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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.
  • A 150-word minimum, 200-word maximum abstract must be submitted for consideration prior to paper submission.
  • Titles should not exceed 20 words.
  • Abstracts are evaluated on the strength and clarity of the thesis, conclusion, engineering content, and perceived appeal or value to the Academy.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining; and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed in-line. Use the most recent Journal template.
  • The submission has not been previously published or made publicly available, nor is it before another journal for consideration.
  • Specific commercial entities (e.g., retailers, manufacturers, property holders) or their products (specific brands or models, named or otherwise identifiable locations) may only be mentioned by name under two conditions: 1) the entity is already the subject of public comment regarding the technical topic at issue and properly cited — for example, in a government defect investigation/recall with the official document cited, or 2) the name is mentioned as part of a descriptive methodology or historical reference, without assertions of deficiency.
  • Media sources such as newspapers, websites, TV shows will include full citation of the specific article, broadcast segment, or web page instead of the just the title of the publication, website, or show.
  • Whenever possible, the case or incident should be obscured. Named parties and locations should be omitted. It is acceptable to change non-engineering features of paper to obscure the case, such as changing the color of vehicles, gender of participants, or other descriptors used to differentiate objects and people providing it does not impact the engineering being presented or the context of the scenario(s). For example, a personal pleasure craft striking a dock and causing damage can be changed from an unnamed lake to an unnamed bay or river providing the type of pleasure craft is used in such waters.
  • Commercial, government, educational, and other documents downloaded from the internet will include the website in the reference citation unless a DOI, ISBN, patent number, or Federal case docket number is cited.
  • Where available, Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for journal articles and International Standard Book Number (ISBN) will be included in the reference. If your citation tool does not include the DOI or ISBN in the ISEE format, add it to the end of the formatted reference.
  • The submission file must be in Microsoft Word. Use the provided JotNAFE template.
  • Specific cited/referenced works shall be documented in IEEE style formats as endnotes (using brackets such as [1], [3-5] in the body of text or captions), with the formatted sources listed under the heading “References" in order of first appearance. CSE format is no longer used by the JotNAFE.
  • Final papers must be a minimum of 2,400 words and no more than 10,000 words. A chart, illustration, graph, or other graphic element (including its caption) is equivalent to 400 words.
  • No ghost writers or adminstrators as the point of contact. The corresponding author must be part of the named writing team. A journal article is to reflect upon the named author, irrespective of employment.

Author Guidelines

Authors must review and comply with the following documents:

The first two documents are more detailed and prescriptive. The document “Guidance for JotNAFE Papers” is a descriptive summary of the more detailed documents and provides editorial guidance of the common pitfalls to avoid, supplementing the first two documents. You will be assigned an Associate Editor (AE) to guide your work through the editorial process and blind peer review. 

JotNAFE has switched to only using IEEE style with "endnotes".  It is readily available in Microsoft Word as well as in publications offering cititions of their articles, including JotNAFE.  The citation is annotated as numbers in brackets, such as [1] or [3-6], in the body of the text or caption.  The list of references is presented in order of first usage.

The process beings with a call for abstracts for presentations at the next NAFE Conference.  The topic must have a clear thesis that relates to forensic engineering.  It can traditional engineering topic (principles/methods, case studies walking the reader through a method, best practices/new technology, etc.)  The topic can also be a critical analysis of other aspects for forensic engineering, such as a comparison of a given forensic method being accepted in different jurisdictions or a dissecting an ethical dilemma.  The conclusion must address the thesis and be supported by the body of the work. Abstracts are graded based on the strength and clarity of the thesis, conclusion, engineering content, and its perceived appeal or value to the Academy.

