Publication process

The PDF Association follows best practice in developing common understandings with a consistent methodology for approving publication of technical documents, including Technical and Application Notes, test-suites and best practice guides.

Although the PDF Association holds a category "A" liaison with ISO, the organization does not have the ability to develop national or ISO standards, technical reports or technical specifications directly. Where appropriate, documents developed within the PDF Association may be submitted into ISO's publication process.

This page describes the PDF Association's publication process for all technical publications found on this site.

NOTE: The term “interest group” is used to refer to any organisational sub-unit of the PDF Association, including Technical Working Groups, Marketing Working Groups, Competence Centers or other that create documents for public distribution.

Step 1 - Initiation

Step 1a – Initiate an RC

Qualified members present at an interest group meeting may instruct the interest group’s chair to survey the interest group’s membership for agreement to publish a release candidate (RC) document. This decision is sent to the interest group mailing list within 12 hours of the meeting.

Step 1b – Interest group internal approval

The interest group may approve its own document using internal processes.

Step 1c – Interest group ballot

Once the interest group is ready to proceed to a formal vote, the group’s chair sends the RC to the interest group list and posts it on the Intranet. Members are requested to respond within four weeks to an online ballot. Members may vote:

  • YES
  • NO with comments
  • Abstain (with or without comments)

Each member company has a single vote, and must decide who votes on its behalf.

Ballots are not secret to PDF Association staff; those voting must provide name, company and email address. Anonymized ballot results and any comments received are posted on the Intranet.

Step 2 – Partner member review

PDF Association Partner members are invited to a special meeting with the BoD to assess the ballot results, including participation rate, the volume and nature of objections, and other factors. The Partners may then request the BoD to forward the document for a Member ballot, or return the document to the interest group.

Any objections to the document or process raised in Step 1c are to be included in the forwarding of the RC to the Board and Partner Members.

Step 3 – Member ballot

If so directed by the BoD, the Executive Director (ED) sends the final RC to the PDF Association membership as a whole, providing four weeks for response to an online ballot for approval as a PDF Association Publication. Members may vote:

  • YES
  • NO with comments (i.e., comments are required for a “no” vote)
  • Abstain (with or without comments)
  • Abstain (not active / no expertise in this area)

Any objections to the document or process raised in Step 1c or Step 2 are to be included in the forwarding of the RC to the Members.

Each member company has a single vote, and must decide who votes on its behalf.

Ballots are not secret; those voting must provide name, company and email address.  Anonymized ballot results and any comments received are posted on the Intranet.

The Board of Directors (BoD) will assess the ballot results, including participation rate, number and nature of objections, and other factors.

Step 4 – Publication

If approved for publication, PDF Association staff will prepare the final document and submit it for final editorial review to the interest group prior to posting on pdfa.org. PDF Association publications are published under a CC-BY 4.0 license.

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