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Editor's Guide for Manuals of Practice


ASCE manuals and reports on engineering practice (known as "manuals" or "MOPs") are published as paperbacks, usually 6 in. x 9 in., with black-and-white interiors and full-color covers. After ASCE MOPs have been approved, they are copyedited and typeset according to series specifications. To ensure that your manual proceeds smoothly and efficiently through the production process, please read through all the information provided in this Editor's Guide.

Editor’s Role

Every MOP has an editor, sometimes (but not always) the committee chair. The 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


MOPs are drafted by a committee of one of ASCE's institutes or divisions. When the draft is completed, the Executive Committee of the sponsoring institute or division appoints a balanced "blue ribbon" review panel consisting of at least three experts in the area of the manual who were not involved in the writing of it. The blue ribbon panel conducts an independent peer review of the MOP draft and reports back to the sponsoring committee on their findings.

Then, the sponsoring committee takes the blue ribbon review into account in preparing a final manuscript, and any recommendations that are not incorporated are refuted. The Executive Committee of the sponsoring institute or division determines whether the blue ribbon panel's recommendations have been addressed satisfactorily. With the Executive Committee's approval, the manual can be turned over to the Books Production Manager, who will submit it to ASCE's Board Publications Committee for final approval.

Before any part of a manual can be accepted by the Books Production Manager, the MOP must have approval from the Executive Committee of the sponsoring institute or division.

Submission Checklist

For ASCE to publish a manual, the editor must submit the following items to the Books Production Manager, via the committee's ASCE staff contact:

  • Written approval from the sponsoring committee and approval from the appropriate institute or division Executive Committee. The approval must specify that the manuscript is to be published as a manual of practice. Without these approvals, we cannot request approval from the Board Publications Committee to allocate resources to produce the manual.
  • A list of the names and affiliations of the blue ribbon committee members. There must be at least three blue ribbon reviewers, none of whom was involved in the preparation of the manuscript.
  • Complete contact information for the editor, including e-mail address
  • Signed and dated Copyright Transfer Agreement  
  • 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)
  • Cover Suggestion Form 

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


Before ASCE publishes any materials, the copyright ownership must be clear and, except in a few special cases, transferred to ASCE. The transfer is done through a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA). For work done by a committee, the editor signs on the behalf of the committee. If individual authors or groups of authors prepare different chapters or sections of a manual, each author or group of authors must submit a signed and dated CTA. More information on copyright transfer is available elsewhere on this Web site.


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.


A professional graphic designer will design a full-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.

Note that neither the editor’s name nor the committee name will be set on the cover or spine of the manual. However, both can be included on the title page.


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

After Publication

Complimentary Copies

The Publications Division will provide as many as 10 complimentary copies for distribution to committee members. Shipping addresses must be submitted to Publications prior to 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 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 manuals 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 manuals.

Title page

The title page must contain the full title and subtitle of the book and the manual number (if the book is a revision of an existing manual). If the committee name and editor are to be listed on the title page, include the complete formal name of the committee and editor's complete name.


The abstract is a brief (150-word) paragraph description of the manual'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. Manuals also may include one or two 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.


The preface presents the purpose and scope of the book. In it, you should explain why the book is needed, for whom it is intended, and what is included.

Staff Contacts for Manuals

Books Production Manager: Julie Kimmel, 703-295-6241

Marketing Manager:  Kevin Higgins, 703-295-6266