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Research Publication Development Tools

This page is designed to assist in developing, writing, submitting, and publishing Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research reports, web content, and other documents. 

For anyone working on creating, updating, or editing content for the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC), your main sources for technical publication requirements should be the TFHRC Communication Reference Guide (CRG). The CRG provides you with the guidelines, policies, and styles for various TFHRC publications. This resource will help you to effectively plan, schedule, and produce your print or electronic publications, marketing and outreach materials, and events. The CRG also contains publication formatting requirements; editorial style preferences; printing and publishing policies and procedures; and examples. The TFHRC publication process infographic depicts the steps involved in publishing a research document.

"This infographic depicts the steps of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center publication process as spokes coming off an arc.  During the intake phase, the researcher provides the intake package to the Office of Marketing and Communications (HRTM-20).  HRTM-20 then reviews the intake package for completeness.  During the editing phase, editors provide edits to the files, and the researcher provides a response to the edits.  During the layout and final approval phase, editors provide a PDF version of the document in its final layout.  The researcher then reviews and approves the final layout.  During the Office of Public Affairs Review phase, Public Affairs reviews and approves the document.  Finally, during the publication phase, the document is published online."

Additionally, this page contains links to various writing styles that may prove useful to you when developing your document. Whether it is tips, techniques, or shortcuts, the contents on this page will help you develop your document for publication by the FHWA.


Style Guide Information and Web Links

FHWA employees can contact the FHWA Research Library to borrow copies of most guides listed below. Details on various writing styles can be found at the following links:

  • GPO – The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual is an official guide to the form and style of Federal government printing.
  • APA – American Psychological Association style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences.
  • MLA –Modern Language Association style is most commonly used within the liberal arts and humanities.
  • Chicago –The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) covers a variety of topics from manuscript preparation and publication to grammar, usage, and documentation. TFHRC employees also have access to the full online version of the manual. Please contact the library for additional information.
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

List of Acronyms

The CRG includes a list of preferred acronyms/abbreviations (appendix J) and of preferred terminology (appendix I).

Reference Information and Examples

Under the new CRG, writers can choose to follow whichever reference style suits their needs. For those who use the GPO reference style, consult this list to determine which elements should be included and to see citation examples:



An errata sheet is a list of errors or corrections to be made in a document. If you would like to make corrections to an error within your document, please download a copy of the errata form below and submit your corrections to HRTM-20:

Copyrights and Related Information

If you borrow materials (e.g., figures, charts, photographs, etc.) that are not owned by FHWA, you must receive permission to use that content. This applies to materials used in reports, publications, and web content. The following links will provide you with detailed information regarding copyrights and related information under Federal contracts:

Permissions and Model Releases

If your content uses photographs or video wherein faces are recognizable, you must receive permission from the subjects to use their images. The required forms are available for download at the links below:

Video, Print, Web, Social Media or Multimedia Clearances

The following links will provide you with the appropriate forms to obtain clearances and authorizations related to video, print, web, social media or multimedia items:

HRTM Service Request (Intake) Form

Editing and printing requests require the submission of the HRTM Service Request (Intake) form. On this form, you will include details about the type of item you have prepared, the style manual used to prepare the document, the level of editorial services that will be required by the editor contractor, and the distribution plan for the document (e.g., print or web only). The form also explains what must be included in your submission before HRTM can move forward with the publication process. The intake form is available for download at the following link.

Journal Submissions

Researchers typically submit articles to journals. When this happens, the researchers may be asked to sign a form assigning copyrights to the journal. Federal employees may not copyright material prepared in the course of their employment. However, the researcher may provide a letter verifying that the article has not been published by any other publication. The journal submission template can be found at the following link:

Front Matter

See the CRG for details on the order and placement of these elements in publications.

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

The use of metric measurements is now optional, per the November 25, 2008, internal FHWA memo from former executive director, Jeffrey Paniati. However, research reports must include the metric/SI conversion chart at the beginning of the report, in the front matter section. A copy of the conversion chart is available at the following link:

Technical Report Documentation Page

The technical report documentation page is required in every FHWA report. It provides details including the report number, report date, number of pages, etc. This page is available for download at the following link:

Standard Notice for Research Reports

The standard notice for research reports is required in all FHWA reports. This notice is available for download the following link:

Cover of Communication Reference Guide (CRG)