General Information

Revised 4/28/2020

All material should be written in clear, correct American English. All ASABE technical publications use the same editorial style. The best way to become familiar with the general style of ASABE technical publications is to review a recent issue of an ASABE journal.

Journal articles and books are edited and prepared for publication by ASABE staff. The ASABE templates provide a manuscript format that is suitable for review and conversion to final layout. ASABE staff will do the layout for the PDF files and print version of these publications, and also move the material into the ASABE Technical Library in a form that is readily indexed and searchable.

Papers from meetings and conferences are not edited by ASABE staff. The ASABE templates for these publications help authors provide a uniform, professional appearance for the PDF file of these publications, and also facilitate moving the material into the ASABE Technical Library in a form that is readily indexed and searchable.

Please use this Guide along with an ASABE template for your publication type. If you have questions about style, technical terms, or reference citations, please email Publications@asabe.org.

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Supplementary Information

If you have supplementary information (SI) or material that you want to publish and reference in your manuscript or are required to provide, you may create a free account at Figshare and reference the data by DOI. The free Figshare account for individuals has a 5GB size limit per file. We do not currently peer review those materials.

Figures

Include figures (graphs, photographs, drawings, etc.) to emphasize points made in the text. See details on preferred image types below such as JPEG, TIFF, EMF, PNG, and Excel.

Make your figures the size you prefer. Design them to make efficient use of space, keeping in mind that large figures increase page charges. For Applied Engineering in Agriculture and Transactions of the ASABE figures are generally the width of a column (20 picas, ~3.33 in, ~8.5 cm), but may be as wide as a page (41 picas, ~6.83 in, ~17.4 cm). For the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, make each figure no wider than the page width (30 picas, ~5.0 in, ~12.7 cm).

Please observe the following points:

  • Place each figure in your manuscript after the first paragraph that mentions it.
  • Every figure must be explicitly mentioned in the text.
  • Number figures in the order of their citation in the text and refer to them as figure 1, figure 2, etc. Abbreviate the word “figure” only in parentheses: (fig. 1).
  • Include a descriptive caption with each figure. The caption may be a sentence fragment or a few sentences long. Figures should not have titles.
  • A figure may contain a legend, such as to define symbols. Place the legend either directly below the figure or within it.
  • Avoid using the Word drawing canvas except when absolutely necessary, for example to constrain floating elements, such as arrows, within a figure.
  • To remove unwanted material, do not place a text box over it or crop it in Word since it will reappear in the HTML version online. Instead, open the graphic and delete the unwanted elements.
  • It is generally not necessary to show all the data points and coordinate rulings.
  • If a point represents the mean of a number of observations, indicate the magnitude of the variability by a vertical line at each point.
  • Use boldface only for x-axis and y-axis labels. Use all capitals only when necessary (e.g., for acronyms).
  • Figure Text (see example below):
    • Within a figure, use a six to eight point sans serif font, such as Arial or Verdana.
    • Figure parts are labeled with letters like (a), (b), and (c) using eight point, bold, Times New Roman font. Labels are either outside the figure as text (preferred) or may be part of the figure.
    • Identify and describe each part in the caption.
  • You may use horizontal or vertical type, but avoid other angles.
  • All lines must be at least one-half point wide to reproduce in print and be distinct.
  • Color figures will display in color in the web version but are printed in grayscale. Print your color figures in grayscale and verify that they can be interpreted correctly. The loss of color may make lines and gradients indistinguishable.
  • For digital photos, use the medium or large file setting, not the small file (low quality) setting. For scans and other images, use 600 dpi for black and white line art and 300 dpi for color or grayscale (including photos). Higher resolution will not increase the quality of the published image.
  • To ensure image quality, check your Word settings in File/Options/Advanced. Scroll down to "Image Size and Quality". Check the box for “Do not compress images in file”.
  • The image types below are preferred. After acceptance, we may ask you to provide files for images due to resolution issues. For best results, in Word go to the "Insert" menu and choose "Pictures" to insert the image file. For Excel graphs, embed the object instead of linking to a file.
    Only use copy and paste for images, if necessary. Word may convert the image to a bitmap resulting in a lower quality image with jaggies.
    • Figures (line art) file formats: Enhanced MetaFile EMF, embedded Excel, or PNG. You may also use JPG and TIFF, if necessary.
    • Photographs: JPG or TIFF
  • Do not use EPS file types.

If you have questions about preparing figures, please contact Publications@asabe.org.

Tables

Tables are used for reporting extensive numerical data in an organized manner. The data presented in tables should neither be duplicated in figures nor reviewed extensively in the text.

