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Author Guidelines

The electronic journal of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR) uses similar submission guidelines adopted and utilized by the Transactions of the ASABE. All manuscripts should be single spaced and submitted in "Times New Roman", 12 point font. Figures and Tables should be integrated in the text shortly after they are first mentioned. Pages should be numbered in the upper right corner.
Email addresses should be included in the footnote on the first page along with the complete mailing addresses. Manuscript file size should be limited to a maximum of 3 MBytes since many email systems around the world have difficulty with larger files. The CIGR Journal uses the Open Journal System(OJS). Go to, register and follow these instructions rigidly. Check published articles in Volume XII or later for examples of style and format of published papers. Your manuscripts must be submitted as an MS Word file.
A copy of the guidelines for reviewers is available. See Journal Review Process.
Manuscript Style & Format
Style & Format Guidelines
View the CIGR Style & Format Guidelines and see an example of those guidelines. These guidelines are to be strictly followed.
A good title should:
  • Identify (briefly) the subject
  • Indicate the purpose of the subject
  • Contain keywords
The title should supply enough information for the reader to make a reliable decision on probable interest. A short informative title is preferred over a long obtuse one. Titles should not exceed 10 words, except in unusual instances.
  • Use 14 point bold font for the title only, use 12 point font for remainder of manuscript.
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the title Center name(s) of author(s) directly beneath the title.
  • Put complete mailing and email addresses in a footnote on the first page.
The purpose of an abstract is to provide a clear and concise summary of the information presented in an article. The basic organization of an abstract includes a topic sentence or hypothesis (rationale) of the work, a brief description of the methods, a summary of the results, and a conclusion. Literature citations and references to tables, figures, or equations found in the body of the manuscript should not be used.
The topic sentence states the purpose of the research. What was studied? What hypothesis was tested?
A brief description of the methods should give the reader an idea of the general approach used by the researcher. What kinds of subjects were used? How were the control and experimental groups treated? What was administered, how often, and in what dosages? Two or three sentences are usually enough; anyone who wants to repeat the research will go to the main article for full details on the procedure. The abstract should contain only enough about methodology to provide a context for the results, which are presented next.
A summary of the results should include the major trends. The goal of the abstract is to state only the most important results of the study. Data may be given to emphasize the results; group size, p-values, or other statistical results should be provided in summary form.
A concise statement of the conclusions that can be drawn from the study completes the abstract. Results should not be restated here. The researcher may wish to place the work in perspective by stating whether the report confirms or extends the findings of previous researchers.
In context, a researcher preparing an abstract should think:
  1. This is what we studied.
  2. This is how we did it.
  3. This is what we learned.
  4. This is what it means.
Abstracting/Indexing services, such as CAB and AGRICOLA, publish volumes of technical paper and article citations each year. Most of these services include the abstracts in electronic form.
Keywords (Additional Index Words)
A list of not more than seven keywords or phrases should be included with your abstract.
Your introduction should include a brief statement of why the research was conducted. It should also define the problem and present objectives (including a description of the subject, scope, and purpose) along with a plan of development of the subject matter. The introduction's purpose is to encourage the reader to read further.
Main Body
You will want to organize the main body of the text in a manner easily understood by the reader. Depending on the subject matter, this organization may be chronological, spatial, geographical, or any other sequence that develops logically. Manuscripts may be written in either the first or third person. Clearly indicate subdivisions of the main body with headings centered and sub-headings flush left. These physical subdivisions facilitate comprehension for all readers and provide a quick summary for the scanning reader.
Materials and Methods or Procedures
Information about materials and methods should be provided in sufficient detail so that the work may be repeated. You should reference all methods previously used and specify whether the methods had been modified and, if so, how.
Results and Discussion
A solution to the problem stated in the introduction is provided in the results. Use tables, charts, graphs, diagrams, and photographs to visually supplement the presentation of your results. Your main data values may be restated in the text to emphasize evidence on which the conclusions are based. Do not omit important negative results.
The data are interpreted in the discussion section. A correlation with previous findings should be made by identifying how and why there are differences and where there is agreement. Speculation is encouraged but it must be identified. Controversy should also be presented clearly and fairly.
You must state any conclusions that can be drawn from your data and present them carefully to avoid confusion by the readers. You may include the conclusion in the discussion section, or you may have a separate section for the conclusion. The summary, however, must be kept separate and data or statements must have been stated previously in the text.
Acknowledgments will appear at the end of the printed article and should run no more than approximately five sentences in length. For example:
Acknowledgment. Appreciation is extended to the China Agricultural University, Department of........
Your references should aid the reader, librarian, or indexer to retrieve the items cited.
