Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NIST Technical Series Publications Author Instructions

Instructions for preparing NIST Technical Series Publications

Contents


Information Services Office Responsibilities

The Information Services Office (ISO), also known as the NIST Research Library, manages publication of the NIST Technical Series.

How to Get Your Report Published

Editorial Review Board (ERB)

Manuscripts intended for publication in a NIST Technical Series must be approved by the Editorial Review Board (ERB) prior to publishing.

Drafts for Public Comment

If authors wish to obtain a draft DOI, they must use the template provided. Drafts will not be indexed by Google Scholar or Library Catalogs, are withdrawn as soon as the final is published, and will not be deposited with the Government Publishing Office (GPO) as official NIST publications.

Publication Numbers and DOIs

All NIST Technical Series Publications must have a publication number and a DOI. They help readers identify, access, and cite your publication. The Library assigns publication numbers and DOIs to NIST Technical Series publications after they have been approved by ERB.  Authors will receive the publication number and DOI with their ERB approval memo.

After the DOI is assigned, the Library registers it with CrossRef and activates the hyperlink on the published version of the manuscript.  The version of the publication with the active DOI is the "official version of record."

ERB Approval Notification

When you receive an email from ERB that your manuscript has been approved, you must follow the process described below to finalize your manuscript for publication.

  • make changes to the manuscript based on comments and edits noted in the ERB review process
  • make sure the document is formatted according to the specifications outlined in these instructions
  • If you will publish data related to the paper, as you are encouraged to do, follow your OU’s instructions for Publishing Data
  • send the final, corrected version of the manuscript, in Word/LaTeX and PDF format to techpubs@nist.gov for publishing

Update, Revise, or Withdraw a Technical Series Publication

NIST procedure PR 1502.01 details procedures for revising, withdrawing, and publishing multiple versions of a NIST Technical Series publication through the NIST Research Library (Gaithersburg). 

Important note: Authors have 10 days to request minor editorial changes to published PDFs. After 10 days, authors will need to incorporate changes into an errata update or revision and receive a new publication DOI.  

Manuscript Preparation and Proofreading

Text should be single-spaced, 1–1.25 inch margins, one column format (6 inches minimum), in Times New Roman or a Sans Serif 12-point font. Mathematical or chemical expressions can be spaced further with larger fonts to make the text more readable.

Authors are responsible for proofreading their manuscripts, correcting errors, and ensuring that their manuscripts have all of the required components outlined in these instructions.

Authors should use the cover and title page templates provided on the NIST internal website. The templates are updated with new information, such as the name of the current Secretary or Acting Secretary of Commerce, as this information changes. Therefore, authors should consult the templates each time a manuscript is prepared.

The template pages contain elements required by NIST, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Superintendent of Documents. All NIST Technical Series Publications must have the Department of Commerce seal on the title page and the NIST logo on the cover. The inclusion of the Department seal and the NIST logo indicate that the publication is an “official agency publication.”

All NIST Technical Series Publications are encouraged to include the following statement in the left margin on every page after the title page: This publication is available free of charge from: [insert DOI here]

Document Organization

According to ANSI/NISO Z39.18-2005 (R2010) Scientific and Technical Reports - Preparation, Presentation, and Preservation (5/13/2010), your document should contain the following components, as appropriate, in the order listed below:

  • *Cover
  • *Title page
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • *Abstract and key words
  • *Table of contents
  • *List of tables and figures (only required when there are more than five figures and/or tables)
  • Glossary (list of symbols or definitions, if desired; if the glossary is more than one or two pages it can be placed in an Appendix)
  • *Body of text
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Appendix(es)

Not all of the components listed are necessary in each document, depending on its length, purpose, or format. The required elements are preceded by an (*) asterisk.

Headings and Subheadings

Headings and subheadings in the text should have a maximum of four levels, separated from text, be left justified, and should be numbered as follows:

  • 1. (Main level)
  • 1.1 (Second level)
  • 1.1.1 (Third level)
  • 1.1.1.1 (Fourth level)

Use built-in headings and styles in the templates provided in order to comply with Section 508 accessibility standards for logical reading order.

When referring to numbered sections in the text use the form “. . . Sec. 1.1 . . . ,” except at the beginning of a sentence where “Section 1.1 . . .” is the correct form.

Mathematical Expressions

Center equations on the page or screen with numbers in parentheses at the right margin. Each equation should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals starting with “1.”

Refer to equations in the text as Eq. (1), etc., except at the beginning of a sentence where “Equation (1)” should be used.

