Note: Throughout this section, “Organisation” refers to the standardisation/fora/consortia body in charge of the formal specification.
Significant characteristics of the way the organisation operates are for example the way it gives the possibility to stakeholders to influence the evolution of the formal specification, or which conditions it attaches to the use of the formal specification or its implementation. Moreover, it is important to know how the formal specification is defined, supported, and made available, as well as how interaction with stakeholders is managed by the organisation during these steps. Governance of interoperability testing with other formal specifications is also indicative.
The standardisation criteria analyses therefore the following elements:
Availability of Documentation
The availability of documentation criteria is linked to cost and online availability. Access to all preliminary results documentation can be online, online for members only, offline, offline, for members only or not available. Access can be free or for a fee (which fee?).
Intellectual Property Right
The Intellectual Property Rights evaluation criteria relates to the ability for implementers to use the formal specification in products without legal or financial implications. The IPR policy of the organisation is therefore evaluated according to:
- the availability of the IPR or copyright policies of the organisation (available on-line or off-line, or not available);
- the organisation’s governance to disclose any IPR from any contributor (ex-ante, online, offline, for free for all, for a fee for all, for members only, not available);
- the level of IPR set "mandatory" by the organisation (no patent, royalty free patent, patent and RAND with limited liability , patent and classic RAND, patent with explicit licensing, patent with defensive licensing, or none);
- the level of IPR "recommended" by the organisation (no patent, royalty free patent, patent and RAND with limited liability, patent and classic RAND, patent with explicit licensing, patent with defensive licensing, or none).
[Note: RAND (Reasonable and Non Discriminatory License) is based on a "fairness" concept. Companies agree that if they receive any patents on technologies that become essential to the standard then they agree to allow other groups attempting to implement the standard to use these patents and they agree that the charges for the patents shall be reasonable. "RAND with limited availability" is a version of RAND where the "reasonable charges" have an upper limit.]
The accessibility evaluation criteria describe the importance of equal and safe accessibility by the users of implementations of formal specifications. This aspect can be related to safety (physical safety and conformance safety) and accessibility of physical impaired people (design for all).
Focus is made particularly on accessibility and conformance safety. Conformance testing is testing to determine whether a system meets some specified formal specification. The result can be results from a test suite. Conformance validation is when the conformance test uniquely qualifies a given implementation as conformant or not. Conformance certification is a process that provides a public and easily visible "stamp of approval" that an implementation of a standard validates as conformant.
The following questions allow an assessment of accessibility and conformance safety:
- Does a mechanism that ensures disability support by a formal specification exist? (Y/N)
- Is conformance governance always part of a standard? (Y/N)
- Is a conformance test offered to implementers? (Y/N)
- Is conformance validation available to implementers? (Y/N)
Is conformance certification available? (Y/N)
- Is localisation of a formal specification possible? (Y/N)
The interoperability governance evaluation criteria relates to how interoperability is identified and maintained between interoperable formal specifications. In order to do this, the organisation may provide governance for:
- open identification in formal specifications,
- open negotiation in formal specifications,
- open selection in formal specifications.
Meeting and consultation
The meeting and consultation evaluation criteria relates to the process of defining a formal specification. As formal specifications are usually defined by committees, and these committees normally consist of members of the organisation, this criteria studies how to become a member and which are the financial barriers for this, as well as how are non-members able to have an influence on the process of defining the formal specification. It analyses:
- if the organisation is open to all types of companies and organisations and to individuals;
- if the standardisation process may specifically allow participation of members with limited abilities - when relevant;
- if meetings are open to all members;
- if all can participate in the formal specification creation process;
- if non-members can participate in the formal specification creation process.
Consensus is decision making primarily with regard to the approval of formal specifications and review with interest groups (non-members). The consensus evaluation criterion is evaluated with the following questions:
- Does the organisation have a stated objective of reaching consensus when making decisions on standards?
- If consensus is not reached, can the standard be approved? (answers are: cannot be approved but referred back to working group/committee, approved with 75% majority, approved with 66% majority, approved with 51% majority, can be decided by a "director" or similar in the organisation).
- Is there a formal process for external review of standard proposals by interest groups (non-members)?
The due process evaluation criteria relates to the level of respect of each member of the organisation with regard to its rights. More specifically, it must be assured that if a member believes an error has been made in the process of defining a formal specification, it must be possible to appeal this to an independent, higher instance. The question is therefore: can a member formally appeal or raise objections to a procedure or to a technical specification to an independent, higher instance?
Changes to the formal specification
The suggested changes made to a formal specification need to be presented, evaluated and approved in the same way as the formal specification was first defined. This criteria therefore applies the above criteria to the changes made to the formal specification (availability of documentation, Intellectual Property Right, accessibility, interoperability governance, meeting and consultation, consensus, due process).
It is critical that the organisation takes responsibility for the formal specification throughout its life span. This can be done in several ways such as for example a regular periodic review of the formal specification. The support criteria relates to the level of commitment the organisation has taken to support the formal specification throughout its life:
- does the organisation provide support until removal of the published formal specification from public domain (Including this process?
- does the organisation make the formal specification still available even when in non-maintenance mode?
- does the organisation add new features and keep the formal specification up-to-date?
- does the organisation rectify problems identified in initial implementations?
- does the organisation only create the formal specification?
Status of This Document
CAMSS has been evolving gradually since its creation in 2007. This is work in progress and the document will be subject to change. New terms may be added at any time, and consequently this specification is an evolving work. The extent of change is communicated by the change of version. A change in the first number notifies a major semantic change, in the second number a minor semantic change, the character is a for alpha and b for beta and finally the last number is just a syntactic change, Major Semantic. Minor Semantic (a|b) Syntactic.
This CAMSS documentation is produced as part of the CAMSS project, to provide authoritative documentation of the contents, status and purpose. The author welcomes comments on this document, preferably via e-mail to email@example.com. Further work is also needed on the explanatory text in this document and on the CAMSS website; progress towards this will be measured in the version number of future revisions to the CAMSS documentation.
Members of the CAMSS expert group. See acknowledgements.
© European Communities, 2009. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Printed in Belgium
Nature of documentation: Article