The publishing of books and other works by their authors, rather than by established, third-party publishers. While self-publishers assume the financial risk of publication, bearing the cost of manufacturing and of selling their own book, they also retain all net sales income. Self-publishing is a feature of new, collaborative forms of authorship (e.g. open source publishing). To date, however, self-published academic works have a low status among scholars, institutions and funding authorities, mainly because they tend not to be peer reviewed before publication.
This definition is extracted (and expanded on) from the book Getting Published: A Companion for the Humanities and Social Sciences by Gerald Jackson and Marie Lenstrup. It was first referred to in the blog Getting Published in a post on the rise of self-publishing.