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I'm looking for a word to use for a draft document that is basically finished. The draft should be marked with this word to let others know that they can look at it. This is not part of an approval process, just as a way of notifying others that the document will be published sometime soon and if they have any remarks they should put them forward as soon as possible.

The closest word I can think of is "release candidate" but that is two words (I'd prefer one) and also within the target group this expression is too closely related to software development rather than text documents.

Any suggestions?

  • RFC? – Kevin Jun 26 '14 at 0:35
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    Believe it or not, I use release candidate for the technical drafts that I write, with the first one labeled RC1, the second labeled RC2, etc. – phenry Jun 26 '14 at 1:25
  • Phenry, if you put your comment as an answer, I would vote you up. – Blessed Geek Jun 26 '14 at 4:50
  • @phenry If an RC is final, why would you need RC1, RC2 ...? – Kris Jun 26 '14 at 7:14
  • @BlessedGeek - As requested, I have posted an expanded version of my comment as an answer. – phenry Jun 26 '14 at 14:55
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I can't see what's wrong with shortening final draft to final, however some other options for you to consider are:

In scientific publications, the term postprint is used to refer to the final copy of a draft which has been submitted, has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication.

Preprint is the final document prior to peer review.

Accepted (accepted work, or accepted draft) is also an informal phrase commonly used to refer to the final draft copy.

Definitive version/work/copy are terms to describe the final version of work which has been published. Perhaps you could just use definitive.

Print-ready is a fairly self-explanatory term indicating that this document is ready to fly, which is a nice lead into...

Preflight is a term that indicates the document is ready for release

Prepress; again indicates that the document is ready for print

  • I like the pre-prefix but the attached words feel like they are related mostly to printed media. When the document has been released we say that it has been "published". Would "prepublished" be appropriate or does it mean something else? – Vik Jun 26 '14 at 9:40
  • @Vik prepublished could be stretched to meet your needs. It is also used commonly to (optimistically) describe an author that has not had work published. Another pre- word to consider is prerelease – long Jun 27 '14 at 0:33
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I actually do use release candidate for the technical drafts that I write.

We use a major.minor versioning system to denote drafts. In a typical case, the first widely circulated draft would be draft 1.0, the second widely circulated draft would be draft 2.0, and the final release would be designated version 3.0 and archived. In between, I use minor version numbers to save my daily progress and distribute interim drafts to the core team: draft 1.1, 1.2, and so on. I got annoyed when I would create what I expected to be the final draft and designated it 3.0, only to have various bigwigs demand last-minute changes, necessitating the creation of a 3.1, 3.2, etc. So now I publish a release candidate draft that may have an internal version number of 2.6, say, but gets circulated as "Draft 3.0 RC1" (Release Candidate 1). If there are any changes, I circulate 3.0 RC2 (internally saved as 2.7), RC3 (internally saved as 2.8), and so on, until we get the go-ahead to publish. The final RC version then gets saved as 3.0 in our version control system.

The term "release candidate" is borrowed from software development, as is the concept of major.minor versioning. A release candidate is exactly what it sounds like: the product is believed to be ready for release, unless additional changes are requested. You note that "within the target group this expression is too closely related to software development rather than text documents," but I find that to be an advantage, rather than a drawback: the team knows exactly what a release candidate is, and doesn't need it explained to them.

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