ASO exists in part to support authors (our Contributors), by helping them get their materials published.
But "publishing", in the context of ASO, can mean different things according to whether we are looking mainly at the copyright aspect or mainly at the distribution aspect. "Distribution", in the context of ASO, consists in most cases of making material available for download from the ASO website or to be read online.
There are five main categories of material that come into consideration:
- original material (previously unpublished) which ASO is publishing and making available to a wide readership for the first time;
- material that has been published previously but is now hard to obtain and which ASO is re-publishing to make it available to a wide readership;
- original material (previously unpublished) where the eventual distributor/publisher yet to be decided;
- formal comments and reviews on material that ASO is making available exclusively to Contributors for the purpose of review or comment (see the pages on Peer and Community Review and Community and open commentary for further discussion about these processes);
- informal comments made using the drupal "comment" system and which can be attached to a wide range of materials - for example, bibliographic entries ("library items"), blog posts, forum posts... and more.
The problem with terminology is that anything at all that is accessible via our website can be considered to have been published (and distributed) from the point of view copyright restrictions and the respective rights and obligations of "author" and "publisher". This applies even if the material is only available to our Contributors.
But when we are thinking more in terms of orthodox and common-sense usage of the word "publishing", then we would not normally think of this material as having been "published". This is particularly true of ASO because we positively encourage material to be submitted for discussion on ASO with eventual publication to be by one of the print journals. Taking this common-sense interpretation as the starting place:
- material in categories 1 and 2 might be considered to fall within the commonsense description of "published";
- material in categories 3 and 4 might be considered fall outside that commonsense description;
- material in category 5 (informal comments) is sui generis; but as access to comments depends on access to the material commented upon, then it might be appropriate to think of comments as coming under the heading of "published" only if they are posted against material in categories 1 and 2.
Where in our documentation we refer to material being "published by ASO" we intend the commonsense meaning of "published" attached to 1 and 2 in the list above meaning the material is published under the "ASO imprint". Such material is normally formatted for print.
Of this material (i.e. published under the "ASO imprint"), when we refer to material that is "first published by ASO" we mean material that has not previously been published elsewhere and which is to be distinguished from material that is being re-published by us.
However, you should bear in mind the legal definition of "published" which would apply to all the material available to people able to access it via our website, including material where access is restricted to Contributors only.