Contributor’s guide

By Plant Engineering Staff November 11, 2002

PLANT ENGINEERING magazine depends on people like you to share their knowledge and insights for ensuring production capacity. Since its first issue in 1947, PLANT ENGINEERINGhas stood as the leading problem-solving information source for America’s industrial plant engineers. It has won virtually every readership study in its field over the past 20 years and well over 100 studies in all. That’s why it’s called “the best-read magazine in industry.”

The PLANT ENGINEERING Editorial Approach

What We Are

What We Are Not

Who to Contact

General DOs and DON’Ts

General Policies and Procedures

The PLANT ENGINEERING Editorial Approach

Our editorial goal is to provide information of interest to every reader in every issue. To achieve this goal, we publish a variety of materials in each issue and refrain from “theme” issues that concentrate on a single topic.

The heart of our coverage is the technical feature articles that make up about 50% of the editorial content of each issue. The balance includes news, managerial ideas, new product and literature announcements, and other material.

Everything we publish is evaluated against two criteria: It must be related to the industrial plant engineering function and it must be useful information for a large percentage of our readers. We stay away from information that is simply “interesting or nice to know” and topics that are outside the definition of plant engineering. We also limit our coverage to industrial concerns.

What We Are …

PLANT ENGINEERING is primarily a technical magazine.

We tell our readers how to solve the day-to-day problems of designing, building, operating, and maintaining the industrial plant and its related facilities, as well as how to install and maintain the systems and equipment used in these plants.

All of our coverage falls within these categories:

Air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration


Compressors and prime movers

Computers and software

Electric power distribution and application

Environmental protection


Fire protection, safety, and health

Fluid and mechanical power transmission

Fluid handling


Instruments and controls



Material handling

Paints and coatings

Plant engineering management

Process and space heating and heat recovery

Tools and welding

What We Are Not …

PLANT ENGINEERING is not a production methods magazine. We don’t talk about how to design and manufacture products or how to process food or chemicals.

Neither is PLANT ENGINEERING a production equipment magazine. We don’t talk about machining centers, assembly machines, looms, kilns, or any of the myriad of equipment for making products.

We’re not a financial management or general business magazine. We don’t cover taxes, stock issues, mergers, acquisitions, personnel changes, moves, or investment policies. Nor do we cover sales and marketing concerns.

And finally, we’re not a research magazine. PLANT ENGINEERING doesn’t report on industrial R&D or the equipment it uses. Nor do we cover products that are not yet available in the plant engineering marketplace.

Who to Contact

Plant Engineering is different from most magazines in that the chief editor rarely assigns articles to staff members. Each senior editor is charged with the responsibility for determining the coverage within his or her area of specialization. For example, the senior editor/electrical makes all decisions regarding electrical articles accepted for publication.

Similarly, all press releases are reviewed by the appropriate senior editor before they are passed to the departmental editors. We therefore recommend that press releases and inquiries be directed to the editor that handles the subject.

The chief editor is rarely your best contact regarding submittals for publication. All materials addressed to the chief editor are screened and routed to the appropriate staff member for action. So, if you can, address your submittals directly to the staff editor who deals with your subject.

The same applies to phone inquiries.

General Do’s and Don’ts

DO get right to the point. Both our editors and our readers will appreciate the time you save them by not beating around the bush.

DO familiarize yourself with PLANT ENGINEERING before contacting us.If your topic doesn’t relate to our areas of coverage, you’re wasting your time and ours.

DO be prepared to transfer the copyright on your feature article manuscript to Plant Engineering . We require copyright ownership of all feature articles.

DO submit all materials typed (or computer printed) and double spaced (except cover letters). Use only one side of the paper. Manuscript text also may be submitted on floppy disk, ASCII text format.

DO keep a copy of everything you send us. We receive thousands of pieces of mail and faxes every month and occasionally a piece is lost or inadvertently discarded. We cannot be responsible for the return of any unsolicited materials.

DO make sure that we have the name, address, and phone number for yourself or any other person we should contact regarding your submittal.

DO make sure everything you send has a date on it.

DON’T submit your material or idea to any other publication at the same time (except for general news releases). PLANT ENGINEERING requires all articles to be original, generic, and exclusive to us.

DON’T be in a hurry to see your material published in PLANT ENGINEERING . Our editors work far in advance (6 to 18 months) on feature articles. Other materials are normally published as space is available on a first-in, first-out basis, often resulting in lead times of several months.

DON’T call to ask if we received your press release. We can’t possibly track and respond to each of the hundreds of press releases we receive every week.

General Policies and Procedures

Deadlines for editorial material vary according to the type of material. Feature articles are due at least four months prior to publication. News releases are generally due at least two months prior to publication. Contact the editor you’re working with for specific requirements.

Payment . PLANT ENGINEERING normally does not pay contributors. However, each author receives an impressive wall plaque with the first page of his or her article reproduced on brushed metal.

Author’s Review . Authors of bylined feature articles are provided the opportunity to review manuscripts for technical accuracy after the initial edit. Minor changes may still be made after the author’s approval.

