ASME Journals Digital Submission Tool
uidelines and Information

Writing a Technical Paper or Brief


A research paper should not exceed 9000 words. Beyond this amount, a mandatory excess-page charge will be assigned. (These charges are described further in Publication Charges.) This corresponds to approximately 20-25 total manuscript pages, single-spaced with 10 pt. type, with each figure counting as a page. A technical brief should not exceed 2500 words, approximately 8-12 manuscript pages.


Elements of a Paper or Brief
The basic elements of a paper or brief are listed below in the order in which they should appear:



The title of the paper should be concise and definitive.


Author Names and Affiliations

It is ASME policy that all those who have participated significantly in the technical aspects of a paper be recognized as co-authors or cited in the acknowledgments. Author name should consist of first name (or initial), middle initial, and last name. The author affiliation should consist of the following, as applicable, in the order noted:



A short abstract (100 words maximum) should open the paper or brief. The purposes of the abstract are:

  1. To give a clear indication of the objective, scope, and results so that readers may determine whether the full text will be of particular interest to them.

  2. To provide key words and phrases for indexing, abstracting, and retrieval purposes.


The abstract text should be organized to include the following categories in the order noted:


NOTE: The category name or title shown above should be listed in the abstract, followed by the actual descriptive text. See sample below.


Background. This is explanatory text that discusses the background. This text appears first in the abstract.

Method of Approach. This text describes the method of approach. This text describes the method of approach.

Results. Results are provided at this point in the abstract. Results are provided at this point in the abstract.

Conclusions. Concluding remarks are stated at the end of the abstract text.

Keywords: mechanical engineering, mechanical design, engineering technology


Keywords should be included on a separate line at the end of the abstract text.


Body of the Paper

Outline. A proper outline is the framework upon which a good paper is written. In the process of making the outline, ideas are classified and thoughts are ordered into a logical sequence such that by the time the information is ready to be transformed into complete sentences, a good overall mental picture has been formed. In outline form, the sequence of the various items and the progression of thought can easily be adjusted and readjusted until the desired order is obtained; therefore, much writing and rewriting is saved.


Organization. The text should be organized into logical parts or sections. The purpose of the paper, or the author's aim, should be stated at the beginning so that the reader will have a clear concept of the paper's objective. This should be followed by a description of the problem, the means of solution, and any other information necessary to properly qualify the results presented and the conclusions. Finally, the results should be presented in an orderly form, followed by the author's conclusions.


Style. The chief purpose of the work is to convey information to others, many of whom may be less familiar with the general subject than the author. Care should be taken, therefore, to use simple terms and expressions and to make statements as concise as possible. If highly technical terms or phraseology are necessary, they should be adequately explained and defined. The use of the first person and reference to individuals should be made in such a manner as to avoid personal bias. Company names should be mentioned only in the acknowledgments.


All papers should be concise regardless of length. Long quotations should be avoided by referring to sources. Illustrations and tables, where they help clarify the meaning or are necessary to demonstrate results properly, are desirable, but they should be kept to a practicable minimum. Detailed drawings, lengthy test data and calculations, and photographs that may be interesting, but which are not integral to the understanding of the subject, should be omitted. Equations should be kept to a reasonable minimum, and built-up fractions within sentences should be avoided whenever possible to enhance readability. Papers that fail to conform to these requirements may be returned for revision and/or condensation.


Originality. Only original contributions to the engineering literature are accepted for publication. In most cases, this means that the work should incorporate substantial information not previously published. Under certain circumstances, reviews, collations, or analyses of information previously published may be acceptable.


Accuracy. It is of the greatest importance that all technical, scientific, and mathematical information contained in the paper be checked with the utmost care. A slight error may result in a serious error on the part of anyone who may later use that information.


Use of SI Units. It is ASME policy that SI units of measurement be included in all papers, publications, and ASME Codes and Standards. When U.S. customary units are given preference, the SI equivalent should be provided in parentheses or in a supplementary table. And vice versa, when preference is given to SI units, the U.S. customary units should be provided in parentheses or in a supplementary table.



Headings and subheadings should appear throughout the work to divide the subject matter into logical parts and to emphasize the major elements and considerations. These headings assist the reader in following the trend of thought and in forming a mental picture of the points of chief importance. Parts or sections may be numbered, if desired, but paragraphs should not be numbered.



Where several considerations, conditions, requirements, or other qualifying items are involved in a presentation, it is often advantageous to put them in tabular or enumerative form, one after the other, rather than to run them into the text. This arrangement, in addition to emphasizing the items, creates a graphic impression that aids the reader in accessing the information and in forming an overall picture. It is customary to identify the individual items as (1), (2), (3), etc., or as (a), (b), (c), etc. Although inclusion of such elements makes the text livelier, care should be taken not to use this scheme too frequently, as it can make the reading choppy and invalidate their purpose and usefulness.



