ISSN 1021-2019 printed version



Scope and policy


The purpose of the journal is to peer-review and publish original research papers in the field of civil engineering.

Editorial policy:

The Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering is a peer-reviewed journal published biannually in April and October. Articles submitted for publication may cover all aspects of civil engineering, and are reviewed by a panel of referees under the guidance of the SAICE Journal Editorial Panel.

The journal's peer review process:

Papers received are pre-assessed by an assessor serving on the Journal Editorial Panel who makes an initial judgement on whether the paper is suitable to be refereed on the basis of the scope of the paper, quality, format, length and language. If the paper passes pre-assessing the assessor contacts two potential referees and gets their commitment to referee the paper. The assessor then passes this information on to the secretariat who deals with the administration around the peer-reviewing process, and who returns the referee reports to the assessor for final recommendation to the Journal Editorial Panel


Form and preparation of manuscripts

Manuscript format and layout / guidelines to authors:

  • References: 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 503-532.

Specifications of the publication & types of article required:

Classification of articles considered for publication in the Journal

  • Technical papers are well-researched, in-depth, fully referenced technical articles not exceeding 6 000 words in length (excluding tables and illustrations). Related papers that deal with 'softer sciences' (eg. 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 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. An article incorrectly submitted as a technical paper can, with the author's agreement, be re-categorised by the Panel as a technical note. Alternatively, on recommendation by the appointed referees, the Panel may request an author to condense a technical paper into a technical note.
  • Reviews and case studies 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.
  • Discussion on published articles is 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

  • Language: Manuscripts should preferably be presented in English, as the journal is distributed internationally. Articles submitted in any of the other official South African languages should be accompanied by an expanded abstract in English.
  • Original work: Papers and technical notes must be original contributions. Authors 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 when reproducing material that had been published elsewhere.
  • 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.

 Final article

  • Copyright: On acceptance of the paper or technical note, copyright must be transferred by the author to the South African Institution of Civil Engineering on the form that will be provided by the Institution.
  • Photos of authors: The final corrected version of the paper should be accompanied by recent head and shoulders colour photographs of the authors.

Proofs: First proofs of papers will be sent to authors in PDF format for verification before publication


Manuscripts submission

Submission method

  • Hard copies: Hard copies should only be submitted if the author is unable to submit electronically, for whatever reason. In such a case only one unstapled copy, together with an electronic copy on CD, should be posted to the Executive Director of SAICE, Private Bag X200, Halfway House, 1685, South Africa, or delivered to Building 19, Thornhill Office Park, Bekker Street, Midrand, Gauteng. Hard copies should be printed on one side of A4 paper.
  • Electronic submission: Manuscripts should be e-mailed to the Panel secretary at File sizes should preferably not exceed 3 MB per e-mail - figures may for example be sent one by one or in groups not larger than 3 MB. Manuscripts should not be sent in PDF format as this precludes reviewing of papers per track changes.
  • Format: Manuscripts should be prepared in MS Word and presented in double line spacing, single column layout with 25 mm wide margins. 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 and a profile not exceeding 100 words on each of the authors.
  • First page: The first page of the manuscript should include the title of the paper, the initials and surnames of the authors, professional status (if applicable), SAICE affiliation (Member, Fellow, Visitor, etc), telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail and postal addresses. The name of the corresponding author should be underlined. Five keywords should be suggested. The copy must not contain instructions to the editor.
  • Figures, tables, photos and illustrations: These should preferably be submitted in colour, as the journal is a full-colour publication. Figures, tables, photos and illustrations, complete with captions, should be placed on separate pages at the end of the text. Their positions should be clearly marked in the text as follows: [Insert figure 1].

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. Original prints of photographs are required. Alternatively photos should be scanned at 300 dpi minimum and submitted as separate files in JPEG (.jpg) format. Care should be taken not to damage photos by writing on the back or using paper clips. Illustrations will not be returned after publication, unless arrangements are made.

The final paper will be typeset in a three column format. Figures and tables should be 52 mm, 115 mm or 176 mm wide - to fit across one, two or three columns respectively. The maximum height of any figure or table should not exceed 250 mm including the caption.

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.

Tables, figures and equations should be numbered consecutively and should appear in the text directly after having been referred to for the first time.

Figures should be produced using computer graphics. They should be submitted as separate files in JPEG (.jpg) format and not embedded in the text document. 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. Hand-drafted figures will not be accepted.

  • Mathematical expressions: Equations should be presented in a clear form which can be easily read by non-mathematicians. Symbols should be typed using the Times New Roman symbol set. Equations should be in italics. Each equation should appear on a separate line and be numbered consecutively.

 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. Symbols should conform to accepted international usage. The SI system of units should be used. Decimal commas, not decimal points, should be used.

Since mathematical formulae are generally scanned in during the production process, they should be set out as they are to appear in the printed paper.

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

    Heading of subsection
    Heading of sub-subsection


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© 2014 South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE)

Journal of South African Institution of Civil Engineering, Private Bag X200, Halfway House, Midrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, ZA, 1685, +27 11 805 5947