Standard-setting is an influential aspect in the shaping of information societies. Research into standardization is done in a wide range of academic disciplines and using a variety of methods that could benefit from learning from each other’s insights. The IETF, as an international Standards Developing Organization (SDO), hosts a diverse set of data on the organizational history, development, and current standardization activities, including Internet protocols. A large portion of this data is publicly available, yet it is underutilized as a tool to inform the work in the IETF or the broader research community focused on topics like Internet governance and trends in ICT standard-development.
The Research and Analysis of the Standard-Setting Processes Research Group (RASPRG) aims to bring together researchers, practitioners, policy makers, standards users, and standards developers to study standardization processes across SDOs, with a particular focus on Internet standard-setting in the IETF. The research is aimed at informing the comprehension of standardization processes and policies, and possibly providing tools and insights. This will be done through the organization of working sessions, as well as contributions to open data and open source software for standard-setting analysis. The group aims to produce joint reports to inform the IETF, the research community, and the broader standards-setting community. Other SDOs typically make much less data publicly available than the IETF, but where data is available, comparative analyses may be undertaken. While comparisons to the IETF process are in scope, sole analysis of other SDOs are out of scope.
The RASPRG aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and will work closely with researchers studying the Internet standards process across disciplines, including but not limited to, those studying Internet governance, economic, legal, sociological, and political factors affecting standards-setting, development, and uptake.
To build bridges between communities, the group aims to meet co-located with IETF meetings, as well as with academic conferences and workshops focused on research into standardization (e.g., EURAS, SIIT), Internet measurements (e.g., ACM IMC), Web and social networks (e.g., ACM WebConference, AAAI ICWSM), human computer interaction (e.g., ACM CSCW), Internet Governance (e.g., GIGAnet), or fora such as the Internet Governance Forum (e.g., IGF). The research group aims to bring together researchers that build open source tools to research standardization processes to foster collaborations, prevent duplication, and contribute to reproducibility in science. The research group aspires to work with the IETF Tools Team and will consult regularly with the IETF leadership and secretariat to ensure that data is accessed in a manner that is consistent with relevant IETF policies without causing operational difficulties. The group will also pay careful attention to the ethical use of data, and to ensuring that any personally identifiable information is handled with care and in compliance with relevant laws and ethical principles. This will include sharing best practices for appropriate use of IETF data in research.
The Research Group seeks to produce tools and insights that can further the understanding of the IETF standardization process. Other outputs of the research group might include documentation of trends in the development of RFCs (e.g., similar to RFC 8963), special Issues of academic journals, computational methods, workshops, and labeled data sets. The RASPRG aims to produce evidence-based reproducible work, and does not intend to impact or undermine the standardization process but may provide constructive input for assessing standardization processes and identifying opportunities for improvement. The group will pay special attention that results, especially those relating to performance of particular aspects of the standards process or comparisons between SDOs, are presented with sensitivity for the people and organizations involved. If critical cases are detected the group will consult with leadership and inform the responsible party for the respective tooling.
Membership Policy: Open
Documents and meeting materials for the RASPRG can be found on the IETF datatracker.
The RASPRG was chartered on 2023-02-21.