Design your tables to make efficient use of space, because large tables increase page charges. For Transactions of the ASABE and Applied Engineering in Agriculture, prepare each table to fit either one column (20 picas, ~3.33 in, ~8.5 cm) or the page width (41 picas, ~6.83, ~17.4 cm). Tables in the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health should be no wider than 30 picas, ~5.0 in, ~12.7 cm. For meeting and conference papers, make them no wider than the page size in the template. If necessary, tables may be placed sideways on the page.

Please observe the following points:

  • Number tables in the order of their citation in the text and refer to them as table 1, table 2, etc.
  • Use the Table contents style, which calls for 8-point Times New Roman type inside your table.
  • Include a descriptive caption with each table. The caption may be a sentence fragment or a few sentences long.
  • Create your tables in MS Word or Excel. Do not submit tables in a graphic format. Do not separate columns with tabs or spaces.
  • Do not include excessive text in the column headings. Place explanatory information in the table caption, in the manuscript text, or in a footnote at the bottom of the table.
  • Do not include columns of data that can be easily calculated from other columns.
  • Use horizontal lines to separate sections within a table. You may place additional lines under subheads or under heads that span two or more columns, and you may need to insert blank columns to achieve this (as shown in the sample table).
  • Use bracketed superscripted letters ([a], [b], [c], etc.) for explanatory footnotes within the table. Assign footnotes to elements within a table in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom sequence.
  • Use asterisks (*, **) to indicate statistical significance, and explain the significance in a footnote.
  • Use lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) to indicate statistical relationships among elements within a table, and explain the relationships in a footnote.

If you have questions about preparing tables, please contact Publications@asabe.org.

Sample table and caption:

Equations

Do not derive or reproduce recognized equations; rather, cite a source and refer to the equation by its standard name. State only those assumptions and initial boundary conditions needed to understand the development of the equation.

For a new equation, state all assumptions and initial boundary conditions and give sufficient derivation for the reader to understand its development. Show only those mathematical steps required for comprehension. Interpret the significance of the mathematics, and indicate the accuracy and range of usefulness of the equations.

For Transactions of the ASABE and Applied Engineering in Agriculture, prepare each equation to fit within the width of a column (20 picas, ~3.33 in, ~8.5 cm). For the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, make each equation no wider than the page width (30 picas, ~5.0 in, ~12.7 cm). When necessary, break an equation before an operational sign or at a major bracket.

Please observe the following points:

  • Insert each equation into your manuscript at the point where you would like it to appear in the published article. Small equations may be incorporated into the text. Equations that are separate from the text are introduced by the preceding text and a colon (see the sample equation). These separate equations are numbered consecutively. Refer to numbered equations as equation 1, equation 2, etc., or abbreviated in parentheses as (eq. 1).
  • The type style in the equation should match the type style in the corresponding text (which is 10-point Times New Roman for most text), including italicized variables.
  • Prepare simple expressions by using ordinary type (including superscripts, subscripts, and the Symbol font). For other equations, use MathType (preferred) or the built-in Word equation editor. After we receive a manuscript, we convert equations to MathType with the correct font sizes and italics.
  • Include the equation number in parentheses, to the right of the equation, by using a tab. Type the equation number outside of the equation editor box.
  • Define variables and supply SI units. If there are more than two such elements in an equation, then list them individually after the equation (as in the sample below):

Numbers

In general, use words for numbers one through nine and use digits for numbers 10 and greater. For a series of numbers, any of which are greater than 10, use digits for all. Use digits for values followed by abbreviated units. For example:
    There were five hens in the pen.
    Use 5 mL of water.
    The component consisted of 231 parts.
    The mixture contained 2 parts magnesium, 12 parts copper, and 8 parts lead.

When two numbers occur as adjacent adjectives, spell out the first one. For example:
    There were thirty 12 mm holes in the first section.

When a number begins a sentence, spell it out or rewrite the sentence. For example:
    Fifty samples were prepared.
    We prepared 50 samples.

Units of Measurement

Express all units of measure in SI (metric) units. You may include non-metric (USCS) units in parentheses in special instances, such as for specifications that were originally supplied in non-metric units. For a further explanation of units and conversions, refer to the standard ASAE EP285.7: Use of SI (Metric) Units.