Never hyphenate numbers with unit symbols even when used as adjectives (e.g., 0.25 cm thick plate is the correct form; 0.25-cm thick plate should not be used). If there is any ambiguity, rearrange the words accordingly. Thus the sentence “The samples were placed in 22 mL vials,” might be written as “The samples were placed in vials of volume 22 mL.”

References

Authors should use the reference format while adhering to the following requirements:

  • Indicate references both within the body of the manuscript and in a list of references at the end of your manuscript.
  • Number each reference using Arabic numerals enclosed with brackets. Reference numbers should start with [1] and continue in order.
  • When citing multiple references in one in-text citation, continuous numbers should be included as ranges:
    • Correct: The information can be seen clearly in various papers [1–5].
    • Incorrect: The information can be seen clearly in various papers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
  • When referring to references in the text parenthetically, use the form “[1].” For example, “As Jones and Smith have shown [1];” however, when a reference is referred to non-parenthetically, use the form “. . . Ref. [1] . . .” (except at the beginning of a sentence where “Reference [1] . . .” is the correct form).
  • Include the article title when citing journal articles.
  • Include the DOI, when available, as the last item in the citation and cited as a complete URL. Example: https://doi.org/10.1006/jmbi.1995.0238.

Footnotes

Footnotes should be brief and used minimally.

Indicate footnotes by a superscript number starting with “1” and number them consecutively throughout the entire manuscript. For print documents, type footnotes at the bottom of the manuscript page on which they appear. For online documents, place footnotes at the end of the major section or subsection in which they are used.

Tables

Tables should appear in the document as soon as practicable after their mention in the text.

Each table should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals starting with “1” and have a concise heading and column headings. Only the first letter of the first word in both table headings and column headings is capitalized. Footnotes to entries in tables should be indicated by superscripts a, b, c, . . . , and typed at the bottom of the table. When referring to numbered tables in the text use the form “. . . Table 1 . . . .”

Tables should have embedded alternate text or “alt text” and should not have split or merged cells, nested tables, or completely blank rows in order to comply with Section 508 accessibility standards.

Figures

Include figures in the document as soon as practicable after their mention in the text.

Figure captions should be as concise as possible—detailed descriptions of the figures should be given in the text. Keys to symbols should be made an integral part of the figure.

Number figures with Arabic numerals, starting with “1” and continue in sequence throughout the text. When referring to numbered figures in the text use the form “. . . Fig. 1 . . . ,” except at the beginning of a sentence where “Figure 1 . . .” is the correct form.

Figures should have embedded alternate text or “alt text” in order to comply with Section 508 accessibility standards.

Inclusive Language

Industry terminology is rapidly changing to avoid biased language, and NIST would like to support this evolution. With that in mind, consider “good usage” of words versus “common usage.” Ask yourself: is the use of this term or phrase central to the meaning of the work? Can I convey the intended meaning using more inclusive language?

Consider the context of your research as you read these guidelines; they will not apply to every situation. Additionally, you should monitor your industry for ongoing discussions regarding acceptable language, since preferred terminology may change within a given field over time.

It is possible that avoiding potentially biased terms will introduce comprehension issues. These are guidelines to assist authors in writing NIST Technical Series Publications, they are not requirements. Consult with your OU leadership if you are unsure about language and terminology.

  • Avoid terms that use black to mean something bad or negative and white to mean positive or less harmful
    • Examples: blacklist/whitelist; blackmail; white lie
  • Avoid terms that perpetuate negative stereotypes or unequal power relationships
    • Examples: master/slave; smart/dumb; right/left (in this example, avoid using right to mean “good” or “normal,” and left to mean “bad” or “abnormal.”)
  • Avoid terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects
    • Examples: male/female connectors; male bolt/female nut
  • Avoid colloquialisms, metaphors, similes, idioms, and other unnecessary jargon. Plain language is always preferable.
  • Do not identify gender unless necessary for comprehension, or when referring to a specific individual or group.
  • Use people-first language when describing a specific individual or group.
    • Examples: persons experiencing homelessness; persons with a disability; adult who uses a wheelchair
  • Pay attention to the order in which you present groups of people (including authors, contributors, social groups, agencies, etc.). The order can imply that the first mentioned dominates the later mentioned.
  • When referring to persons in the text (i.e., in the acknowledgments), it is recommended to ask them for their names, prefixes, and personal pronouns.

Table 1 displays sentences with potentially biased language and suggests edits for improving them. These sentences are pulled from historical NIST Technical Series Publications. This table is intended to demonstrate how to apply the guidelines detailed above.