Preprints. Preprints of editorial material are not available.

Reprints are available after publication in PLANT ENGINEERING . All reprints are custom made. Prices vary. For quotations, contact Cahners Reprint Services at 800-323-4958.

Complimentary Copies . Feature article authors automatically receive a copy of the issues in which their articles appear.

Copyright . PLANT ENGINEERING is copyrighted by Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright ownership of feature article manuscripts must be transferred to us prior to publication. This formality is for your protection and ours. The editor you are working with will help you with the copyright transfer. We are normally pleased to grant authors permission to use text material for purposes other than republication in another commercial magazine.

Cover Photos. All PLANT ENGINEERING cover photos are specifically solicited and contracted by the editors. We therefore do not accept cover photo ideas or photography.

Bylined feature articles . PLANT ENGINEERING editors are constantly looking for good, original, technical articles. If you have an idea for an article on a subject that PLANT ENGINEERING covers, contact the editor who handles that particular subject area.

We prefer that you contact us prior to writing your manuscript so that we can guide you in the content. Queries should include an abstract or brief outline describing the article content. The availability of photos or other illustrative materials should be explained or samples provided. If we like your idea, our editors will work with you on the development of your article and the details of submission.

Feature articles must be exclusive to PLANT ENGINEERING , noncommercial and broadly applicable. All references to individual manufacturers or proprietary products will be deleted. In addition, our editors will make sure the information provided is unbiased. Manuscripts that appear to be unbalanced in their discussions of products or technologies will not be considered.

We strongly encourage the use of graphic materials. If photos are to be used, they must be submitted by the author. All photos submitted must be of excellent quality and color photos (either transparencies or prints) are preferred. Polaroid photos are not acceptable. Other illustrations need not be in finished form; our art department will prepare final drawings. Checklists and sidebars also are encouraged.

Staff-written articles . All of our cover features and a few others are researched and written by PLANT ENGINEERING’s editors . These articles are listed in our annual editorial calendar. If you believe you have information to contribute to one of these articles, contact the editor who covers the listed subject. Information for staff-written articles normally is needed at least five months prior to publication.

Forum. We encourage our readers to correspond with us and we try to publish as many letters as we can. We especially appreciate letters commenting on plant engineering issues or amplifying information we have published. All letters are subject to editing for space considerations. Only signed letters, including the name, address, and phone number of the writer will be considered. The writer’s name will be withheld if requested. Forum also is the home for interesting bits of information or opinions gathered from other printed sources, correspondence, and conferences. Sources used will be credited. Reader contributions are welcome.

News. News items are selected on the basis of their interest to a large percentage of our readers. We don’t publish items on personnelchanges, moves, expansions, mergers, acquisitions, etc. Calendar listings also are selected on the basis of reader interest. We do not list events of a strictly local or regional nature or training opportunities that are tied to specific products. Information for calendar listings must be submitted at least six months prior to the event and must include fees as well as a contact name, address, and phone number.

Suggestions & Solutions. The PLANT ENGINEERING Suggestions & Solutions department is a potpourri of out-of-the-ordinary product and literature offerings. Included in S&S are such items as training videos, literature for which there is a charge, free samples of products, etc. Submissions should include a sample of the item offered.

New Products. Product announcements are published in our New Equipment department. Selection for publication is based primarily on a product’s usefulness to a broad range of readers. Only products currently available will be considered. All product announcements must be clearly written and dated and must specify contact information. Photos (color preferred) must be of high quality; either transparencies or prints are acceptable. Faxed announcements are discouraged and offer no time advantage to the sender. Please DO NOT call to ask if an announcement has been received or will be used.

Human Side of Engineering. This section presents case studies on labor relations and other people-related aspects of the plant engineer’s job. All items in our Human Side of Engineering department are written by Consulting Editor Raymond Dreyfack. However, questions and suggestions are welcome. Correspondence should be addressed to PLANT ENGINEERING and will be forwarded to Mr. Dreyfack.

New Literature. Announcements of free literature available to our readers are carried in our New Literature department. A copy of the literature being offered MUST accompany the announcement. Selection for publication is based on two primary criteria: Is it of interest to a broad range of readers and does it offer significant technical, educational, or specification information? Simple product data sheets or product descriptions are normally unacceptable. All announcements must be clearly written and dated and must specify contact information. Please DO NOT call to ask if an announcement has been received or will be used.

Management Side of Engineering . In each issue of PLANT ENGINEERING , Management Side of Engineering offers a short essay on a topic of interest to plant engineering managers. Contributions are welcome. Essays may be controversial or express an opinion, but they should provide some suggestion or insight that will help plant engineers in their roles as managers. Length is limited to one and one-third published pages (about six pages of typed, double-spaced text).

Information Engineering . Six times a year (in even-numbered months), Information Engineering focuses on computer software, hardware, and automation topics of concern to the plant engineer. The department features a potpourri of case studies, products, web sites, and other suggestions, solutions, and newsbytes related to these advanced technologies. Contributions should be concise and include contact information. Please DO NOT call to ask if a contribution has been received or will be used.