Use a space, not a hyphen, between the number and the unit:
    5 g
    20 ha

Do not use a space for percentages and degrees:
    37%
    27°C

In a series of measurements, indicate the unit at the end:
    3, 6, and 8 cm.

except for percentages and degrees:
    2°C to 10°C (not 2 to 10°C)
    15% to 25% (not 15 to 20%)

Precede fractional decimal values with a zero:
    0.0125 (not .0125)

A comma is optional for four-digit numbers:
    1000 kg or 1,000 kg

Use a comma for five-digit and larger numbers:
    10,000 kg (not 10000 kg)

Express derived units in exponent form with spaces between the elements:
    12 kg m-2
    32 MJ m-2 d-1

Time

Use 24-hour clock notation. The day begins at midnight (00:00 h), and the last minute of the day is at 23:59 h. The notation “24:00 h on 14 January” is the same time as “00:00 h on 15 January.” The use of “a.m.” and “p.m.” is also acceptable, but note that these terms do not apply to noon and midnight:
    4:00 a.m. = 04:00 h
    12:00 noon = 12:00 h
    10:43 p.m. = 22:43 h

Dates

Write all dates in day-month-year format, with no punctuation and with names, rather than numbers, for the months:
    12 January 2020
    4 to 16 August

In tables, the names of months may be abbreviated to save space:
    Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Abbreviations in Text

In general, spell out abbreviations that that might be unfamiliar to the ASABE audience. Such abbreviations only need to be spelled out at their first occurrence.

Spell out the scientific name of an organism at its first occurrence in the text. After the first occurrence, you may use the first letter of the genus.

Form plurals for abbreviations without an apostrophe:
    PCs, CVs, PhDs

Omit periods after abbreviated units (except “in.” for inch):
    5 m, 3.5 in., 30 cm

Abbreviate units only after a numeric value:
    24 h
    Several hours later

The following abbreviations are widely used in material published by ASABE:

alternating current AC
amperes A
bushels bu
coefficient of variation   CV
cultivar cv
direct current DC
dry basis d.b.
hectares ha
hours h
inches in.
inside diameter i.d.
joules J
kilo- k (as in kV)
liters L
micro- μ (as in μV)
milli- m (as in mL)
minutes min
outside diameter o.d.
pounds lb
seconds s
standard deviation SD
volts V
watts W
wet basis w.b.

Abbreviations in References

Do not abbreviate any words in the titles of articles, chapters, books, or dissertations.

Abbreviations are used in the names of journals and conferences. The names of ASABE journals are abbreviated as Trans. ASABE, Appl. Eng. Agric., and J. Agric. Saf. Health.

In general, to abbreviate the names of journals and conferences:

  • Omit minor words (the, of, and, etc.) unless surrounded by entire words.
  • For U.S. states and Canadian provinces, use the two-letter postal codes.
  • For familiar organizations, use the initials: ASABE, ASAE, ASRAE, ASTM, CDC, CSA, CSSA, FAO, IEEE, ISO, JAWRA, JEQ, SAE, SSSA, SSSAJ, USDA, USDA-ARS, USDA-NRCS, USDA-NASS, USEPA, USGS, etc. Below are abbreviations commonly used in journal titles. For others, consult the ISO abbreviation list.
  • Do not abbreviate one-word journal titles, such as Nature or Science.

Use the abbreviations below for words that commonly appear in the titles of journals and conference proceedings. For others, consult the ISO abbreviation list.

Advances, Advanced Adv.
Agriculture, Agricultural Agric.
Agronomy Agron.
American Am.
Annals Ann.
Annual Annu.
Applied, Applications Appl.
Association Assoc.
Biology, Biological Biol.
Biosystems Biosyst.
Chemistry, Chemical Chem.
Communications Commun.
Computers, Computing Comput.
Conference Conf.
Congress Congr.
Conservation Conserv.
Cooperative Coop.
Department Dep.
Division Div.
Drainage Drain.
Ecology, Ecological Ecol.
Electrical Electr.
Electronic Electron.
Engineers, Engineering Eng.
Environment, Environmental   Environ.
Experiment, Experimental Exp.
Extension Ext.
Federation, Federal Fed.
Fundamentals Fundam.
Geographical, Geography Geogr.
Geological, Geology Geol.
Government Gov.
Horticulture Hortic.
Hydrology, Hydrological Hydrol.
Industry, Industrial Ind.
Institute Inst.
International Int.
Irrigation Irrig.
Journal J.
Literature Lit.
Management Manag.
Mathematics Math.
Mechanics, Mechanical Mech.
Medicine, Medical Med.
Modelling, Modeling Model.
National Natl.
Occupational Occup.
Physical, Physics Phys.
Proceedings Proc.
Processing, Processes Process.
Product, Production Prod.
Professional Prof.
Psychology Psychol.
Publication, Publishing Publ.
Quality Qual.
Quarterly Q.
Research Res.
Resource Resour.
Review Rev.
Safety Saf.
Science Sci.
Society Soc.
Software Softw.
Statistics Stat.
Supplement Suppl.
Symposium Symp.
System Syst.
Technical Tech.
Technology Technol.
Transactions Trans.
US, United States U.S.