  • Place all bibliographic references together at the end of the text in the references section.
  • Arrange the list alphabetically by the names of the first author followed by the second and third authors if necessary.
  • List two or more articles by the same author (or authors) chronologically from oldest to most recent.
  • Indicate two or more articles by the same authors in the same year by the letters a, b, etc. For example: 1987a, 1987b, etc.
  • Place single-authored articles before those in which the individual is the senior joint author.
There must be a text citation for each reference and vice versa. The preferred method for giving references in the text is the name-year system, as in Zhang (2001). The form used for citing the reference in the text varies according to the construction of the sentence in which it occurs as in Zhang (1974), or (Zhang, 1974), or Zhang and Wang (1974). When there are three or more authors use the form Sun et al. (1966) in the text, but include the complete initials and surnames in the reference list.
References to a book or bulletin must give the author or authors, the year, the title, the edition if other than the first, the city of publication, and the publisher. If particular pages in a book are cited, mention them in the text. Do not capitalize the titles of articles, bulletins, or reports except for initial letters and proper names. Abbreviate the names of federal agencies when such abbreviations are clearly understood (USDA, EPA, SCS).
Theses that are available on microfilm and have been assigned numbers by the Library of Congress or the Dissertation Abstracts may be included in the list of references. References to other theses must be shown in parentheses in the text. If available, the Library of Congress or the Dissertation Abstracts number must be given in the reference.
A few of the more common types of references follow. Always double-space references in the manuscript you are preparing. Include the complete title of the publication being cited.
Allen, J. S. 1988. The Complete Dictionary of Abbreviations. New York: MacMillan & Sons, Inc.
Cool, J. C., F. J. Schijff and T. J. Viersma. 1991. Regeltechniek (Control Engineering). Overburg, Germany: Delta Press.
Part of a Book
Overstreet, H. A. 1925. The psychology of effective writing. In Effective Report Writing: Principles and Practices, ed. W. H. Pierre, ch. 3, 87-109. Chicago: Graphic Publishing Co.
James, D. 1980. United States fruit and vegetable harvest projections Ð 1990. USDA-1007. Washington, D.C.: GPO.
Computer Documentation and Programs
(The year of publication and trademark symbol are unnecessary.)
Lotus 1-2-3 Rel. 2, ch. 6. Cambridge, Mass.: Lotus Development Corp.
SAS User's Guide: Statistics Ver. 5, pp. 60-70. Cary, N.C.: SAS Institute, Inc.
Dissertation or Thesis
Weed, D. J. 1992. Effect of tillage and crop rotation on soil nitrate and moisture. M.S. thesis. Ames: Iowa State Univ., microfiche.
Workman, S. R. 1990. Development and application of a preferential flow model. Ph.D. diss., Biological and Agricultural Engineering Dept., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh.
U.S. House Committee on Conservation Needs and Opportunities. 1986. Soil conservation: Assessing the national resource inventory, vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Arizona Water Commission. 1992. Arizona State Water Plan, Phase I, Inventory of resources and uses. Phoenix: State of Arizona.
Boulart, J. 1983. Process for protecting a fluid product and installations for the realization of that process. French Patent No. 2513087 (In French).
Personal Communication
In the text, include references to correspondence or to conversations either in person or by telephone. It is unnecessary to include personal communications in the reference list since they are not usually available to the public. For example:
C. Williams, personal communication, St. Joseph, Mich., 22 November 1991.
Cundiff, J. S., D. H. Vaughan and D. J. Parrish. 1985. Pith separation procedure for processing whole-stalk sweet sorghum. In Proc. 5th Annual Solar and Biomass Workshop, 133-136. Atlanta, Ga., 23-25 April.
Miller, F. R. and R. A. Creelman. 1980. Sorghum -- A new fuel. In Proc. 35th Annual Corn and Sorghum Industry Research Conf., eds. H. D. Londen and W. Wilkinson, 219-232. Washington, D.C.: Am. Seed Trade Assoc.
Agricultural Engineers Yearbook of Standards. 1983. S358.1. Moisture measurement -- Grain and seeds. St. Joseph, Mich.: ASAE.
Anthony, W. S. 1989. Performance characteristics of cotton ginning machinery. ASAE Paper No. 89-1010. St. Joseph, Mich.: ASAE.
ASAE Standards, 36th Ed. 1989. S352.1. Moisture measurement -- Grain and seeds. St. Joseph, Mich.: ASAE.
Burner, A. D. 1989. Driveline design considerations. Agricultural Engineering 70(July/August):16-19.
Griffin Jr., A. C. 1977. Cotton moisture control. In Cotton Ginners Handbook. Agricultural Handbook No. 503, USDA, Washington, D.C.
