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Editor's Guide for Standards

ASCE standards are published as 8.5 in. x 11 in. paperbacks with black-and-white, two-column interiors and color covers. After ASCE standards have been approved, they are copyedited and typeset according to series specifications. To ensure that your standard proceeds smoothly and efficiently through the production process, please read through all the information provided in this Editor's Guide.

Editor’s Role

Standards do not have editors who are credited for their work on the book. For purposes of preparing the standard for publication, however, the chair of the standards committee or a designee fills the role of corresponding editor. The corresponding editor is responsible for setting deadlines, transmitting content, clarifying special instructions or requirements, formatting the manuscript, managing the review of copyediting and page proofs, and generally organizing the book.

Preparing Your Submission


New rules governing the organization and operation of ASCE’s standards committee went into effect on November 1, 2006. These rules cover the establishment of a standardization activity, committee membership, committee operation, processing standards, appeals, and formal interpretation. The rules are published in ASCE's Official Register and are available along with other information on ASCE’s codes and standards program on the Society’s Web site.

Before any part of a standard can be accepted by the Publications staff contact, the standard must have completed the approval process outlined in the rules, including approval by the standards committee, by the Executive Committee of the sponsoring Council or technical division, and by the Codes and Standards Committee.

Questions about ASCE’s Codes and Standards Program should be directed to the staff contact, James Neckel, 703-295-6176.

Submission Checklist

For ASCE to publish a standard, editors must submit the following items to the ASCE Codes and Standards Program staff contact, who will deliver everything to Publications:

  • Complete contact information for the corresponding editor, including e-mail address
  • Signed and dated Permissions Verification Form, along with all correspondence indicating you have permission from the original copyright holder to use previously published materials
  • An Illustration and Permissions Inventory that lists all figures and tables and indicates their permission status
  • The complete manuscript, including front matter, text, tables, figures, figure captions, and appendixes as hard copy and as electronic files (see the section Preparing the Manuscript)

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


Standards are considered to be work done "for hire"; as such, ASCE owns the copyright to standards developed by ASCE committees.


Authors/editors are responsible for (1) identifying materials in their work that require permission, (2) obtaining permission from the copyright owner, and (3) verifying that the owner is properly credited for granting permission. Thus, if a figure, photograph, or table has been published previously, the committee must obtain written approval from the original publisher (unless ASCE is the original publisher).

A note about Internet sources: Materials published on Web sites are under copyright, including such popular sources of information and images as Google, Yahoo, and Mapquest. Other sites, such as Wikipedia, contain some materials that have been copyrighted; please check the fine print. Internet sources must be credited like any other reference source, and the credit or reference must include the complete URL and the date you accessed the material. (See Credit Lines and Citing Sources elsewhere on this Web site.)

Each committee must include a signed Permissions Verification Form with its manuscript. We also strongly recommend the use of a form such as our Illustration and Permissions Inventory to keep track of figures and tables. Detailed information on permissions compliance is available elsewhere on this Web site.


ASCE will prepare a color cover based on the series design developed for ASCE standards.


ASCE will arrange to have an index created for the standard. We use a group of professional indexers who provide properly formatted indexes and who are familiar with our readership.

After Publication

Complimentary Copies

The Publication Division coordinates the distribution of complimentary copies with the Institute or division under which the standard was produced.


Marketing efforts effectively reach the civil engineering community both in the United States and abroad through the use of the ASCE membership database of over 140,000 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 manuscript. You will be asked complete a Marketing Questionnaire and tell us about opportunities for promoting your book.

Preparing the Manuscript

Because standards are copyedited and typeset, the manuscript should be prepared according to ASCE’s guidelines for typeset books. The process is a complicated one, however, and technology changes very rapidly. We encourage you to consult frequently with your Publications Staff Contact as you prepare your manuscript and its components.

You are expected to submit your manuscript as hard copy and electronic files. Details are described in the following sections.


Required Front Matter

Front matter includes the materials at the beginning of a book, before the text proper. Front matter is often prepared last of all and the pages are numbered with Roman numerals. The following elements are required for ASCE standards.

Title page

The title page must contain the full title and subtitle of the book, the standard number (if the book is a revision of an existing standard), and the complete formal name of the committee.


The abstract is a brief (100-word) paragraph description of the standard's contents. To be most useful, the abstract should present the purpose of the book, the scope of the effort, the procedures used to execute the work (if of special interest), and the major findings. It will be used to market your book and to describe your book in the Civil Engineering Database.


The table of contents is an important reference for readers and a selling feature of your book. It must contain a complete listing of part titles (if any), chapter numbers and titles. Standards may also include several levels of subheads within each chapter. The table of contents should also include appendixes or other materials included at the end of the book. It is not necessary to include page numbers in the table of contents; these will be added later, when the book has been put into pages.

A complete list of required sections is available in Section 5.1 of the Standards Writing Manual for ASCE Standards Committees.

Staff Contacts for Standards

Publications Production Director: Matt Boyle, 703-295-6241

Books Marketing Manager: Kevin Higgins, 703-295-6266


What is Rightslink®?

Rightslink logo update

Rightslink®, the online permission service, enables customers to license content on demand by connecting to document records in the Civil Engineering Database, the ASCE Library, and the Bookstore.

Watch the video to learn how it works.