Math Working Group Charter

The mission of the Math Working Group is to promote the inclusion of mathematics on the Web so that it is a first class citizen of the web that displays well and is accessible.

Join the Math Working Group.

Charter Status See the group status page and detailed change history.
Start date 2023-10-13
End date 2025-10-13
Chairs Brian Kardell (Igalia), Neil Soiffer (Talking Cat Software)
Team Contacts Bert Bos (0.1 FTE)
Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: two 1-hour calls working on different aspects of MathML to be held weekly to monthly to resolve issues as needed.
Face-to-face: we will meet during the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants, usually no more than one additional meeting per year.

Motivation and Background

MathML is a markup language for encoding and communicating mathematics.The need for mathematical rendering on the web was evident from the earliest days of the Web at CERN, and MathML was among the first specifications taken up and developed by the W3C in the mid to late 1990's XML/XHTML era. It received much attention and has created a vibrant ecosystem of implementations and integration outside of web browsers. At the start of 2023, Chromium support of MathML Core was enabled by default so that all major browsers now support MathML without the need of third party libraries. MathML Core is a subset of the full MathML recommendation. Additional work is needed to expand MathML Core to encompass more features used in mathematical layout and to resolve some open issues which were put off to a future time such as links in MathML.


The existing WG plans to move MathML Core to CR in the very near future and expects to move MathML 4 in the fall. The continuation of this group will move these and the XML entities to recommendation status. The goals of these recommendations are:

The Working Group will begin by providing a thorough review and refinement of MathML Core Level 1’s rendering, including integration with current CSS and basic DOM, and providing tests and opening bugs.

The Working Group will take up new work, such as problems the CG identified as requiring better solutions in order to move MathML in the Web Platform forward, in proposing a MathML Core Level 2.

The scope of the Math Working Group includes the following:

Out of Scope

  • Changes that would cause legacy MathML that has significant usage to stop working on the Web Platform or elsewhere.
  • Significant changes in MathML 4 to Content MathML beyond those useful for accessibility. Larger changes will be considered for MathML 5 after gaining experience and feedback from proposed additions to Presentation MathML and MathML Core.


Updated document status is available on the group publication status page.

Draft state indicates the state of the deliverable at the time of the charter approval. Expected completion indicates when the deliverable is projected to become a Recommendation, or otherwise reach a stable state.

Normative Specifications

The Working Group will deliver the following W3C normative specifications:

MathML Core Level 1

This specification provides an initial integration into the Web Platform with increased implementation details, focusing on a subset of MathML 3 which has had wide implementation and fits well with the platform. It details and relies on automated Web Platform tests to improve MathML interoperability. It provides the core layer of MathML support upon which MathML 4 can build. Authors can implement remaining features, or more generally extend MathML Core, using modern web technologies (e.g., by polyfills).

Draft state: Working Draft

Expected completion: (Proposed Recommendation) Start date + 9 months

Adopted draft: 2022-05-04

Exclusion Draft:

Exclusion Draft charter:

MathML Core Level 2

This specification will address some features left out of Level 1 due to time and implementation constraints. It will provide guidance on improving MathML within the evolving Web Platform and enhancing the descriptions of generally polyfilling or extending MathML, using technologies such as a Shadow DOM, Custom Elements, the CSS Layout API or other Houdini APIs. It will also address questions such as linking and accessibility through suggested accessibility mappings of elements and attributes.

The MathML Core specifications are intended to define those parts of MathML that are, or will be, implemented by all major browser engines.

Draft state: No draft

Expected completion: (First Public Working Draft) start date + 18 months

Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 4.0

This specification overhauls the existing MathML 3 specification, rebasing it on MathML Core Level 1. It deprecates, make obsoletes, and drop features that are not used and likely will not be used. It adds attributes allows specification of mathematical intent on Presentation MathML elements to enhance accessibility of math.

Draft state: Working Draft

Expected completion: (Proposed Recommendation) Start date + 20 months

Adopted draft: 2022-09-08

Exclusion Draft:

Exclusion Draft charter:

MathML 5

Collect requirements for MathML 5 based on deferred issues. This includes potential work around content MathML which was excluded from the previous charter.

