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Step-by-Step Instructions

If you plan to publish with ASCE, the following instructions will help you meet our permissions requirements and thus avoid unnecessary delays in publication.

1. Identify any material that is reproduced in your manuscript and that was previously published by another publisher. Such material includes, but is not limited to

  • Direct quotations of text amounting to 100 words from a journal article or 500 words from a book;
  • Reproduction of tables; and
  • Reproduction of illustrations, including photographs, diagrams, maps, charts, and graphs.

For longer works, such as books, we strongly recommend the use of the Illustration and Permissions Inventory or a similar form that lists every figure and table in your manuscript. On the form, you can identify which figures or tables are original, which require permission, the status of your permissions requests, and whether credit lines are correct.

2. Determine whether the previously published material is under copyright. In general, you should assume that material published in print, on the Internet, or on recorded media (such as CDs) is copyright protected.

  • Some material is considered in the public domain because it was published by the U.S. government. However, some federal agencies do copyright their publications, so look for a copyright notice. Material published by state governments is not in the public domain unless it explicitly says so.
  • Reports produced under a contract may not be copyrighted, but obtaining permission may still be necessary to verify that the reports are not proprietary to the commissioning company.
  • Other material is considered in the public domain because the copyright has expired (that is, the material was published prior to 1923). Determining whether it is actually in the public domain can be tricky, so consult with your ASCE staff contact before you assume that material whose copyright seems to have expired is in the public domain.

3. Determine who the copyright owner is. In general, the copyright owner will be the publisher of your source. Your source, however, may not have been the originator of the material and may have obtained permission to reproduce it from another source. Look for a reprint notice (for text) or for credit given in a figure caption, table title, or special credit section.

  • If the copyright owner is NOT ASCE, you must request permission (go to step 4).
  • If the copyright owner is ASCE, you may reproduce the material without requesting permission as long as you credit the source. (You should verify that material in an ASCE publication was not previously published elsewhere; if it was, you must obtain permission from the original publisher, not ASCE.)

4. Contact the copyright owner and request permission in writing by letter, fax, or e-mail or through the owner’s online service.  

You are responsible for any fees charged by the copyright owner. However, you may be able to have permission fees reduced or waived if you mention that the American Society of Civil Engineers is a not-for-profit corporation.

5. Monitor the progress of your requests, and ensure that you have written permission for use in print and online versions. The Illustration and Permissions Inventory will help you track the items that require permission, whether permission has been received, and how it should be credited.

6. Obtaining permission may take several weeks or months, so start early. Follow up with the publisher if you haven’t received permission in 6 to 8 weeks. If you have trouble locating the publisher or obtaining permission after several requests, see Permission FAQs.

7. Revise your text, table notes, and figure captions to properly credit your sources and permissions. See Credit Lines and Citing Sources for a summary of the correct way to credit your sources.

8. Submit your documentation to ASCE. Send all your correspondence granting permission — along with the Illustration and Permissions Inventory and a signed Permission Verification Form (PVF), if these are required — to your ASCE staff contact.

  • Acceptable paper forms of permission include publisher’s letters, signed permission request forms, signed and faxed permission request forms, and e-mail message or electronic forms that have been printed.
  • Acceptable electronic forms of permission include permission request forms that have been signed and converted into portable document format (PDF) and e-mail messages.

The PVF states that all material in the manuscript is original to you (the author) OR in the public domain OR permitted for reproduction by the copyright owner. The PVF must be signed by one of the book's authors.

When your permissions materials are received at ASCE, they will be checked to verify that all materials requiring permission have it and that all sources have been properly credited.