OpenMath is an emerging standard for representing mathematical objects with their semantics, allowing them to be exchanged between computer programs, stored in databases, or published on the worldwide web. While the original designers were mainly developers of computer algebra systems, it is now attracting interest from other areas of scientific computation and from many publishers of electronic documents with a significant mathematical content. There is a strong relationship to the MathML recommendation from the Worldwide Web Consortium, and a large overlap between the two developer communities. MathML deals principally with the presentation of mathematical objects, while OpenMath is solely concerned with their semantic meaning or content. While MathML does have some limited facilities for dealing with content, it also allows semantic information encoded in OpenMath to be embedded inside a MathML structure. Thus the two technologies may be seen as highly complementary.

Mathematical objects encoded in OpenMath can be

- displayed in a browser
- exchanged between software systems
- cut and pasted for use in different contexts
- verified as being mathematically sound (or not!)
- used to make interactive documents really interactive.

OpenMath is highly relevant for persons working with mathematics on computers, for those working with large documents (e.g. databases, manuals) containing mathematical expressions, and for technical and mathematical publishing.

The worldwide OpenMath activities are coordinated within the OpenMath Society, based in Helsinki, Finland. It is coordinated by an executive committee, elected by its members. It organizes regular workshops and hosts a number of electronic discussion lists. The Society brings together tool builders, software suppliers, publishers and authors.