Draft state: No draft

Expected completion: (First Public Working Draft) Start date + 24 months

Other Deliverables

Other non-normative documents may be created such as:

  • Test suites and implementation reports for the specification.
  • Analysis of mathematical notation usage in world-wide writing systems, including but not limited to non-LTR writing systems.
  • MathML Accessibility Technique Notes.
  • Guides on annotating Presentation MathML for accessibility.
  • A repository for intent values and properties beyond those defined in a MathML 4 recommendation.
  • At least one open-source (example code) MathML-to-speech/MathML-to-braille implementation that makes use of accessibility annotations.
  • At least one TeX-to-MathML converter that incorporates accessibility annotations in its MathML output.
  • Code to convert Content MathML to Presentation MathML with accessibility annotations.


These dates are not meant as deadlines; work may need to continue after these dates to ensure the quality of the deliverables.

  • Start date: First teleconference
  • Start date + 3 months: Candidate Recommendation, MathML Core
  • Start date + 5 months: Candidate Recommendation, MathML 4
  • Start date + 5 months: An implementation of MathML-to-speech/braille that makes use of accessibility annotations
  • Start date + 9 months: Proposed Recommendation, MathML Core
  • Sept 2024: First face-to-face meeting (TPAC)
  • Start date + 18 months: First Public Working Draft, MathML Core Level 2
  • Start date + 20 months: Proposed Recommendation MathML 4
  • Sept 2025: Second face-to-face meeting (TPAC)
  • Start date + 24 months: First Public Working Draft, MathML 5

Success Criteria

In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each normative specification is expected to have at least two independent interoperable implementations of every feature defined in the specification, where interoperability can be verified by passing open test suites, and two or more implementations interoperating with each other. In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each normative specification must have an open test suite of every feature defined in the specification.

The larger Web Platform ecosystem shows signs of movement toward creating and using new MathML content, including direct use of core features and direct use of new accessibility features by authoring tools that create MathML content. Additionally, at least two assistive technology products make use of the accessibility features when they are present in MathML content.

There is proven advancement and interest by implementers in MathML Core Level 2, exploring linking, better alignment with how the larger Web Platform evolves (Shadow DOM, Custom Elements, CSS).

There should be testing plans for each specification, starting from the earliest drafts.

To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications in Candidate Recommendation or to features that have deployed implementations should have tests. Testing efforts should be conducted via the Web Platform Tests project.

Each specification should contain sections detailing security and privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

Each specification should contain a section on accessibility that describes the benefits and impacts, including ways specification features can be used to address them, and recommendations for maximizing accessibility in implementations.

The Math Working Group expects to follow the TAG Web Platform Design Principles.


For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD. The Working Group is encouraged to engage collaboratively with the horizontal review groups throughout development of each specification. The Working Group is advised to seek a review at least 3 months before first entering CR and is encouraged to proactively notify the horizontal review groups when major changes occur in a specification following a review.

Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

W3C Groups

CSS Working Group
The Math Working Group will contribute to and coordinate work with the CSS Working Group related to aligning the development and testing of new and existing CSS functionalities that are of interest to the MathML community. The group will designate liaisons to work with the CSS Working Group on issues as needed. Liaisons will ideally be participants of both groups.
Web Incubator Community Group (WICG)
The Web Platform Incubator Community Group (WICG) provides a lightweight venue for proposing and discussing new web platform features, like new HTML features or Web Platform APIs. Also, new technical features arising during the development of MathML may have relevance for the Web Platform in general, or ideas developing for the Web Platform in general might be developing in WICG which could be relevant to MathML. The MathML WG will make an effort to make sure these are explored further together within incubations in the Web Platform Incubator Community Group where appropriate.
Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group
The APA WG provides horizontal review of potential accessibility issues in the architecture, including knowledge domains for STEM accessibility, as well as of the accessibility impact of a specification. The MathML WG will request reviews and coordinate, and may nominate liaisons to ensure that these groups are aligned and working in concert toward accessible mathematics.
ARIA Working Group
The ARIA Working Group is responsible for the development of ARIA and related Accessibility Mappings. The MathML WG will appoint a liaison and coordinate with the ARIA Working Group to provide the MathML AAM and continue to improve the accessibility of that which is part of MathML.
Publishing Maintenance Working Group
MathML is used in EPUB documents for the display of math. Accessibility of all of the contents of an EPUB document is a priority of the group, and math accessibility has been a challenge for them due to uneven support of MathML in various reading systems. The MathML WG will work with the PM WG to ensure their needs are met with updates to the MathML recommendations.
SVG Working Group
The SVG Working Group is responsible for the development of SVG. While largely non-overlapping technically, SVG and MathML share similar origin stories and are both special in their integration with the HTML Parser specification and integration as embedded content. As such they have many similar challenges and efforts to align with the larger Web Platform and share common interests in providing common developer experiences and expectations. The Math Working Group will attempt to coordinate furthering these efforts with the SVG Working Group (and the SVG CG).
Chemistry for the Web and Publishing Community Group (Chem CG)
Chemical Formulas make use of mathematical notations. The Chem CG is concerned about the accessibility challenges of using math notations and having them spoken and brailed appropriately. The MathML Refresh CG has worked with the Chem CG to ensure appropriate access to chemical formulas and the Math WG will continue this effort.
Publishing Community Group
The Publishing Community Group is an incubation zone for digital publishing ideas. MathML has been a topic of discussion for them. Working with this group may lead to inclusion of support for new ideas in MathML.

External Organizations

The WHATWG is responsible for the development of HTML and DOM. This may have an influence on the future evolution of MathML. Efforts to align MathML Core with the Web Platform may lead to alignment requirements (issues might arise from a new IDL, focusability, support for ideas like Shadow DOM, support for attributes, etc.), in which case these should be explored further together with the WHATWG (and the WICG).


To be successful, this Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs, specification Editors, and Test Leads are expected to contribute half of a working day per week towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.

Participants in the group are required (by the W3C Process) to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.


Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed in public repositories and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Math Working Group home page.

Most Math Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work on GitHub issues. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

The group may use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a participant requests such a discussion.

Decision Policy

This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 5.2.1, Consensus). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress and consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote and record a decision along with any objections.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example, via email, GitHub issue or web-based survey), with a response period from 10 to 20 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs.

This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 5.2.3, Deciding by Vote) and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 15 September 2020). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Web specifications 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 licensing information.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter has been created according to section 3.4 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.

Charter History

The Math Working group was first chartered in 1998 and has produced three versions of MathML since then. After the MathML 3 spec was released, the Working Group decided that a pause was needed and the group's charter ended in 2016. The MathML refresh community group was formed form in 2019 to consider ideas for how to expand browser implementation of MathML and modernize the recommendation to be more in align with current the web platform. This eventually lead to the charter history shown below.

The following table lists details of all changes from the initial charter, per the W3C Process Document (section 4.3, Advisory Committee Review of a Charter):

Charter Period Start Date End Date Changes
Initial Charter April 1997 June 1998 MathML 1.0, character entities
Rechartered July 1998 February 2000 MathML 2.0
Rechartered February 2000 December 2000 -
Rechartered May 2001 May 2003 XML schema for MathML, modularization of MathML, DOM for MathML, spoken math via VoiceXML
Charter extension April 2003 August 2003 -
Second period
Rechartered March 2006 February 2008 MathML 3.0
Charter extension March 2008 April 2010 -
Charter extension March 2010 March 2011 -
Charter extension April 2011 March 2012 -
Charter extension March 2012 March 2013 -
Charter extension March 2013 March 2014 -
Charter extension March 2014 March 2016 -
Third period
Rechartered April 2021 May 2023 MathML 4.0, MathML Core Level 1 & 2
Charter extension June 2023 October 2023 -
Rechartered October 2023 October 2025 Requirements for MathML 5

Change log

Changes to this document are documented in this section.