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Instructions for authors

Date published

Guidance on submitting articles to The Structural Engineer.

1. General information

The Structural Engineer welcomes the submission of complete articles (or initial synopses) for consideration. In the first instance, contributions should be supplied to: [email protected]. For particular topics of interest, see our editorial calendar.

Articles are always considered for suitability – initially by the Institution's Publishing department and the Editorial Advisory Group, made up of chartered structural engineers. Where appropriate, 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 a final PDF of their article for personal use, along with up to five print copies of the issue in which their article appears.

2. Copyright and permissions

On acceptance of an article for publication, all authors are required to sign a Licence to publish form in which they warrant that the material is original and does not infringe the copyright of any other person. Authors must seek permission from the copyright owners to reproduce any images, figures or tables that are not their own work.

On publication of the article:

  • copyright for the original text and imagery remains with the authors
  • copyright for the design and layout of the article resides with the Institution.

3. Sustainability and climate action

All authors are encouraged to consider how their article might align with the Institution's thinking on sustainability and climate by referring to our Sustainability notes for authors and presenters. Project case studies, in particular, should consider the sustainability of the project and are encouraged to include an embodied carbon assessment.

4. Submitting an article

The Structural Engineer seeks articles for consideration across all five of its primary sections – details of which are given below.

Project focus
Peer-reviewed articles focusing on the structural engineering challenges faced during the design and build stages of a construction project.
Authors are encouraged to provide a brief description of the overall project, then focus in more detail on key aspects of the design that will be of most interest to their peers.
Where possible, authors are also encouraged to include a 'learning point' – a more detailed explanation of a design, analysis or construction technique that peers may be able to put to use in their own work.
Article length: ideally around 2500–3000 words plus 10–15 accompanying diagrams/images.

Case studies
Shorter case studies of small-scale or domestic projects (or focusing on a particularly challenging aspect of a larger project) are also welcomed. As above, these should focus on any unusual or challenging aspects of the project that will be of interest to peers.
Article length: around 2000 words plus 5–10 accompanying diagrams/images.

Professional guidance
Articles that provide information and advice on everyday matters affecting the practising structural engineer, including insurance, legal and contractual issues, aspects of running a business, and updates on codes and standards.
Article length: 1500–2000 words plus accompanying diagrams/imagery where appropriate.

Articles that are technical in nature, focusing on methods of analysis, material properties and aspects of design of structures.
Article length: 2000–2500 words plus 6–10 accompanying diagrams/images.

Letters or longer 'Viewpoint' articles – on topics of current interest that offer personal insight or opinion and encourage further discussion/debate.
Article length: 700–1500 words plus accompanying diagrams/imagery.
Letters should be short and succinct.

Articles with a broad scope, often accompanying a significant Institution award or event.
Article length: ideally around 2500–3000 words plus 10–15 accompanying diagrams/images.

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:

5. 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. After 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 corrections or 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 Word document or PDF (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. WeTransfer) 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.
Author should also supply their affiliation, including location.
Inclusion of author post-nominals (e.g. MIStructE, FIStructE) is at the author's discretion. Authors are responsible 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 through 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.
For line drawings, a line weight of at least 0.06mm should be used to ensure clear reproduction in print.
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.

Authors must seek permission from the copyright owners of any Figures/Tables that are not their own work. 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.

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

Journal article:
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, 16–18 July, 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)