Table 1. Examples of potentially biased language in historical NIST Technical Series Publications.

Original

Suggested Edits

Application whitelisting technologies use whitelists to control which applications are permitted to execute on a host.

Application control technologies use allowlists to control which applications are permitted to execute on a host.

This is critical to various aspects of security, including the black list of certificates pushed by the product vendors.

This is critical to various aspects of security, including the denylisting of certificates pushed by the product vendors.

Moreover, affected individuals can be subject to embarrassment, identity theft, or blackmail as the result of a breach involving PII.

Moreover, affected individuals can be subject to embarrassment, identity theft, or extortion as the result of a breach involving PII.

We know that most merchants are honest, but among them are some black sheep, if we may believe the Philadelphia exhibit.

We know that most merchants are honest, but some are disreputable, if we may believe the Philadelphia exhibit.

However, if particular countries passports were known to be used with low-thresholds, we’d expect genesis of a black-market for stolen credentials in those places.

However, if particular countries passports were known to be used with low-thresholds, we’d expect genesis of illegal marketplaces for stolen credentials in those places.

We denote the studied wireless network by the black box because the network specifics are not assumed to be available to the proposed test method.

There is no implied negativity or inequity in this sentence.

Note: This example may be rewritten using more precise language (e.g., opaque box), as appropriate.

If a master data node fails, the system can automatically switch over and begin to use one of the slave nodes.

If a primary data node fails, the system can automatically switch over and begin to use one of the secondary nodes.

Figure 2-2 depicts the basic Bluetooth network topology. In a piconet one device serves as the master, with all other devices in the piconet acting as slaves.

The NIST document specifies how to implement an external standard specification (Bluetooth) and therefore uses language taken directly from that external specification. 

Note: This example may be rewritten to include a footnote disclaimer explaining that the terms are used as written in the original source, and that NIST is working to eliminate these terms from its own technical documents.

Twenty laboratories submitted results on traditional analytes (that included saturated hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, and biomarkers) measured by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry or flame ionization detection.

Twenty laboratories submitted results on agreed upon analytes (that included saturated hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, and biomarkers) measured by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry or flame ionization detection.

Note: This term may (1) create an inequitable relationship; and (2) introduce ambiguity (“traditional” is a subjective term). When possible, precise language is preferred.

Blockchain is a distributed storage framework that is virtually tamper resistant, has a native synchronization-discrepancy-resistance mechanism and is already highly praised in the financial world.

Blockchain is a distributed storage framework that is virtually tamper resistant, has a built-in synchronization-discrepancy-resistance mechanism and is already highly praised in the financial world.

And sometimes we complain that measurement standards work cannot get management attention or that it is too low on the priority totem pole.

And sometimes we complain that measurement standards work cannot get management attention or that it is a low priority.

No attempt has been made to grandfather existing early implementations, or cover potential non-production level uses of the technology in test-beds, pilots, etc.

No attempt has been made to approve existing early implementations, or cover potential non-production level uses of the technology in test-beds, pilots, etc.

Another regulator would like a grandfather period of ten years and then a conversion to mass units on dispensers and advertising.

Another regulator would like an exemption period of ten years and then a conversion to mass units on dispensers and advertising.

The evaluator, however, can measure a written exercise, a skill demonstration... he/she cannot take the student's word for the learned skill…

The evaluator, however, can measure a written exercise, a skill demonstration... they cannot take the student's word for the learned skill…

The unprecedented level of destruction by storm surge in Mississippi and Louisiana brought renewed focus on the need to address natural disasters, in addition to protection from manmade hazards.

The unprecedented level of destruction by storm surge in Mississippi and Louisiana brought renewed focus on the need to address natural disasters, in addition to protection from hazards created by humans.

Participants explained that being carried allowed them to get out of the building quickly, and they were aware that firemen were trained in how to carry them safely.

Participants explained that being carried allowed them to get out of the building quickly, and they were aware that firefighters were trained in how to carry them safely.

For example, allowing an observer to infer that an individual is a tall elderly female.

For example, allowing an observer to infer that an individual is a tall older adult female.

Standards to enforce access policies, share attributes, preserve anonymity, minimize data release, and consent are still immature, difficult to deploy, and not available…

Standards to enforce access policies, share attributes, preserve anonymity, minimize data release, and consent are still underdeveloped, difficult to deploy, and not available…

The demo was started and to my horror the robot went crazy: Instead of writing the executive’s name on the carton it used the felt pen as a weapon…

The demo was started and to my horror the robot malfunctioned: Instead of writing the executive’s name on the carton it used the felt pen as a weapon…

This adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate without a human being involved.

