Writing a Technical Paper

Technical Papers Structure

SAE International does not require a template to be used for its Technical Papers program. You are strongly advised to use the “spell-check” and “grammar-check” functions of whatever word processing software you use. Ensure that Greek symbols are used where appropriate and that similar characters [e.g. l (“el”) and 1 (“one”) or O (“oh”) and 0 (“zero”)] are distinguished and correctly keyed.

Table 1. Technical Papers Submission Guidelines




Do not include any identifying information within your manuscript’s file name.

Paper Title

SAE does not permit abbreviations in titles; please spell out any abbreviations in the title during the submission process and also in the title within the file that you upload.

Authorship & Affiliation

Will be collected at the submission stage in Editorial Manager and are not to be included in the uploaded manuscript file because all SAE International technical papers follow a double-anonymized peer-review process. 


You must include a minimum of three keywords associated with your paper.


References corresponding to citations in the body of the paper are assembled in the References section in numerical order according to the sequence in which they were cited within the paper. A minimum of 10-15 references are required. Sample references can be found here and follow journal guidelines.

Contact Information

Do not include author contact details within your manuscript. Do include your contact details as part of the submission process (in Editorial Manager®) as you would like them to appear should your paper be accepted for publication.


Any bulk of information that interrupts the flow of thought in the paper would best be placed in an appendix.

Supplementary Electronic Content

SAE recognizes the opportunity to include alternative electronic content to support and enhance online technical publications. SAE accepts audio/video files in MPG format and Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets in native format. 



Standard rules for written U.S. English should be followed in the body of the paper, including spelling and punctuation. Spell-check and grammar-check software can be used to inspect the written text but should not be a substitute for a thorough personal review. A review by non-authors who are fluent in English is one way to check grammar but must be completed prior to the SAE International peer-review process. A person unfamiliar with the topic should be able to read the paper and understand the general theme.

Commercialism & Bias

SAE technical papers should be balanced and objective, contributing to the state of the art or a constructive review of the technology. SAE Technical Papers should not be commercial or biased in nature. 


Citing other work is the standard method of authenticating data, crediting other workers in the field, and guiding the reader to supplementary information. Authors are strongly encouraged to recognize and cite relevant publications outside of their own work and institutions to create more comprehensive manuscripts with greater long-term reference value. Authors should avoid referencing material posted on the internet, unless the material is truly archival.

A minimum of 10-15 references are required, all of which must be accurate and complete. In the body of the paper, references are numerically identified using square brackets inserted in the text, such as [1, 2] or [1,2,3]. They are numbered sequentially in the order of first appearance. A complete numerical list of references should be given at the end of the paper. SAE International adheres to The Chicago Manual of Style for reference formatting. Examples of reference types and how to cite them can be found here, which is the same as for journals.


  • Number figures consecutively in accordance with their appearance in the text. 
  • Authors must use high-resolution, digital files for each figure in the manuscript. 
  • Ensure the labelling on charts and figures (including axes and numerical values of tick marks for graphs) will be legible, with all lettering at least 8 pt in size at final width.
  • Figures may be placed in the text close to first mention or grouped at the end of the manuscript.


  • Number tables consecutively in accordance with their appearance in the text. 
  • Tables may be placed in the text close to first mention or grouped at the end of the manuscript.