Jacobson, L. D. 1989. Reluctance to drink, stray voltage symptom. Int. Pigletter 8(12):47-48.
Slaughter, D. C. and R. C. Harrell. 1989. Discriminating fruit for robotic harvest using color in natural outdoor scenes. Transactions of the ASAE 32(2):757-763.
Unpublished Information
Unpublished references include personal communication, interviews, mimeographed reports, theses or dissertations. Identify these as well as unpublished results and other source material in the text within parentheses; include the source, the year (if available), title, location, or other information needed to establish the authenticity of the reference.
For example, (Alan Smith, personal communication with author, Gainesville, Fla., 21 June 1987)
or (William Chancellor, interview by author, Davis, Calif., 1 August 1995).
If the information is included in the reference section, use the form (Smith, 1987) in the text and the following format as with other references:
Smith, A. 1987. Personal communication with author. Gainesville, Fla., 21 June.
Chancellor, W. 1995. Interview by author. Davis, Calif., 1 August.
Unpublished results would appear in the text (James E. Jones, unpublished data, 1990) as shown here.
A thesis or dissertation in the text should be written [Mark D. Campbell, "The lower limit of soil water potential for potato growth" (Ph.D. diss., Washington State Univ., 1991), 32-35] like this. Of course, the author of the work in which this type of source appears must be prepared to provideÑor be able to easily locateÑthese materials as might be requested by a reader.
When an unpublished item is referred to more than once in the text, it should be placed in the reference section:
Campbell, M. D. 1991. The lower limit of soil water potential for potato growth, 32-35, Ph.D. diss. Pullman: Washington State Univ.
If a work appears in Dissertation Abstracts International, the citation should appear as:
Campbell, M. D. 1991. The lower limit of soil water potential for potato growth. Ph.D. diss., Washington State Univ. Abstract in Dissertation Abstracts International 60:2405A-2406A.
This list of symbols and other teminology relevant to a specific manuscript appears immediately following the reference section.
An appendix may be used to provide additional detail. Appendices must be related to the text and cited in the text at the appropriate location.
Style Conventions
The following format must be used when submitting your manuscript for publication:
  • Single space using Times New Roman, 12 point font
  • Use single column format
  • Integrate Tables and Figures in the text shortly after they are first mentioned
  • Number pages in the upper right corner
You should follow the common rules for capitalization when writing your manuscript or article (proper names, first word in the sentence, etc.). In addition, use capitals for the following items:
  1. Regions, sections, or groups of states commonly associated together, for example the Corn Belt, North Atlantic States, the South, the West, Midwest, etc.
  2. The first letter of genera, family, order, etc., but not species (underline to indicate italics).
  3. Trademarked names, but not adjectives derived from them.
  4. The first word after a colon, if it begins a clause not logically dependent on the preceding clause.
  5. The names of stars or other astronomical bodies, except the sun, moon, and earth.
  6. Any title immediately preceding a name; President Clinton, but not a descriptive phrase which follows a name: Mr. Clinton, the president.
If you are unsure about specific instances of capitalization, consult The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Ed., for further examples of general capitalization and Scientific Style and Format (formerly the CBE Style Manual) for common usages in certain areas of biology, chemistry, etc.
You must not derive, cite reference, or reproduce standard equations. Do not repeat previously published derivations of recognized equations; rather, cite a reference to a source or refer to the name, e.g., Manning's formula. Define variables and give SI units for empirical and dimensional constraints. State only those assumptions and initial and boundary conditions needed to understand the development and conclusion of the work.
For new equations, state all assumptions and initial boundary conditions, and give sufficient derivation for the reader to understand the 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. Display all important equations on separate lines with consecutive numbers enclosed in parentheses (1) and placed at the right margin to facilitate reference within the manuscript and by other authors who may cite your research. Less important equations may be incorporated within a sentence as part of the text. Write all fractions with the solidus (slash) and parentheses except for long expressions in which the build-up may add to the readability. For example, z = (ax+by)/(cx+hy) rather than the built-up equation:
Break equations, when necessary, before the operational signs:
or at a major bracket:
or if the operation precedes the first term of the continued line. For example, align the relational signs vertically in a series of equalities or inequalities, as in the following:
Figures, Graphs, and Charts
You should include figures to emphasize points made in the text, not merely to illustrate tabular material graphically. Illustrations attract the reader's attention, clarify the text, and should not be included unless discussed in the text. Graphs and charts should be designed to improve the general presentation of a technical publication by reporting data in a manner easy to comprehend. The decision to select and use charts or graphs should be governed by the writer's message and the points to be brought out in the illustration. Graphs primarily show trends; therefore, it is not necessary for you to show all the coordinate rulings in most graphs.
