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Advanced Computing, Mathematics and Data
Research Highlights

February 2017

Setting the Standards

PNNL data scientists contribute to new W3C guide for Web best practices

As part of three-year collaboration with the World Wide Web Consortium, known as W3C, Eric Stephan and Sumit Purohit, from ACMD Division’s Data Sciences group, were recognized as contributors to Data on the Web Best Practices, a standards guide documenting best practices for data on the Web that recently was published as a formal Recommendation.

Eric Stephan (left) and Sumit Purohit (right) earned kudos for their contributions to new W3C standards. Enlarge Image.

According to W3C, the new guide “offers 35 Best Practices for sharing data, openly or not, in a way that maximizes the potential of the Web as a data platform.” W3C is an international community with more than 400 members from industry, academia, government, and the private sector. It develops open standards designed to ensure long-term growth of the Web.

“This is the first recommendation from the W3C that addresses a wide range of uses, spanning dataset publication, data quality, and methodologies for maximizing the benefit of shared data,” said Stephan, who also leads the Data Lifecycle & Logistics team. “It targets website planners, Web developers, and data publishers who are data-consumer minded. This best practices document also is being used as a template for other W3C efforts, such as Spatial Data on the Web.”

Stephan also explained that from a science perspective, best practices offer solutions aimed at collaborators who want to assure their research has a wider impact through discovery and reuse that can emerge long after a study has been completed.


“By adopting standardized best practices for data sharing and archiving, future communities can have a method for accessing data that remains familiar even over time,” he added. “Our work with W3C continues to grow and improve how we employ the Web as a viable research tool.”

In addition to their work on Data on the Web Best Practices, Stephan and Purohit, who is a scientist on the Data Analytics team, serve as co-editors of the Data on the Web Best Practices: Dataset Usage Vocabulary W3C Working Group Note.

Both Data on the Web Best Practices and the Dataset Usage Vocabulary are key to the W3C’s work toward developing standardized technical specifications and guidelines that define an “Open Web Platform” for consistent application development on the Web.

According to Stephan, who also was acknowledged by the W3C editors for his contributions to the DWBP Candidate Recommendation (which preceded the Recommendation), PNNL has been active in the standards community for almost seven years, and the W3C partnership remains ongoing.

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