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Editor's Guide for Conference Proceedings


These instructions are meant to help organize and inform editors of ASCE-published Conference Proceedings. If you follow this guide, the final product will be an attractive and consistent document. If the papers for your proceedings are being gathered using the Conference Department Web site, please refer to that site for instructions.

Editor’s Role

Every conference proceedings has an editor, sometimes (but not always) the conference chair. The editor is usually responsible for setting deadlines, approving content, clarifying special instructions or requirements, setting up the manuscript as camera-ready copy, and generally organizing the book.

Submission Checklist

For ASCE to publish a conference proceedings, editors must submit the following to the Publications staff contact for proceedings:

  • If a conference is sponsored by ASCE, no additional written approval is required. If a conference is not sponsored by ASCE, then written approval from the appropriate division, council, or institute executive committeeis required. (Without this approval, we are cannot allocate resources to produce the project.)
  • Complete contact information for the editor, including e-mail address
  • A signed and dated Copyright Transfer Agreement for every paper to be included in the proceedings
  • A signed and dated Permissions Verification Form for every paper to be included in the proceedings
  • All front matter as hard copy and as an electronic file (preferably in Microsoft Word).
  • For books, complete hard copy printout of the manuscript, including all illustrations. For CD-ROMs, complete electronic files and hard copy printout, including all illustrations. Black-and-white originals are required.
  • Cover Suggestion Form  

Keep copies of all materials you submit, for they will not be returned.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Select a product

As early in the process as possible, the committee must choose between a CD and a book as the proceedings product. This decision may affect other decisions, including maximum page count and format requirements.

Step 2. Make a schedule

The manuscripts are due at ASCE Books Production Department 12 to 14 weeks before the finished product (book or CD) is needed. Final manuscripts and copyright forms are due to the editor 4 to 6 weeks before they are due at ASCE to allow time for you to organize the manuscripts, create the frontmatter, and send back any problem papers to contributors. Authors should be advised of guidelines about 3 months before their papers are due for review or final submission. If your manuscripts are undergoing peer review, you may want to send the author instructions and required forms to the author with the abstract acceptance letter. This step will help authors avoid the extra work of reformatting their papers after the review process is complete.

A sample schedule follows:

  • If a book of Proceedings is needed by June 1, 2004, ASCE should have the manuscript around March 2, 2004.
  • For you, the editor, to have all manuscripts and required forms to ASCE by March 2, you should ask that your authors have their material to you by around January 26, 2004.
  • For the authors to get their material to you by January 26, they need author instructions and required forms by October 26, 2003.

Step 3. Inform your contributors

You will be given a Web address that contains author instructions for your proceedings. Inform your contributors about this Web address and tell them to retrieve the author instructions. Be prepared to monitor incoming papers to ensure that the contributors formatted them according to the author instructions and that they signed and returned the required forms.

Step 4. Organize the material

The manuscripts will start pouring in around the date that you provided to your contributors. Many authors request deadline extensions; such extensions are at your discretion depending on your ability to process late manuscripts and still meet your ASCE dates.

Organize the manuscripts (originals, including illustrations) in the order in which they will appear in the book. Attach the required Copyright Transfer Agreement and Permission Verification Form to the appropriate manuscript.

If the final product is to be a CD.

If the final product will be a CD, we must receive an electronic file and a hard copy for every paper. Please provide the electronic files as original source files. In other words, let contributors know that they should not PDF their own papers. The available software does not give users the option of embedding fonts, so error messages come up later.

Step 5. Provide frontmatter

All frontmatter must be provided as an electronic file (Microsoft Word is preferred).

Required frontmatter

  • Draft title page: book title, subtitle, and editor name(s) exactly as they should appear in the printed book, and dates and location of the conference
  • Table of contents: includes chapter titles and author names as they appear on the papers and in the order in which they are to be placed in the book
  • Abstract: 150-word description of the book (needed to register the book with the Library of Congress)

Optional frontmatter

  • Preface: usually includes the general objectives or themes of the conference, background information on the subject, the review process (if the papers were peer reviewed), and acknowledgments to contributors to the proceedings or conference
  • Foreword: usually a statement by someone other than the editor
  • Introduction: material relevant to the text that should be read before the rest of the book
  • Acknowledgments: if the list of acknowledgments in the preface is long, or to draw special attention to the contributors, a separate section should be created and placed following the preface
  • List of committee members, conference organizers, or sponsors: this list may be part of the acknowledgments or in place of the acknowledgment
  • Glossary of terms or other special items

We will paginate the book, add page numbers to the table of contents, and compile author and subject indexes.


ASCE will design a two-color cover based on the editor’s Cover Suggestion Form. If we do not receive a form, we may design a text-only cover. The editor will have the opportunity to review and comment on the cover, including the back cover copy.

After Publication


Marketing efforts effectively reach the civil engineering community both in the United States and abroad through the use of the ASCE membership database of more than 130,000 members worldwide and alliances with other professional societies and distribution centers around the world. ASCE publications can be found in technical and professional libraries and bookstores, corporate information centers, government agencies, and on required reading lists at leading colleges and universities. ASCE Publications are displayed at various significant meetings and specialty conferences.

A staff member from the Publications marketing department will contact you shortly after you submit your proceedings papers. You will be asked complete a Marketing Questionnaire and tell us about opportunities for promoting your book.


Copies of the proceedings are distributed by the conference, as part of registration.