Also On This Page →

Publication Policies



for :

About This Document

As of 12 June 2017, this document has been superseded by a newer version.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 Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes)

If the document contains only editorial changes since the previous publication, NONE of steps below are applicable.

Once the Process Document requirements for the transition to Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) have been satisfied (see section 6.4.1 ), 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 (or updates) an Internet Media Type, before the transition to Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes), see also How to Register an Internet Media Type for a W3C Specification for information about alerting the W3C liaisons to the IETF so that they may request formal review and approval by the IESG.

Note: If your specification defines (or updates) an XPointer Scheme, before the transition to Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes), please register the scheme in the the W3C XPointer Scheme Registry.

Negotiation of Review Schedule
Transition request
Publication and Transition Planning
Mailing List Preparation
Publication and Transition Announcement

Note: After announcement of a Candidate Recommendation the W3C Communications Team issues a Call for Exclusions in accordance with the W3C Patent Policy. See also the 2017 Process Transition FAQ.

Please take note of the W3C Process Document provisions regarding when to publish an update to a Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) with Director's approval:

Note: The Working Group MAY publish a revision of a Candidate Recommendation with minor changes before the next transition.

Note: The Working Group SHOULD NOT publish a (new) revision of a Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) before the end of the (current) review period.

Transition request

Tip: When updating an existing Candidate Recommendation, focus your new transition on what changed since the previous Candidate Recommendation transition. There is no need to repeat information included in the previous transition.

The message subject line and body SHOULD identify this as a "transition request"; see above for where to send the request. A Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) 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.

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 Director assess whether the group has satisfied the transition requirements. The transition request SHOULD be organized so that it serves as the basis for the agenda of the meeting with the Director.

Link to previous transition

Decision to request transition


Requirements satisfied

Dependencies met (or not)

Wide Review

Issues addressed

Formal Objections


Patent disclosures

Transition Meeting with the Director

For a Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) transition, the Director may need to attend a transition meeting attended by:

The Team Contact is responsible for the execution of the following (under the supervision of the Project Management Lead):

  1. Scheduling the meeting. To allow chairs of WGs with dependencies and other commenters time to review the treatment of review comments in the disposition of comments document, the transition request MUST be sent a minimum of seven days prior to the transition meeting.
  2. Reserving a teleconference bridge.
  3. Choosing a scribe prior to the meeting.
  4. Ensuring that the meeting record is distributed to the participants. The meeting record (typically a link to an IRC log) must include the decision, and should highlight all recommendations. The meeting record should be sent to all participants attendees, and MUST be cc'ed to

Sample agenda

  1. Is everyone here?
  2. Confirmation of Chair, Scribe
  3. Are any changes required to the agenda?
Review of the transition request
In particular, review those items highlighted as requiring the Director's attention.
The Director assesses whether the W3C Process has been followed and whether there is sufficient consensus to support the transition request. In most cases the decision to make the transition is made during the teleconference. However the decision could take up to two weeks if any difficult issues arise during the meeting. The Director may delegate the W3C decision; see Team processes for TR publications.
Next steps
  1. If the decision is negative: how do we repair the problem? what happens next? who does what? Note: If documents have been copied to /TR space, please remove them.
  2. If the decision is positive: how do we announce this decision? when? what is the plan and schedule for any communications opportunities, including Member testimonials? any action items from this meeting?

Some reasons for declining a transition request

Per section 6.1.1 of the Process, "The Director MUST inform the Advisory Committee and Working Group Chairs when a Working Group's request for a specification to advance in maturity level is declined and the specification is returned to a Working Group for further work."

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. If there is no change in the description since the previous publication, this can be ommitted.
  3. A proposed publication schedule.
  4. If there has been a previous Candidate Recommendation, whether the only change is that text has been deleted; If so, W3C can skip the Patent Policy Exclusion (see the Patent Policy FAQ).
  5. Record of approval of the transition request.

Note: Someone from the W3C management team (usually the Project Management Lead) SHOULD be aware of the status of the document.

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.

The Webmaster publishes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (cf. the announcement to chairs). 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 Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) transition announcement MUST include the following information:

  1. That this is a Candidate Recommendation (update with subtantive changes) transition announcement.
  2. Document title, URIs.
  3. Instructions for providing feedback.
  4. A link to the group's transition request.
  5. Review end date.
  6. Link to information about the review; this is the link to an online review form (WBS) created by the Team Contact. The following information from the transition request MUST be available (generally in the form):
  7. The names of groups with dependencies, explicitly inviting review from them.
  8. Information about any Formal Objections.
  9. Whether this publication is the result of returning a document to a working group for further work as a Candidate Recommendation.
  10. Document abstract and status.

Please use the Team-only transition announcement template as a starting point.

The Candidate Recommendation transition announcement SHOULD provide information about where people can learn about issues raised during the Candidate Recommendation review period (e.g., a link to an issues list).

The Candidate Recommendation transition announcement MAY indicate priority feedback items. Please note that as of Candidate Recommendation, no technical issues should be open, even though the Working Group may request feedback on particular choices they have made.

Page owned and process managed by Philippe Le Hégaret and Ralph Swick on behalf of the W3C Director.
Philippe Le Hégaret, 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: 2017/06/12 17:56:30 $ by $Author: plehegar $