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Common Workflow Language (CWL) is developed by a multi-vendor working group consisting of organizations and individuals aiming to enable scientists to share data analysis workflows. The CWL project is maintained on Github and we follow the principles for collaborative open standards development. Legally CWL is a member project of Software Freedom Conservancy and is formally managed by the elected CWL leadership team, however everyday project decisions are made by the CWL community which is open for participation by anyone.

The CWL project produces free and open standards for describing command-line tool based workflows. These standards are implemented in many popular workflow systems.

For developers and advanced users, the current CWL Standards v1.2.0 provides authoritative documentation of the execution of CWL documents. The previous versions, CWL Standards v1.0.2 and CWL Standards v1.1.0, are also available.

References §

To reference the Common Workflow Language and the CWL project in scholarly work, please use the following citation:

  • Michael R. Crusoe, Sanne Abeln, Alexandru Iosup, Peter Amstutz, John Chilton, Nebojša Tijanić, Hervé Ménager, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Bogdan Gavrilović, Carole Goble, and The CWL Community. 2022. Methods Included: Standardizing Computational Reuse and Portability with the Common Workflow Language. Commun. ACM 65, 6 (June 2022), 54–63.

To reference the CWL specification in scholary work, please use the following citation inclusive of the DOI:

  • Peter Amstutz, Michael R. Crusoe, Nebojša Tijanić (editors), Brad Chapman, John Chilton, Michael Heuer, Andrey Kartashov, Dan Leehr, Hervé Ménager, Maya Nedeljkovich, Matt Scales, Stian Soiland-Reyes, Luka Stojanovic (2016): Common Workflow Language, v1.0. Specification, Common Workflow Language working group.

A collection of existing references to CWL can be found at