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When adding or editing a field collection item that belongs to a node via the 'Embedded' method (i.e. the links that appear on the node view page) - if that node is under a revision control system (such as in my case 'Workbench moderation') - the changes made via these links are immediately updated, bypassing any revisioning or publishing workflows.
When the field collections are edited via the node edit form - the revisioning is respected (with this patch:).