The size of the text used within a figure in proportion to the figure is important. If a figure is 10 cm wide, use 10-point type. If a figure is wider than 10 cm, use 12-point or larger type.
For the most beneficial use of illustrations, please observe the following points:
  1. Number figures consecutively in order of their citation in the text and refer to them as figure 1, figure 2, etc. [Abbreviate the word figure when enclosed in parentheses, i.e., (fig. 1).]
  2. Abbreviations should follow the same style used in the text.
  3. Figure titles are unnecessary. The title information should be contained in the figure caption.
  4. When appropriate, accompany figures with legends. A legend adds to the information presented and makes it more understandable. Symbols should be identified by corresponding markings or symbols in a legend. Place the legend either above the figure or within it. Ideally, shadings should be kept to a minimum of three: white, black, and one type of lined shading. Remember to keep the elements in the same order.
  5. Plot the points accurately and draw the curves precisely. If a point represents the mean of a number of observations, indicate the magnitude of the variability by a vertical line at each point. Lines should not be less then 1 point in width. All lines need to be the same point size to ensure quality output of published articles. Broken or dotted lines should be either dark enough to reproduce completely or be removed. State in the legend if the variability indicated is standard error (SE) or standard deviation (SD) and specify the number of observations.
  6. Working drawings often contain too much information and are too large for legible reproduction. A drawing with a minimum amount of details and dimensions, etc., indicates the special ideas the figure is intended to convey. Incorporate descriptive explanatory information in the text or caption.
As a scientific writer, you must keep in mind that a photograph should only be used if it shows something essential to the point being made. High quality photos made for slide projections or talks are usable if they make a point. [ If a title is present on the slide, it should be removed (taped over) before you have a photo(s) made for inclusion in any of the journals. ] Examine your photographs carefully and determine if each one shows something unique, interesting, and clearly identifiable.
A picture of a diseased corn field will have no effect if the reader is unable to get the message. However, a close-up of one plant with the specific disease symptoms would be much more valuable if the intended message is of the disease's effects. Remember, taking the picture is the first step in the multitransfer process. Therefore, it is essential for you to send in high-quality, black and white glossy prints with sharp detail and good contrast.
Tables are used for reporting extensive numerical data in an organized manner. They show classifications, facilities comparisons, reveal relationships, and save space. They should be self-explanatory. Data presented in tables should neither be duplicated in figures nor reviewed extensively in the text. Give specific references and explanation in the text to introduce each table.
It is seldom necessary to use a table for fewer than eight items of data. Table captions should be brief, but must sufficiently explain the data included. Number your tables consecutively and refer to them in the text as table 1, table 2, etc. The preferred footnote symbols follow a top-to-bottom, left-to-right sequence as shown in the example.
You should follow the general form for the stub and field items. Show the units for all measurements in spanner heads, in column heads, or in the field. Use no more digits than the accuracy of the method justifies. Do not include columns of data that can be calculated easily from other columns. For the most part, only horizontal rules (lines) are used (a single rule at the bottom just above the footnotes). You may need to place additional rules under spanner heads and subheads.
At present, there are two international methods of reporting time.
In the first method, the day is divided into two periods of 12 hours each. The first period is numbered 1:00 through 12:00 (before noon, a.m.) and the second period is numbered 1:00 through 12:00 (after noon, p.m.).
For example:
4:00 a.m.
12:00 m. (noon)
10:43 p.m.
In the second method, the hours are numbered consecutively, as in military time, 1 through 24. The day begins at midnight, 0000, and the last minute of the day ends at 2359.
For example:
4:00 a.m. = 0400 h
12:00 m. = 1200 h
10:43 p.m. = 2243 h
NOTE: The notation 2400 of 14 January would be considered the same instant of time as 0000 of 15 January.
Occasionally, the 12-hour a.m./p.m. time system seems to lead to some confusion, as the term 12:00 p.m. can mean noon or midnight. Also the notation 12:00 m. (for meridies) is seldom used anymore. In addition the term midnight of 22 November is ambiguous, for example it can either refer to midnight of 21-22 November or midnight of 22-23 November, thus inducing confusion. To avoid confusion, the use of military time is recommended. (See ISO 8601:1988.)
(Please note that special characters, such as superscripts and subscripts, currently will not appear on your viewer. Once appropriate tags have been established, they will be added to this file.)
When you are reporting a number, the number of significant digits must be commensurate with the precision of your experimental method. If the quantity must be converted to SI units, multiply the quantity by the exact conversion factor and then round to the appropriate number of significant digits.
