The Structural Engineer > Instructions for authors

Instructions for authors

1. General information

The Structural Engineer welcomes the submission of complete articles (or initial synopses) for consideration. Contributions should be supplied to: in the first instance.

Articles are always considered for suitability — initially by the Institution's publishing department, followed by at least one Editorial Advisory Group Member (all of whom are Chartered structural engineers). Some articles will also undergo expert peer review. Authors will then be notified of the decision, together with any required revisions.

Upon request, published authors will receive five print copies of the issue in which their article appears. Unfortunately, we cannot supply authors with print-ready PDFs.

2. Copyright

All authors who are not members of the Institution are required to sign a Licence to publish form as soon as their article is accepted for publication.

According to copyright law and the Institution's Regulation 10.2, Institution member authors do not need to sign a Licence to publish form.

Copyright for the text and imagery remains with the authors.

Copyright for the design and layout of the article resides with the Institution.

3. The magazine's sections

The Structural Engineer seeks articles for consideration across all five of its primary sections:

Articles with a broad scope, often accompanying a significant Institution award or event.
Article length: 5000 words (max.) plus accompanying diagrams/imagery.

Project focus
Peer-reviewed papers focusing on the structural engineering challenges faced during the design and build stages of a construction project.
Article length: 5000 words (max.) plus accompanying diagrams/imagery.

Professional guidance
Articles that provide information and advice on everyday matters affecting the practising structural engineer.
Article length: 2000 words (max.) plus accompanying diagrams/imagery.

Articles that are technical in nature, focusing on methods of analysis, material properties and aspects of design of structures.
Article length: 3000 words (max.) plus accompanying diagrams/imagery.

Letters, book reviews, personal profiles or longer 'Viewpoint' articles — on topics of current interest that offer personal insight or opinion and encourage further discussion/debate.
Article length: dependent on article type. 2000 words (max.) plus accompanying diagrams/imagery.

Research (2014)
With the launch of Structures (a new research journal published in collaboration with Elsevier) in early 2015, The Structural Engineer no longer accepts research-based articles.
To submit to Structures, visit:

4. House style

Once an article has been accepted for publication it will be copy edited by the publishing department in accordance with the magazine's house style. Once the article has been designed and proofread by the team, contributors are supplied with an article 'proof' which provides an opportunity for authors to submit minor suggestions for change, before the article is finalised for publication.

However, some basic stylistic guidelines should be observed by authors, prior to initial submission:

UK English 
Articles should be written using UK English. If English is not the author's first language, they are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of a native English speaker as part of the article preparation process.

File format
Initially, both text and images should be supplied as a single PDF or Word document (with low resolution image files inserted in the document).
Following peer review and acceptance, separate, high-resolution image files should be supplied, together with the final text as a Word document.
Authors may need to use a file-sharing service (e.g. Dropbox) if the image files are particularly large.

Author attribution and post-nominals 
Authors can be attributed to an article using either *Christian name, Surname* or *Christian name initial, Surname* formats. Where no preference is specified, the magazine adopts the *Christian name, Surname* format.
Inclusion of author post-nominals (e.g. MIStructE, FIStructE) is at the author's discretion. Authors are responsibe for supplying this information.

Avoid the use of double spacing at the end of a sentence.

Feature, Project focus and Technical articles should contain a synopsis (150 words max.) positioned before the introduction.

Subheadings and structure
Authors are encouraged to structure their article clearly, using subheadings to 'signpost' the reader trhough the text. It is recommended that authors include a short introduction setting out the scope of the article and making clear what level of prior knowledge is assumed of readers, as well as a brief conclusion.

Figures, equations and tables 
Figures, equations and tables should be referred to sequentially in the text. The abbreviations 'Fig.' and 'Eq.' should be used for subsequent mentions of a particular Figure/Equation.
A list of concise Figure captions (10 words max. and avoiding the use of words like 'the' and 'a' where possible) should be provided at the end of the article.
Authors should have sought permission from the copyright owners of any Figures/Tables that are not their own. If these need to be credited, please supply the name/s of the copyright owner/s in a list at the end of the article.
Equations should be clearly separated from the body text through the use of line breaks and denoted by a parenthesised numeral e.g. '(1)'. Equations should be set using either the Word equation editor or MathType.

In-text mentions of a particular reference should be denoted using a superscript numeral. It is often unnecessary to identify the reference more than once.
References should be numbered sequentially, in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text.
A reference list, corresponding to the superscript numerals used in the text (and including all the necessary details described below), must be provided at the end of the article.

The following examples illustrate how authors should format different types of reference:

British Standards Institution (2008) NA to BS EN 1993-1-8:2005 UK National Annex to Eurocode 3. Design of steel structures. Design of joints, London: BSI

Baldwin L.W., Jones R. and Farmer I.A. (2014) ‘Instructions for authors’, The Structural Engineer, 17 (8), pp. 1–5

Jones R. (2014) Instructions for authors (2nd ed.), London: The Institution of Structural Engineers

Conference proceedings:
Farmer I.A., Jones R. and Baldwin L.W. et al. (2014) ‘Instructions for authors’, 1st Institution Conference on House Style, Berlin, Germany, July 16–18, London: Institution of Structural Engineers, pp.759–764  

Any publication that is freely available online:
EEFIT (2010) The Haiti earthquake of 12 January 2010 [Online] Available at: (Accessed: August 2014)

The Institution of Structural Engineers (2014) The Structural Engineer [Online] Available at: (Accessed: August 2014)