SAICE Journal Guidelines

  • Guidelines for the preparation of papers and technical notes

    The Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering, which is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. Articles submitted for publication are reviewed by a panel of referees under the guidance of the SAICE Journal Editorial Panel. The journal publishes research papers covering all the disciplines of civil engineering (structural, geotechnical, railway, coastal/marine, water, construction, environmental, municipal, transportation) and associated topics that are relevant to the civil engineering profession, and that preferably have particular relevance to civil engineering in Southern Africa and the African continent.  


    When preparing articles for publication, authors should please take note of, and comply with, the guidelines as set out below.

    Classification of articles considered for publication

    Technical papers 

    Technical papers are well-researched, in-depth, fully referenced technical articles not exceeding 6 000 words in length (excluding tables, illustrations and the list of references). Related papers that deal with ‘softer sciences’ (e.g. education, social upliftment, etc) are accepted if they are of a technical nature and of particular interest to the civil engineering profession. The latter type of paper will be subject not only to peer-review by civil engineers, but also to review by non-engineering specialists in the field covered by the paper.

    Technical notes

    Technical notes are short, fully referenced technical articles that do not exceed 2 000 words. A typical technical note will have limited scope often dealing with a single technical issue of particular importance to civil engineering. 

    Review papers 

    Review papers are considered for publication as either technical papers or technical notes on condition that they are the original work of the author and will assist the reader with the understanding, interpreting, or applying of the subject under review. A review paper must contain criteria by which the work under review was evaluated and must contribute by synthesising the information and drawing new conclusions from the dissemination of the previously published work.


    Discussions on published articles are welcomed up to six months after publication. The length of discussion contributions is limited to 1 500 words. Where appropriate, discussion contributions will be subject to the normal reviewing process and will be forwarded to the authors of the original article for reply.

    Policy regarding language and originality of submitted articles


    Manuscripts should be presented in English, as the journal is distributed internationally. 

    Original work

    Papers and technical notes must be original contributions. Authors of JSAICE articles must affirm that submitted material has not been published previously, is not under consideration for publication elsewhere and will not be submitted elsewhere while under consideration by the SAICE Journal Editorial Panel. It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that publication of any paper in the journal will not constitute a breach of any agreement or the transgression of any law. The corresponding author should confirm that all co-authors have read and approved the manuscript and accept these conditions. Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish experimental data and other information that may be confidential or sensitive. Authors are also responsible for obtaining permission from copyright owners (usually the publishers) when reproducing material that had been published elsewhere.  If such material had been published under a Creative Commons Licence, appropriate recognition must be included in the submitted manuscript.

    Submission procedures and required format

    Online submission

    Manuscripts must be uploaded as PDF files ( Individual file sizes may not exceed 10 MB. Should you experience problems when uploading your paper, please contact the administrative editor (    



    Manuscripts should be prepared in MS Word and presented in double-line spacing, single-column layout with 25 mm wide margins. Line numbers must be applied to the whole document. All pages should bear the authors’ names and be numbered at the bottom of the page. With the exception of tables and figures (see below) the document should be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt font. Contributions should be accompanied by an abstract of not more than 200 words. 


    First page

    The first page of the manuscript should include the title of the paper, the number of words of the main text (i.e. excluding figures, tables and the list of references), the initials, titles and surnames of the authors, professional status (if applicable), SAICE affiliation (Member, Fellow, Visitor, etc), telephone numbers (landline and mobile), and e-mail and postal addresses. The name of the corresponding author should be underlined. Five keywords should be suggested.   


