Five Internet-focused standards organizations have endorsed a set of five principles that they say industries, companies and governments across the globe should embrace when developing open standards in their respective markets.

The ultimate objective of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Society, and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) here is to get global recognition and acceptance of their five OpenStand principles. “So when you go to a certain country or region, in addition to talking about the standards that they depend on from the formal international organizations, we also can talk about the standards that they can depend on from these more economically driven, if you will, industry-driven principles that can help them develop and grow their economies in the context of global markets,” said Steve Mills, president of the IEEE Standards Association.

These principles actually have not just been created, they are the principles that these standards organizations have lived by for many years. “What’s new or different here is that our five organizations came together and agreed on the words that are expressed in the principles,” Mills said. “Before this, the principles had been written down in different forms. If you look at the processes and procedures of each organization, you’ll see these principles expressed in one form or another. What we haven’t done, until now, is come together and state them all in one unified message.”

Typically, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are the three organizations that are recognized and discussed as the formal, international standards-setting organizations, Mills said. “We’re talking about an alternate path, a phenomenon if you will, that has been present with us for two decades or so that we haven’t really ever talked about before. It’s important that we raise awareness that there’s this alternate path to global standards that is outside of the more formal processes that we typically think about and know very well,” he said.

“We do recognize the formal processes of the international organizations. But we are saying here that there is a parallel path, one where global markets actually select the standards that will be deployed, and through that deployment, recognize those having global relevance and significance.”

“It’s extremely valuable to have this framework of successful global standards development articulated in principles to highlight commonalities between organizations that might otherwise appear very different in form and process,” said Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer for the Internet Society, an advocacy group. “And this will ultimately serve as a blueprint for new efforts of standardization in new areas of technology, enabling them to reach their own successful outcomes more quickly.”

The IAB, IEEE, IETF, Internet Society and W3C think these principles apply not just to the Internet and its standardization, but also to other sectors and industries. “This is a statement that says these principles have worked for the Internet, so you can trust them,” said Daniel Dardailler, the W3C’s international liaisons director. “It’s a very general message to the standards organizations landscape.”

Standards developed by the IEEE, IETF and W3C have led to the Internet that we know today. “These technical global standards were developed by many participants from all around the world using an open and transparent process,” said Russ Housley, chair of the IETF. “These voluntary standards are readily available to all implementers. These principles are appropriate to the development of standards in any discipline, not just Internet-related standards.”

“The Internet is based on voluntary standards made available to all, chosen based on technical merit and deployment,” said Bernard Aboba, chair of the IAB. “The time has come for governments to recognize the importance of global interoperability, to embrace voluntary standards and to embrace the modern standards paradigm.”

The five OpenStand principles:

1. Cooperation
Respectful cooperation between standards organizations, whereby each respects the autonomy, integrity, processes, and intellectual property rules of the others.

2. Adherence to Principles
Adherence to the five fundamental principles of standards development:
• Due process: Decisions are made with equity and fairness among participants. No one party dominates or guides standards development. Standards processes are transparent and opportunities exist to appeal decisions. Processes for periodic standards review and updating are well defined.
• Broad consensus: Processes allow for all views to be considered and addressed, such that agreement can be found across a range of interests.
• Transparency: Standards organizations provide advance public notice of proposed standards-development activities, the scope of work to be undertaken, and conditions for participation. Easily accessible records of decisions and the materials used in reaching those decisions are provided. Public comment periods are provided before final standards approval and adoption.
• Balance: Standards activities are not exclusively dominated by any particular person, company or interest group.
• Openness: Standards processes are open to all interested and informed parties.

3. Collective Empowerment
Commitment by affirming standards organizations and their participants to collective empowerment by striving for standards that:
• are chosen and defined based on technical merit, as judged by the contributed expertise of each participant;
• provide global interoperability, scalability, stability and resiliency;
• enable global competition;
• serve as building blocks for further innovation; and
• contribute to the creation of global communities, benefiting humanity.

4. Availability
Standards specifications are made accessible to all for implementation and deployment. Affirming standards organizations have defined procedures to develop specifications that can be implemented under fair terms. Given market diversity, fair terms may vary from royalty-free to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

5. Voluntary Adoption
Standards are voluntarily adopted, and success is determined by the market.