Once your abstract is accepted, you’ll be preparing your initial “90% draft” and presentation. All authors must download the current Word template for paper submissions and style the text accordingly per the instructions within the coument.  There is a checklist related to formatting and style included at the bottom of the template.  This initial draft focuses on the format, with the abstract summarizing entire paper, body of paper (including citation) supporting the conclusion, the conclusion supported by the body and answering the question/issue in the abstract and intro of the paper. One way to think of it is the “90%” refers to “a completed college freshman research paper, minus the peer review”, as the post-presentation comments and formal technical peer review occurs later. AEs are welcome to make technical comment at any time in the process, but the initial phase is about language and logic as well as presenting the author’s case work/engineering work with the citation documenting supporting theory and information. Statements given without showing the work or providing supporting citation is unsupported opinion. Given the time constraints, the presentation should generally parallel the paper with attention given to the technical aspects that most directly supports the conclusions.  A powerpoint template is provided but is not required.  Plan on a 40 minute presentation with 10 minutes of Q&A.

Pay attention to the questions and comments you get from your presentation. They can indicate areas of particular interest, issues that appeared to be non-obvious, alternative methods or theories you had not discussed, or areas where your in-depth knowledge may have prevented you from seeing the content with fresh eyes. You will have 30 days after the presentation to submit an updated draft, allowing you to re-write your paper based on the feedback provided and any additional insight or research gained.

Once this draft is accepted, your AE will send it for blind peer review. You will receive anonymous feedback and criticism with particular focus on the technical aspect. The technical aspect may include but are not limited to reviewing cited sources, examining for implied assumptions that are not universal, checking the math, comparing results to literature or professional experience, or examining whether a statement is sufficiently supported by the work presented or requires outside citation. It is important to remember there is no consideration given to the author’s expertise. Unlike a courtroom where the expert’s credentials are presented and subject to challenge, the paper stands only on the merits of the writing itself.

The audience is primarily Professional Engineers across a broad range of disciplines.   For the purpose of writing for the Journal, the author can assume technical information at high school level and core subjects common to ABET degrees is "common knowledge" and does not require citation.  Beyond that, citation must be used to show data sources, referenced standards, examples of similar work to show a method or technique is accepted, etc. For example,  simple kinematic calculations  or fundamental relationships like V=I*R and F=m*a require no citation, but complex vector analysis applied to multi-car pile up or calculations for a bullet penetrating a wall before hitting a person would require either citation to show it's an established technique (per Rule 702) or shows the work to develop that relationship.  Events that are common knowledge like the Challenger shuttle disaster occurred and its date do not need citation, but using details of the failure mechanism and how the internal engineering communications failed does need citation.  

The AE will work with you to address the critiques. Not every criticism is valid or accurate. Once the AE is satisfied the results of the peer review have been addressed, the paper goes to copyediting and layout as well as a final review by the Editor In Chief. You’ll be asked the review the final version before it goes to press. Once published, your paper will be available as a separate file as well as a digital issue of the Journal with all of the other papers. Your paper will be part of NAFE’s growing contribution to the forensic engineering field.

Authors are expected to treat publishing in the Journal as a professional endeavor, no different than a court deadline.  While we will work with authors who are re-writing, if an author who has presented is not making the corrections or otherwise responding to the Journal to complete the submission prior to the next NAFE meeting (approximately 6 months after presentation), the paper will be released back to the author.  Delays by JotNAFE do not penalize the author.  Consideration will be given for exigent situations such as family crises, military deployments, change of employment, etc. but it is not an indefinite extension.

Non-NAFE members
A NAFE member may co-author with any professional that provides significant contributions that are critical to the content of the paper.   A non-NAFE author wishing to contribute a paper without a NAFE co-author will only be allowed on a case-by-case basis.  The author must have a NAFE member sponsor the paper.  The Journal's Editor In Chief will consider the author's expertise, past publishing credentials, the specified subject matter with respect to forensic engineering, its potential contribution to the Academy, and other factors as appropriate.   If the Editor In Chief supports the proposed paper, a written recommendation will be sent to the sitting President of NAFE who will make the ultimate decision.  An author may wish to consider becoming a member, since then there would be no issue regarding publishing.  Only papers presented at a NAFE regular technical seminar and have received oral critique at the seminar will be accepted for review and publication.  There are no provisions to present a paper remotely or by recording.   

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