    Figures, tables, photos and illustrations

    • These should preferably be submitted in colour, as the journal is a full-colour publication. 
    • Their positions should be clearly marked in the text as follows: [Insert Figure 1] 
    • Figures, tables, photos, illustrations and equations should be numbered consecutively and should appear in the text directly after they have been referred to for the first time.
    • Illustrations must be accompanied by appropriate captions. Captions for tables should appear above the table. All other captions should appear below the illustration (figures, graphs, photos).
    • Only those figures and photographs essential to the understanding of the text should be included. All illustrations should be referred to in the text. 
    • Figures should be produced using computer graphics. Hand-drafted figures will not be accepted. Lettering on figures should be equivalent to a Times New Roman 9 pt font, or slightly larger (up to 12 pt) if desired. Lettering smaller than 9 pt is not acceptable. 
    • Tables should be typed in Times New Roman 9 pt font. They should not duplicate information already given in the text, nor contain material that would be better presented graphically. Tabular matter should be as simple as possible, with brief column headings and a minimum number of columns.

    Mathematical expressions and presentation of symbols

    • Equations should be presented in a clear form which can easily be read by non-mathematicians. Each equation should appear on a separate line and should be numbered consecutively. 
    • Symbols should preferably reflect those used in Microsoft Word Equation Editor or Mathtype, or should be typed using the Times New Roman symbol set. 
    • Variables in equations (x, y, z, etc, as well as lower-case Greek letters) should be presented in italics. Numbers (digits), upper-case Greek letters, symbols of metric measurement units (m for metres, s for seconds, etc) and mathematical/trigonometrical functions (such as sin, cos and tan) are not written in italics, but in upright type (Roman). Variables and symbols used in the body of the text should match the format used in the equations, i.e. upright or italics, whichever is applicable.   
    • Metric measurement abbreviations/units should conform to international usage – the SI system of units should be used.
    • Decimal commas may be used, but decimal points are preferred in accordance with accepted international usage.
    • Symbols should preferably be defined in the text, but if this is not feasible, a list of notations may be provided for inclusion at the end of the paper. 


    Sections and paragraphs should not be numbered. The following hierarchy of headings should be followed:


    Heading of subsection
    Heading of sub-subsection



    References should follow the Harvard system. The format of text citations should be as follows: “Jones (1999) discovered that …” or “Recent results (Brown & Carter 1985; Green et al 1999) indicated that …”

    References cited in the text should be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the paper. References by the same author should be in chronological order. The following are examples of a journal article, a book and a conference paper:

    • Donald, A W 1954. Pore pressure coefficients. Géotechnique, 4(4): 143–147.
    • Terzaghi, K 1943. Practical soil mechanics. New York: Wiley.       
    • Smith, A W, Black, C & White, A 1999. Factors affecting the strength of 

                              soils.  Proceedings, ASCE Conference on Shear Strength of Soils, Colorado,    

                              pp 503532.

    Papers published previously in the Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering should be cited if applicable.


    Footnotes, trade names, acronyms, abbreviations

    These should be avoided. If acronyms are used, they should be defined when they first appear in the text. Do not use full stops after abbreviations or acronyms. 


    Return of amended papers

    Papers requiring amendments will be accepted up to six months after the referee reports had been sent to authors, after which time the paper will be withdrawn from the system. 

    Final Article


    First proofs of accepted papers will be sent to authors in PDF format for verification before publication. No major re-writes will be allowed at this stage, only essential minor corrections.  

    Photos of authors

    The final corrected version of the paper should be accompanied by recent, high-resolution head and shoulders colour photographs and a profile not exceeding 100 words for each of the authors.


    Copyright remains with the authors. As a peer-reviewed, open-access journal licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY-NC-ND) ( the content of this journal is available to users free of charge. Users are therefore allowed to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format, but such material may only be used in unadapted form and for non- commercial purposes, and due recognition must be given to the authors, as well as to the Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering as the original publisher.

    Repository policy (depositing of articles by authors after publication) 

    After publication a PDF of their published article is sent to authors for their records. Authors may then upload the published article to their work/institution website, or any other repository of their choice, such as, for example, ResearchGate and/or similar. Only the published version of the paper may be used/uploaded in this manner, i.e. not the originally submitted or the accepted/pre-published version.

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