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Publication Policies



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About This Document

As of 4 August 2016, this document has been superseded by a newer version.

This resource describes the internal W3C Technical Report publication processes. A companion document provides more information about roles involved in these processes and interactions with the W3C Communications Team. A comparison of requirements across all document types is available.

Steps for Transition to First Public First Public Working Draft

Once the Process Document requirements for the transition to First Public First Public Working Draft have been satisfied (see section 7.4.1 under "Entrance Criteria"), W3C follows the steps described below to complete the transition. These steps are grouped by theme. They are not strictly ordered; in practice, some steps are completed in parallel. For instance, groups often manage the transition request/meeting steps in parallel with the publication request steps.

Note: If your specification involves an Internet Media Type, before the transition to First Public First Public Working Draft, see also How to Register an Internet Media Type for a W3C Specification to review the entire Internet Media Type registration process.

Transition request
Publication and Transition Planning
Mailing List Preparation
Publication and Transition Announcement

Note: After announcement of a First Public or Last Call Working Draft, the W3C Communications Team issues a Call for Exclusions in accordance with the W3C Patent Policy.

Transition request

The message subject line and body SHOULD identify this as a "transition request"; see above for where to send the request. A First Public First Public Working Draft transition request MUST include:

  1. Document title, URIs, and estimated publication date.
  2. The document Abstract and Status sections, either by reference (e.g., the URI to the document) or direct inclusion.
  3. A statement whether or not the group considers the document to be a delta specification. This statement is only required for documents expected to become normative Recommendations under the W3C Patent Policy.

Furthermore, the transition request provides evidence that the group has satisfied the transition requirements. The questions and observations in the subsections below provide examples of what SHOULD be in the transition request to help the Domain Lead(s) assess whether the group has satisfied the transition requirements.

The goal of the transition request is to secure an archived record of the Domain Lead(s)' approval of the title, and shortname. In the past, shortnames have been changed between versions, and documents have been split and merged between versions. A conservative approach is to treat a merged or split document like a first publication.

The Team Contact(s) generally present the new draft for the entire W3C Team as soon as possible after the transition request (and possibly before Domain Lead approval). The length of the presentation varies (from "more than a lightning talk" to a Project Review) depending on the technical or political complexity of the specification.

Record of the decision to request the transition

Publication Request

A publication request is an assertion from the Document Contact that the document satisfies the pubrules requirements. The subject line and body SHOULD identify this as a "publication request"; see above for where to send the request. A publication request MUST include the following information.

  1. Document title and URI(s). Document URI requirements are described in Publication Rules.
  2. One or two sentences of description of the specification (for communication purposes on the "current status" pages). The sentence may be taken from the abstract. As an example, see status section for specifications related to mobile web authoring. These status pages, as their name suggests, let the community know about relationships among close specifications, what to use and not to use, how things fit together, etc. Contact the Comm Team with questions at Note: The Webmaster may also ask the Document Contact for assistance in categorizing the specification in an existing (or new) group on the TR page.
  3. A proposed publication schedule.
  4. Record of approval of the transition request.

Scheduling Publication

The Document Contact negotiates a publication date with the Webmaster. Each publication request SHOULD propose a publication date. If the request does not include a proposed publication date, the Webmaster MAY consider the title page date as the proposed publication date.

As of 2 March 2010 (cf. the announcement to chairs) the Webmaster publishes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Regarding advance notice:

If the Webmaster finds errors during the publication process, he will endeavor to publish on the desired date, but he MAY also postpone publication to the next available publication date in order to resolve issues. In general, it will not be necessary to change the title page date of a document that is published a couple of days later than planned. If it becomes apparent that a publication date will be well after a title page date, the Webmaster SHOULD ask the Document Contact to resubmit a revised document with a more current title page date.

When scheduling publication, please note that publishing "blackouts" occur at the end of the calendar year and around certain W3C events such as AC meetings and All-Group meetings. The Communications Team announces these publishing moratoria with approximately six months notice. The announcements are linked from the Chairs' Guidebook.


In order to ensure publication standards, upon receiving a publication request the Webmaster SHALL make a best effort to verify that the document satisfies the pubrules requirements except for the accessibility requirements of section 1.6. The Webmaster SHALL publish the document (cf. the Webmaster's guide) if the following conditions have been met:

  1. The publication request is complete, and
  2. The document satisfies the pubrules requirements verified by the Webmaster.

Otherwise the Webmaster SHALL NOT publish. In this case, the Webmaster SHALL provide details to the person who sent the request about which requirements have not been satisfied.

The Webmaster SHALL NOT publish the document until the date on the title page or later. The Webmaster publishes the document by updating the appropriate technical report index and updating the latest version link, and then announcing publication as described above.

Transition Announcement

A First Public First Public Working Draft transition announcement MUST include the following information:

  1. That this is a First Public First Public Working Draft transition announcement.
  2. Document title, URIs.
  3. Instructions for providing feedback.
  4. A reference to the group's transition request.

Note: The First Public Working Draft is significant with respect to the W3C Patent Policy. As explained in the Patent Policy FAQ, the Communications Team issues a Call for Exclusions (see section 4 of the W3C Patent Policy) approximately ninety days after the publication of this draft.

Page owned and process managed by Philippe Le Hégaret and Ralph Swick on behalf of the W3C Director.
Coralie Mercier, editor
This document has been constructed by merging information from several "How to" documents created by Dan Connolly, Al Gilman, and others. A filter is applied to the document source to provide transition-specific views.
Last modified: $Date: 2016/08/04 14:37:59 $ by $Author: ijacobs $