As defined in the W3C Process Document, the term "liaison" is used to refer to coordination of activities with a variety of organizations, through a number of mechanisms ranging from very informal to mutual membership, or even more formal agreements. Liaisons are not meant to substitute for W3C membership.
W3C is a broad community which covers standardization work in W3C Working Groups and incubation work in W3C Community Groups (CGs). Listing a formal liaison with W3C on behalf of a CG on this page is generally discouraged because CG output does not represent the consensus of the W3C Community (of course informal liaison is always encouraged). If an external group outside of W3C would like a Liaison with a CG, they must write up their rationale and be explicit that they understand that the CG work is not normative. If there is such a request, it should be sent to email@example.com for approval.
W3C is determined to improve W3C's liaisons with international organizations in the areas of policy and standardization and to reinforce W3C's commitment to developing one Web for all.
International Relations focuses on spreading W3C's messages and technologies beyond the Consortium's usual geographical and Web community frontiers. We pursue the vision and plan outlined in the white paper Worldwide Participation in the World Wide Web Consortium with the goal of making it easier for new stakeholders to discover and participate in W3C's work and values.
For relationships between W3C and government driven organizations like ISO, ITU, EU normalization (ETSI, CEN), UN efforts like IGF/WSIS, national bodies (ANSI, AFNOR, etc.), and for Internet Governance liaison activities with other Internet organizations like IETF, ICANN, ISOC, also use firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the liaison table
Each entry in the table above includes:
the name of the organization, linked to its homepage. In addition, formal agreements, like MoU, should be listed here
the W3C activities or technologies affected by the liaison
one or several contact names within W3C
one or several liaison contact names (preferrably using an http URL, rather than a mailto)
For more information about a particular liaison, please refer to the contact page for the listed individual(s).
When an external organization wants to send an ingoing liaison statement to W3C, it should send it to email@example.com, CCing the W3C staff in contact indicated the table above, and assume that this statement will potentially be shared with the entire W3C membership.
When an internal W3C group (usually via its Chair) wants to send an outgoing liaison statement from W3C, it should CC it to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the W3C staff contact for the group, and assume that this statement will potentially be shared with the entire W3C membership.
formal agreements for joint work, involving a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on paper and reviewed by W3C legal, and the Advisory Committee, per process requirement.
We list both types of liaisons in the table above. Per the W3C Process Document, all liaisons, of any kind, must be coordinated by the W3C Team due to requirements for public communication, IPR or confidentiality policies. Mutual membership agreements are also possible.
W3C may choose not to pursue a liaison with an organization that has selective or arbitrary membership policies that serve only to benefit pre-existing or dominant members.
In general, the goal of a simple liaison is for both parties to gain a better understanding of their respective activities and look for opportunities to work together. For example, W3C appreciates understanding how other organizations use W3C technology, whether they require extensions, the proper way to manage those extensions, how to bring extensions back into W3C, and so on. Other organizations may find a simple liaison valuable for soliciting W3C input on a web-related question.
Most often, W3C establishes simple liaisons with peer organizations, other standards bodies, or any other non-profit entity that may wish to build consensus around an emerging web technology. Simple liaisons are active as soon as both partie agree to make the information public in this page. Note that being in simple liaison with W3C on a given topic doesn't mean that W3C endorses or agrees to the other party work in any way.
Formal agreements for joint work
In some cases, W3C is asked to establish a formal liaison that has a contractual framework, either because there are joint deliverables, or an agreed share of technical responsibilities with coordination, with considerations for confidentiality, shared press coverage, or IPR.
While W3C supports all liaisons with other groups, the organization and development of these formal liaisons requires time and resources, and the agreement of the W3C membership at large. W3C's decision to pursue a liaison with a Partner is ultimately based on the perceived costs and benefits.
For a historical record of how Formal Liaisons are created, please see the 2003 Process Document, which used to described the details (no longer the case in the current Process).
W3C and De Jure standards
This section describes some of W3C's relationships with de jure bodies such as ISO, in addition to the direct technical activity liaisons mentioned above.
W3C is an "ISO/IEC JTC 1 PAS" Submitter
At the end of October 2010, W3C was approved as a JTC 1 Recognized PAS Submitter for an overall scope defined as "any stable core web technologies produced by W3C that are also in scope of JTC 1". The PAS process is standard transposition procedure whereby organizations accredited as valid PAS Submitters can send their specifications directly for country voting, to become ISO/IEC standards. See the W3C PAS Submission FAQ.
W3C Approved RS Originator Organization (ARO) status for ISO/JTC1
W3C in the EU Multi Stakeholders Platform for ICT (MSP)
The Reform of the European standardisation system by the Council of the European Union (2012) allows civil servants to use and refer to specifications from open standardization fora and consortia such as W3C, in situations involving public funds. The Multistakeholder Platform (MSP) was set up as part of the reform to advise the Commission on its ICT Standardization work program, and W3C is part of it.