References

ASABE uses two different formats for reference citations:

  • For the bibliography, i.e., the References section, use APA 6th format (explained below).
  • For citations in the text, use the name (year) system. Do not use the APA 6th format. For example:
            Brown (2016) stated that this method was valid, while other researchers (Smith, 2012; Smith and Jones, 2013; Jones et al., 2014) found that it applied only in special circumstances.

Make sure that all citations that appear in the text are included in the References section, and that all sources listed in the References section are cited in the text.

For all titles, capitalize the only the first word, the first word after a colon or dash, and proper nouns.

Validate your references and get their DOI using this simple tool. Just paste the references text into the box and submit. The results help identify problems and provide a DOI, where possible.

For the References section, we encourage the use of Endnote (preferred) or the Microsoft Word References tool in Word 2007 and later. For in-text citations, type the citation directly be-cause our style varies slightly from APA. For Endnote, see this video or this EndNote X8 short course video. For Word, see this video or these instructions. Choose APA 6th style and the ISO abbreviations for journal names (LTWA). JabRef can automate journal abbreviations for the ISO standard. JabRef can export references to MS Office 2007 (*.xml) that can easily be imported into Word References. You can also use Endnote or JabRef and then import into Word References.

If you use EndNote or the Word References tool and select APA 6th style, all of the formatting details described below will be done automatically when you create the bibliography.

If you do not use EndNote or Word References tool, compose your reference entries following the examples below. Observe the following points:

  • List the source documents in alphabetical order by the lead authors’ last names (Word will do this with the Paragraph function).
  • List all authors with their last name first, followed by their initials.
  • For sources with more than seven co-authors, list the first six authors, an ellipsis (. . .), and then the last author, as in the journal article example below.
  • To distinguish two or more sources by the same author(s) in the same year, add letters after the year of publication, for example, 2014a and 2014b.
  • Italicize only the titles of books and journals. Do not italicize other titles (book chapters, journal articles, meeting papers, etc.).
  • Include a URL or DOI number, if available, as the last element in the reference. Do not use a period after a URL or DOI number.

Journal Article

Firstauthor, A. B., Second-Author, E., Thirdauthor, F. G., Fourth, H. I., Fifthauthor, J., Sixthauthor, K.L., . . . Lastauthor, Z. (2014). Title of journal article: Capitalize after colon. Appl. Eng. Agric., 578(12), 5-10. http://doi.org/10.1111/11111

Book

Lastname, A. B., & Jones Jr., C. D. (2014). Book title. Location of publisher: Publisher.
Surname, X. B., Author, C. D., & Jones Jr., E. (2014). Book title (2nd ed., Vol. 3). St. Joseph, MI: ASABE.

Section of a Book

Author, A., & Secondauthor, B. C. (2017). Section or chapter title. In Book title (pp. 17-34). Washington, DC: USEPA. Retrieved from www.epa.gov
Chapterauthor, A. (1987). Section or chapter title. In B. Bookeditor & C. Bookbinder (Eds.), Book title (2nd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 17-34). Rome, Italy: FAO.

Paper from a Meeting, Conference Proceedings

Include the name and location of the publisher, but not the location or dates where the meeting was held. Abbreviate Conf., Int., Proc., Symp.
Author, A. B. (2015). Title of paper. In B. Editor (Ed.), Proc. 10th Int. Conf. Agricultural Engineering. 2, pp. 655-766. Washington, DC: USDA-ARS. http://doi.org/10.12/4x.57
Author, A. B., & Name, C. D. (2014). Title of paper [in Chinese]. Proc. 10th Symp. Agricultural Engineering. Publisher location: Publisher.
Author, A. B., & Name, C. D. (2016). Title of paper. ASABE Paper No. 1601234. St. Joseph, MI: ASABE.

Standard

ASABE Standards. (2008). S358.2: Moisture measurement—Forages. St. Joseph, MI: ASABE.
ASTM. (2014) 12343: Standard name. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM Int.

Dissertation or Thesis

Author, A. (2014). Title of dissertation. PhD diss.[or MS thesis.] City, state or nation: University Name, Department of Engineering.

Miscellaneous

If no author listed, use the name or abbreviation of the organization. ABCD. (2014).Title. Association of BioCropsDiversity. Retrieved from http://bcd.org/report.pdf
Author, A. B. (2014). Patent title. U.S. Patent No. 123,456.
SAS. (1990). SAS User’s Guide: Statistics. Ver. 6a. Cary, NC: SAS Institute.
USDA-NASS. (2004). Report title. Bulletin 1234. Washington, DC: USDA-NASS. Retrieved from www.usda.gov/x1234.pdf

Unpublished Material

Do not list such material in the References section because it is not available to the reader. Put useful information in the text of your manuscript, e.g., “. . . this was rare (Charles Brown, USDA-ARS, personal communication, 23 May 2016).