This is a definition from an external source with a citation.

Note: This example may be rewritten to include a footnote disclaimer explaining that the terms are used as written in the original source, and that NIST is working to eliminate these terms from its own technical documents.

Employees may have access to extremely sensitive, or proprietary information, the disclosure of which can destroy an organization’s reputation or cripple it financially.

Employees may have access to extremely sensitive, or proprietary information, the disclosure of which can destroy an organization’s reputation or impair it financially.

Standardization establishes the baseline mindset, and without them, meaningful forward progress is handicapped.

Standardization establishes the baseline mindset, and without them, meaningful forward progress is impeded.

The first experiment showed that wheelchair-bound adults could move large distances.

The first experiment showed that adults who use wheelchairs could move large distances.

Examples of residential board and care occupancies include group housing for people who are physically or mentally handicapped, facilities for rehabilitation, and other group housing arrangements that provide personal care services.

Examples of residential board and care occupancies include group housing for persons with disabilities, facilities for rehabilitation, and other group housing arrangements that provide personal care services.

A compromised server could be used to eavesdrop on remote access communications and manipulate them, as well as to provide a “jumping off” point for attacking other hosts within the organization.

A compromised server could be used to eavesdrop on remote access communications and manipulate them, as well as to provide a starting point for attacking other hosts within the organization.

Moreover, if the reallocation violates principles of equity (fairness), the outcomes can be adjusted by income or material transfers to the needy.

Moreover, if the reallocation violates principles of equity (fairness), the outcomes can be adjusted by income or material transfers to persons experiencing material poverty.

The city also has a homeless shelter that provides food, shelter, clothing, counseling and mental health referrals to over 100 homeless people each day.

The city also has a homeless shelter that provides food, shelter, clothing, counseling and mental health referrals to over 100 persons experiencing homelessness each day.

Our goal is to provide sufficient guidance on technical properties of the SEM such that independently developed probe and controller products will be compatible right out of their "shrink-wrapped" packages.

Our goal is to provide sufficient guidance on technical properties of the SEM such that independently developed probe and controller products will be compatible from the start.

Some trivial threshold schemes are left out of the scope of the following discussion.

Some trivial threshold schemes are omitted from the scope of the following discussion.

Additional Resources

SI Units and Measurement Uncertainty

Manuscripts must comply with the NIST policy on the use of the International System of Units (SI). See:

They must also comply with the NIST policy on statements of uncertainty associated with measurement results. See:

Disclaimer

All templates include a disclaimer page with approved disclaimers. Delete any disclaimers that don’t apply to the document. If authors wish to use any different disclaimers, they must be approved by OU management and/or the NIST legal team.

Authors should avoid using trade and product names in their manuscripts (including illustrations), except where public safety or health is involved, or where mention of the name is essential to the understanding of the reported results. Whenever a trade or product name is used, you must include a disclaimer in a footnote cited at the first identification of the product, or as a footnote to the section containing it.

According to DAO 219-1, if a publication’s conclusions or recommendations could reasonably be construed as representing the view of the Agency when it does not, then the researcher must make clear that he or she is presenting his or her individual conclusion and not the views of the Agency.

Examples of acceptable disclaimers are:

Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials are identified in this paper to foster understanding. Such identification does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nor does it imply that the materials or equipment identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose

The opinions, recommendations, findings, and conclusions in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of NIST or the United States Government.

Disclaimer for Publications with Non-NIST Authors

All documents with non-NIST authors (i.e., contractor reports, workshop reports, and conference proceedings) should include a disclaimer explaining that the document contains external perspectives and does not represent NIST’s official position. An example of an acceptable disclaimer is:

This publication is intended to capture external perspectives related to NIST standards, measurement, and testing-related efforts. These external perspectives can come from industry, academia, government, and other organizations. This report was prepared as an account of a workshop; it is intended to document external perspectives; and does not represent official NIST positions.

Section 508 Accessibility Compliance

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that all federal agencies are required to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. In order to comply with the Section 508 accessibility standards, all NIST Technical Series publications must be formatted in the templates provided. While using these templates, please ensure your documents have the following:

  • Alternative text with all visuals and tables
  • Meaningful hyperlink text
  • Use alternative methods for conveying information; color is not the only means
  • Sufficient contrast for text and background colors
  • Use of built-in headings and styles
  • Simple table structures, specify column header information, repeating header rows

Copyright, Fair Use, and Licensing Statements

Statement is maintained on NIST.gov.

Created February 16, 2021, Updated February 22, 2021