Equations should be numbered consecutively beginning with (1) to the end of the paper, including any appendices. The number should be enclosed in parentheses (as shown above) and set flush right in the column on the same line as the equation. It is this number that should be used when referring to equations within the text. Equations should be referenced within the text as "Eq. (x)." When the reference to an equation begins a sentence, it should be spelled out, e.g., "Equation (x)."


Formulas and equations should be created to clearly distinguish capital letters from lowercase letters. Care should be taken to avoid confusion between the lowercase "l"(el) and the numeral one, or between zero and the lowercase "o." All subscripts, superscripts, Greek letters, and other symbols should be clearly indicated.


In all mathematical expressions and analyses, any symbols (and the units in which they are measured) not previously defined in nomenclature should be explained. If the paper is highly mathematical in nature, it may be advisable to develop equations and formulas in appendices rather than in the body of the paper.



All figures (graphs, line drawings, photographs, etc.) should be numbered consecutively and have a caption consisting of the figure number and a brief title or description of the figure. This number should be used when referring to the figure in text. Figure references should be included within the text in numerical order according to their order of appearance. Figures should be referenced within the text as "Fig. 1." When the reference to a figure begins a sentence, the abbreviation "Fig." should be spelled out, e.g., "Figure 1." A separate list of figure numbers and their respective captions should be included at the end of the paper (for production purposes only).



All tables should be numbered consecutively and have a caption consisting of the table number and a brief title. This number should be used when referring to the table in text. Table references should be included within the text in numerical order according to their order of appearance. Tables should be inserted as part of the text as close as possible to its first reference — with the exception of those tables included at the end of the paper as an appendix. A separate list of table numbers and their respective captions should be included at the end of the paper (for production purposes only).



Acknowledgments may be made to individuals or institutions not mentioned elsewhere in the work who have made an important contribution.



Nomenclature should follow customary usage. For reference, consult American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommendations. The nomenclature list should be in alphabetical order (capital letters first, followed by lowercase letters), followed by any Greek symbols, with subscripts and superscripts last, identified with headings.



Within the text, references should be cited in numerical order according to their order of appearance. The numbered reference citation within text should be enclosed in brackets.


Example: It was shown by Prusa [1] that the width of the plume decreases under these conditions.


In the case of two citations, the numbers should be separated by a comma [1,2]. In the case of more than two references, the numbers should be separated by a dash [5-7].


List of References. References to original sources for cited material should be listed together at the end of the paper; footnotes should not be used for this purpose. References should be arranged in numerical order according to the sequence of citations within the text. Each reference should include the last name of each author followed by his initials.


(1) Reference to journal articles and papers in serial publications should include:


(2) Reference to textbooks and monographs should include:


(3) Reference to individual conference papers, papers in compiled conference proceedings, or any other collection of works by numerous authors should include:


(4) Reference to theses and technical reports should include:


Sample References

[1] Ning, X., and Lovell, M. R., 2002, “On the Sliding Friction Characteristics of Unidirectional Continuous FRP Composites,” ASME J. Tribol., 124(1), pp. 5-13.


[2] Barnes, M., 2001, “Stresses in Solenoids,” J. Appl. Phys., 48(5), pp. 2000–2008.


[3] Jones, J., 2000, Contact Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, Chap. 6.


[4] Lee, Y., Korpela, S. A., and Horne, R. N., 1982, “Structure of Multi-Cellular Natural Convection in a Tall Vertical Annulus,” Proc. 7th International Heat Transfer Conference, U. Grigul et al., eds., Hemisphere, Washington, DC, 2, pp. 221–226.


[5] Hashish, M., 2000, “600 MPa Waterjet Technology Development,” High Pressure Technology, PVP-Vol. 406, pp. 135-140.


[6] Watson, D. W., 1997, “Thermodynamic Analysis,” ASME Paper No. 97-GT-288.


[7] Tung, C. Y., 1982, “Evaporative Heat Transfer in the Contact Line of a Mixture,” Ph.D. thesis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.


[8] Kwon, O. K., and Pletcher, R. H., 1981, “Prediction of the Incompressible Flow Over A Rearward-Facing Step,” Technical Report No. HTL-26, CFD-4, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA.


[9] Smith, R., 2002, “Conformal Lubricated Contact of Cylindrical Surfaces Involved in a Non-Steady Motion,” Ph.D. thesis,


Headers and Footers

Each submission should be provided with page numbers and footers on each page. The footer should contain the current date, the corresponding author’s last name, and the page number. The header should contain the paper title.