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Editor's Guide for Committee Reports


ASCE committee reports are published as 5.5 in. x 8.5 in. paperbacks with full-color covers. Committee reports are produced directly from the camera-ready manuscript submitted by the committee chair/editor; they are not copyedited nor typeset. (If you are working on a TCLEE monograph, consult the TCLEE Editor's Guide.)

Editor’s Role

Every committee report has an editor, sometimes (but not always) the committee 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.

Preparing Your Submission


Committee reports are reviewed initially by all the task committee members, and chapters or sections of the report are revised as appropriate. Next, the final report is approved by the task committee and the council chair. Finally, each committee report must be approved by the appropriate division, council, or institute executive committee.

Please note that it is also the committee’s responsibility to obtain all necessary approvals from the committee members' employers, clients, project owners, and government agencies prior to submission of the committee report. Once a report has been officially submitted, it is not possible to edit the document.

Submission Checklist

For ASCE to publish a committee report, editors must submit the following to the Publications staff contact for committee reports:

  • Written approval from the appropriate division, council, or institute executive committee. Without this approval, Publications cannot allocate resources to produce the project, so do not submit any materials to Publications until this approval has been granted.
  • 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
  • All final papers or individual chapters in Microsoft Word  
  • Complete hard copy printout of the electronic files
  • All front matter as hard copy and as an electronic file (in Word)
  • Cover Suggestion Form  

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

Copyright Transfer Agreement

Before ASCE publishes any materials, the copyright ownership must be clear and, except in a few cases, transferred to ASCE. The transfer is done through the Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA). If individual authors or groups of authors prepare different chapters or sections of a committee report, each author or group of authors must submit a signed and dated Copyright Transfer Agreement. Do not alter this form. More information about copyright transfer is available elsewhere on this Web Site.


Authors and 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 submit 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.


ASCE will arrange to have an index created for your committee report. We use a group of professional indexers who provide properly formatted pages 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 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 of the Publications marketing department will contact you shortly after you submit your committee report. You will be asked complete a Marketing Questionnaire and tell us about opportunities for promoting your book.

Preparing Front Matter

All front matter must be submitted as a hard copy printout and as an electronic file, preferably in Microsoft Word. PDFs of the front matter are never acceptable.

Required Front Matter

  • Draft title page: book title, subtitle, editor name(s) exactly as they should appear in the printed book, and committee name exactly as it should appear in the printed book
  • Table of contents: include section or chapter titles and author names as they appear in the sections/titles and in the order in which they are to be placed in the book. We will edit the table of contents to reflect the final pagination, so do not attempt to insert page numbers in the table of contents and do not use Word's feature that automatically creates a table of contents.
  • Abstract: 150-word description of the book (needed to register the book with the Library of Congress)

Optional Front Matter

  • Preface: usually includes the general objectives or themes of the report, background information on the subject, and acknowledgments to contributors to the report
  • 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, a separate section should be created and placed following the preface
  • List of committee members: may be part of acknowledgments or in place of acknowledgments
  • Glossary of terms or other special items

Preparing the Camera-Ready Printout

All committee reports are "camera-ready," which means that they are not copyedited or typeset and that they are printed from the electronic files submitted by the committee editor/chair. Attention to the specifications described in this section will ensure that nothing delays the publication of your committee report.  

Printout Specifications

  • All text should be word-processed and printed out on good-quality, clean white paper that is U.S. “letter size” (8.5 in. × 11 in.) or international “A4 size” (210 mm x 297 mm).
  • Use a letter-quality ink jet or laser printer with a fresh cartridge. Do not use a dot matrix printer.
  • Print only in black-and-white; never use color.

A note about color: Committee reports are always published as black-and-white printed books, so colored elements in the manuscript will appear as black or a shade of gray. This means that some colors will no longer be distinguishable; light blue and yellow may disappear completely; and red and other dark colors will appear as solid black. A black-and-white original will give you the best idea of how your manuscript will appear in the book and will give the printer the best chance of accurately reproducing your original.


  • Page design should be consistent throughout the manuscript.
  • All text must be single-spaced.
  • Line spaces above and below headings are acceptable.
  • Justify the text blocks.
  • Margin settings (see table) must contain all elements of the paper that will be reproduced (text, figures, tables, captions). Imagine a "box" whose width does not exceed 5.75 in. (145 mm) and depth does not exceed 9 in. (225 mm).
  • Short pages are ugly and waste space; try to fill your imaginary box on each page.
  • Leave at least 1 in. (30 mm) top and bottom margins.