A comma is unnecessary when using SI numerals consisting of four digits. The numerals are run together as in: 8975, 1000, etc. In numbers consisting of more than four digits, a space is left between each group of three numerals in either direction from the decimal point: 36 000, 2 000 000, or 0.000 739.
When you are using a numeral(s) to express a unit of measure, follow these methods:
5 g
16 mm
27° C
20 ha
3 t/ha
1.2 in.
Compound (three or more) units should be expressed in exponent form:
12 kg m-2 s-1
32 MJ m-2 d-1
5 g min-1 m-2
8 L s-1 ha-1
7 kg s-1 m-4
When only two units are combined, the solidus ( / ) can be used:
9 Mg/m3
You should keep in mind that numbers one through nine in a sentence are spelled out, while numbers 10 and over generally appear as numerals. If you are using a series of numbers within a sentence, any of which are over 10, use all numerals. For example:
  • There were nine compounds used to create the substance.
  • The component consisted of 231 parts.
  • The substance contained 2 parts magnesium, 12 parts copper, and 8 parts lead.
  • Where there are two adjacent numbers, spell out one of them: There were thirty, 12-mm holes in the first section.
NOTE: For explanations of rounding numbers, see ASAE EP285.7 (ASAE Standards, 42nd Ed.).
A comma indicates a pause. The modern practice is to pause infrequently, especially if the meaning is clear without a pause. A semicolon provides a more definite break than a comma. The colon has one main function: to introduce material that follows immediately.
Use the serial comma as in, "mean, median, and mode", not as in, "mean, median and mode".
Use a semicolon to separate a compound sentence when either part of the sentence has a comma break.
"She is a well-trained, conscientious team member; she communicates well with her colleagues."
Use a semicolon for emphasis. "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."
The following list represents the style of abbreviations to which your manuscript or article should adhere.
Rewrite sentences that begin with either an abbreviation or an acronym.
GLEAMS is the appropriate program to use for this application.
to read:
The program, GLEAMS, is appropriate to use for this application.
Use a singular verb with the abbreviated unit regardless of quantity:
Then 4 kg of lime is applied.
Form plurals for abbreviations without an apostrophe:
PCs, CVs, Ph.D.s
Write the unit in a series of measurements at the end.
2 to 10° C; 3, 6, and 8 cm.
Omit periods after abbreviated units.
5 m; 30 cm;
Abbreviate alternating current and direct current, ac and dc. As nouns, the terms should be spelled out without hyphens.
Abbreviate the following:
wet basis, w.b.; moisture content, m.c.
Rewrite sentences that begin with numbers. However, if a sentence must begin with a number, spell out the number and the unit of measure.
Ten millimeters not Ten mm
Abbreviate the Peoples Republic of China, PRC. As in PRC. government, PRC is used as a modifier. All agency names and acronyms must be spelled out when they first appear in the text.
Abbreviate coefficient of variation or coefficient of variability, CV; standard error, SE; and standard deviation, SD. Do not abbreviate mean, mode, and median.
Spell out the Latin name of a biological organism the first time it is used in the abstract and in the text. After the first time, use the first letter of the genus and spell out the species.
Use single quotes (') for varieties, such as 'McIntosh' apples, or precede it with the abbreviation for cultivar, cv., i.e., Syringa vulgaris cv. Mont Blanc, the first time it appears in the text. Following references throughout the manuscript do not require the continued use of either method.
Use the abbreviations "lat" or "long" in notations expressing degrees of latitude or longitude.
The abbreviations may also be dropped since N, S, E, or W identifies the coordinate: 30° N 20° W.
Use the symbol "g " for acceleration due to gravity ( g = 9.806 m/s2).
If you choose to abbreviate the months in tables and figures, please use the following:
Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
Spell out "versus" in the text of your manuscript and the headings; use "vs." in captions and legends.
General Instructions
  • Except for standard suffix abbreviations and state abbreviations, avoid shortening words or titles that might be widely unfamiliar to the CIGR audience (e.g., an obscure computer or medical journal).
  • Drop all "unimportant" words, articles, prepositions, conjunctions unless omission would make similar titles confusing.
Be consistent with words that have the suffix: toxicol[ogy], biol[ogy], microbiol[ogy].


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  2. The submission file is in Microsoft Word format and was prepared using the CIGR EJournal template. Template styles were not altered by the authors.
  3. Where available, URLs for the references have been provided. The URLs have been verified to be live when the manuscript was submitted.
  4. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review) have been followed.
  5. A Microsoft Word supplementary file containing the name, email and affiliation of three sugested reviewers is available.  


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