authoring and review defined

Structured authoring (also known as rules-based, component-based or policy-based authoring) and co-authoring (also known as collaborative, joint or simultaneous authoring) are two similarly named terms but with quite different definitions. It is also worth understanding precisely what is meant by collaborative review and where this fits in the overall document production process.

structured authoring

PleaseCompose provides a structured authoring1 environment for the creation of new documents.

Structured authoring uses technology to define and enforce a document’s content, structure and style based on pre-determined rules and in accordance with company standards. Content elements (e.g. company bio, or any other commonly used material) and formatting rules (e.g. font size) are stored and maintained in one place for reuse in future documents.

When an author wishes to create a new document (e.g. a proposal, policy, SOP, etc.) they simply select the appropriate template. The act of selecting the template populates it with the up-to-date content elements. The author therefore can be confident that the new document includes the most up-to-date versions of the relevant company bio, etc. Using structured authoring in this way significantly reduces template maintenance and author training and leads to higher quality documents.

The new document is then ready for any further work as required, such as co-authoring and review, before approval and delivery. So structured authoring uses rules to:

Enforce the consistent use of pre-approved content
Include pre-defined format and style rules into the structure of the document
Initiate a new document at the very start of the document production process.


1 Please note that we are assuming that the terms ‘structured authoring’, ‘rules-based authoring’, ‘component-based authoring’ and ‘policy-based authoring’ are, for our purposes, interchangeable.


PleaseReview provides a controlled document co-authoring environment allowing complete control over ‘who can do what to where’. It allows multiple co-authors to collaboratively and simultaneously author and review an existing document.

Co-authoring (or collaborative, joint or simultaneous authoring) refers to multiple individuals working together to write a document. By inviting others to add their own expertise or subject matter knowledge to that document, the content is richer and more complex than might otherwise have been produced by one individual.

New content is added by several individuals collaborating on the document
Authors are focused on the content, rather than the style of the document
Occurs during the document production process, usually just before or during review.

collaborative review

PleaseReview provides a controlled document review environment with complete control over ‘who can do what to where’ during the review as well as ‘who can see what’ within the review. It allows multiple reviewers to collaboratively and simultaneously comment and mark-up (review) an existing document.

Document review (sometimes called peer review) refers to multiple individuals working together to review a document. This tends to happen once a document’s content is more stable, as reviewers are not expected to make major changes to the content (although they may re-write paragraphs, etc.) but are invited to comment and suggest minor edits. By making it easy for multiple individuals to review the document in a collaborative environment, there is minimum duplication as reviewers can view and respond to each others' proposed changes and comments resulting in a higher quality review, which in turn leads to a higher quality document.

Multiple individuals are invited to add comments and propose changes to the content of an existing document
The document owner(s) decides which edits and comments to accept or reject
The review takes place once the majority of the document's content has been compiled. When the review is complete, the document is ready for approval and publication.