Margin Settings

Margins      Letter (8.5 in. x 11 in.)    A4 (210 mm x 297 mm) 

1 in.

35 mm


1 in.

35 mm


1.375 in.

32.5 mm


1.375 in.

32.5 mm

Point Size and Font

Use 12 point type for text, captions, and author contact information. For type within figures or tables, the 12 point size is preferred. We recommend selecting a serif text font, such as Times Roman, and staying within one "family" of typefaces. Italics, bold, and bold italics may be used.

Page Numbers

  • Number each page of the manuscript, including pages with illustrations that may appear after the text.
  • Page numbers should not fall within in the imaginary "box" described above.
  • Most word processing programs have options for inserting page numbers as “footers.” We recommend using Arabic numerals and centering the page number half an inch below the text.

Figures and tables

  • Numbering. Illustrations should be numbered consecutively as they are presented (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc., and Table 1, Table 2, etc.). Each figure and table should be mentioned or "called out" before it appears. 
  • Captions and legends. A descriptive caption, including figure number, should be placed directly below each figure (see Figure 1). A descriptive legend, including table number, should be placed immediately above each table.
  • Placement. Figures may be placed in text or in a gallery at the end of each chapter or section. More than one figure may appear on a page. If figures are placed in text, we recommend placement at the top or bottom of a page. Do not wrap text around the figure, even to save space. Landscape orientation is acceptable.
  • Shading. Do not use shading, grayscale, or screens in your illustrations, especially as a background to type. 


Figure 1. Sample line art illustration.


The committee report must be written in best possible technical and grammatical English. Chapter titles should be concise and should describe the content of the chapter. More information on writing style is available elsewhere on this Web site.


All mathematics must be embedded in the text with typed (not handwritten) characters. Equations need to be numbered only if they are referred to more than once. Stack numerators over denominators and leave one blank line between equations and text, and between two equations. For example:



Refer to equations in the text by (3) or Eq. 3. For equations in the text, use single-level expressions, e.g., mv = Δe / ΔsΔv, where Δe = Δe / (1+e0).

System of units

Committee reports must use the International System of Units (SI) and units acceptable in SI. Other units may be given in parentheses, dual-unit tables, or an appendix. For more information about SI units, visit the Web sites of the U.S. Metric Association (USMA), Inc. or the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or consult the book, Metric Units in Engineering: Going SI. 


All factual material that is not original with the committee must be accompanied by a reference to its source. ASCE prefers the author–date system of referencing. We strongly discourage the use of superscripts to refer to references, because the numbers often become unreadable when the pages are reduced.

The author–date system has two parts, the text citation and the reference list.

  • The text citation appears where the material to be cited is presented and it refers readers to a source in the reference list by the author's last name and the year of publication. Often, the author and date appear in parentheses; a comma is not placed between them.
  • The reference list appears at the end of each chapter or gathered in a separate section at the end of a book. The reference list should be single-spaced and list each reference alphabetically by the last name of the first author.When two or more references by the same author are listed, year of publication is taken into account, and the earliest work is listed first.
  • All sources in the reference list must be cited in text, and all text citations must refer to a source in the reference list. Additional material that is not cited in the text may be presented in a section or appendix called "Additional Information" or "Related Material."

More information on author-date references is available elsewhere on this Web site. Sample references appear in the box below.

Burka, L. P. (1993). “A hypertext history of multi-user dimensions.” MUD history, <> (Dec. 5, 1994).

Garrett, D. L. (2003). “Coupled analysis of floating production systems.” Proc., Int. Symp. on Deep Mooring Systems, ASCE, Reston, Va., 152-167.

Stahl, D. C., Wolfe, R. W., and Begel, M. (2004). “Improved analysis of timber rivet connections.” J. Struct. Eng., 130(8), 1272-1279.

Vipulanandan, C., and Kaulgud, S. (2005). “Behavior of ACIP Piles Socketed in Clay-Shale.” Proc., Geo-Frontiers 2005, Site Characterization and Modeling, Geotechnical Special Publication 138 (CD-ROM), ASCE, Reston, VA.

Zadeh, L. A. (1981). “Possibility theory and soft data analysis.” Mathematical frontiers of the social and policy sciences, L. Cobb and R. M. Thrall, eds., Westview, Boulder, Colo., 69 129.