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Subject: OASIS Policy on Referencing Commercial Products

The following sections concatenate four email exchanges . . . JoAnn, Stan, and Chet Endign (OASIS) on the topic of referencing commercial products in OASIS publications.

-- A. Stan/JoAnn to Chet -----------------------------------------

Hi Chet --
Two of the DITA TC subcommittees on which I work (Help and Technical Communications) have been developing whitepapers that capture the benefits of organizations moving to OASIS DITA 1.2 and DITA 1.3 (coming soon). Our target practitioners tend to be quite involved in making DITA work with various industry-standard, but proprietary tools and technologies, e.g. MadCap Flare, Syncrosoft WebHelp, or Design Science MathFlow. Whenever possible, we advocate open-source, vendor-neutral solutions for our readers. That said, in some areas our readers really need to understand how to integrate OASIS standards with their popular proprietary infrastructure. We're feeling kinda silly NOT referencing one or more of the target integration tools and technologies. 
Does OASIS have some guidelines that would help us figure this out?
To your knowledge, are there other TCs that have  figured this out and could serve as advisors?
What do you think? Can you help us here?

-- B. Chet to Stan/JoAnn ----------------------------------------
Hi Stan, hi JoAnn, 

There are a couple of rules that govern aspects of this and I'll share my thoughts as well. 

The TC Process Commercial Terms and Conditions section (https://www.oasis-open.org/policies-guidelines/tc-process#commterms) specifically precludes doing anything that appears to endorse one product or another in a spec. ("Therefore, it generally is not acceptable to include manufacturer lists, service provider lists, or similar material in the text of a standard or in an annex (or the equivalent).") In addition, trademarked names, logos, etc. not owned by OASIS cannot be used in the name of a TC or in the title of a work product. 

There are a couple of ways, given the above, to do what you want. The TGF TC uses its wiki to maintain a listing of what it calls "Policy Products" - essentially examples of products or implementations that achieve specific elements of their specs. (See https://wiki.oasis-open.org/tgf/Policy%20Products). I believe the OBix TC is considering something similar. So you could use your wiki as a place to list informational information on products and services. 

The other way would be to publish a Committee Note on the subject, e.g. something like "Implementing DITA 1.2 in Commercial Products" or something like that. 

Either approach can work and I'm happy to give you more feedback on whatever approach you'd like to pursue. 

-- C. JoAnn to Chet/Stan--------------------------------------
Hi Chet,
Remember that we are publishing this information as a feature article from the DITA Adoption TC. It will not be part of a spec. Seems like this issue would then fall under committee notes.
-- D. JoAnn to Chet/Stan --------------------
Exactly. I think we will be fine but we have to be inclusive about vendors.

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