices May 2014 July 2015 November 2015 April 2016 June 2016
Milestones Vocabularies
Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Deliverable FPWD WG Note
Data Usage Description April 2014 January 2015
Quality and Granularity April 2014 January 2015

Timeline View Summary

Dependencies and Liaisons

W3C Groups

CSV on the Web Working Group
Coordinate on the use of CSV
Internationalization Activity
Ensure that multilinguality concerns are properly reflected in the best practices. The WG should also take note of the work of the Best Practices for Multilingual Linked Open Data Community Group.
Privacy Interest Group
Ensure that the privacy concerns are properly included in the Quality and Granularity vocabulary.
Data Activity Coordination Group
Ensure that the metadata vocabulary development follows the guidelines of vocabulary specifications in general

Furthermore, the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group expects to follow these W3C Recommendations:


To be successful, the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group is expected to have 20 or more active participants for its duration. To get the most out of this work, participants should expect to devote several hours a week; for budgeting purposes, we recommend at least half a day a week. For chairs and document editors the commitment will be higher, say, 1-2 days a week. Participants who follow the work less closely should be aware that if they miss decisions through inattention further discussion of those issues may be ruled out of order. However, most participants follow some areas of discussion more closely than others, and the time needed to stay in good standing therefore varies from week to week. The Working Group will also allocate the necessary resources for building Test Suites for each specification.


This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing list. Administrative tasks may be conducted in Member-only communications. Comments on the group's work will be welcome via the public comment list.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

A formal vote should allow for remote asynchronous participation—using, for example, email and/or web-based survey techniques. Any resolution taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference is to be considered provisional until 5 working days after the publication of the resolution in draft minutes sent to the group's mailing list.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Phil Archer, Ivan Herman

$Date: 2014/01/09 19:47:41 $