How To: Publish a Technical Report

Your technical expertise can now be combined with ASTM’s publishing expertise in a new format: technical reports.
Cicely Enright

Technical reports help make your information available. Longer than a journal paper, shorter than other publications, reports offer a peer-reviewed format to share work that may or may not otherwise call for full-consensus standards. Think of it this way: report information can be critical for certain purposes but not necessarily the best fit for a consensus standard.

These reports could describe the current state, challenges, processes, progress, and research, and have data, recommendations, and/or conclusions in a technical area. The contents could come from work by a committee, groups of committees, an outside industry-specific trade assocication, professional society, or consortium. Proposals can be made by members or non-members.

For example, the first two technical reports focus on aviation: TR-1, Autonomy Design and Operations in Aviation: Terminology and Requirements Framework, and TR-2, Developmental Pillars of Increased Autonomy for Aircraft Systems. Both can guide technical committees in their work on autonomous systems in aviation. And a third related report is coming soon. You can learn more about the aviation-related reports on the ASTM website (, under Products & Services > Standards & Publications > Technical Reports).

The process for a technical report, like other ASTM publications, begins by submitting a proposal, which is considered by staff, technical committee(s), and the Committee on Publications. Proposals need to have a tentative title, author(s), scope, estimated schedule, manuscript details, any special features, and an audience description. 

Note that the technical report peer-review process is single blind, with the committee chair designating at least two members of the committee to review. As mentioned, these reports
are not balloted and are not full-consensus documents.

To learn more, contact your staff manager or Kathy Dernoga, ASTM (+1.610.832.9617; 


As fall meetings are starting, here’s a refresher (or an introduction) about the six types of ASTM International standards.

These standards types are intended to provide a flexibility of form, communication, and usage for both the technical committees and the myriad users of ASTM documents. The type of ASTM document that is developed and titled is based on the technical content and intended use, not on the degree of consensus achieved. (Every standard must successfully go through the consensus balloting process.) Standards can be take one of the following forms and types:

Classification, n — a systematic arrangement or division of materials, products, systems, or services into groups based on similar characteristics such as origin, composition, properties, or use.

Guide, n — a compendium of information or series of options that does not recommend a specific course of action.
Discussion — A guide increases the awareness of information and approaches in a given subject area.

Practice, n — a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations that does not produce a test result.
Discussion — Examples of practices include, but are not limited to: application, assessment, cleaning, collection, decontamination, inspection, installation, preparation, sampling, screening, and training.

Specification, n — an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, system or service.
Discussion — Examples of specifications include, but are not limited to requirements for: physical, mechanical, or chemical properties, and safety, quality, or performance criteria. A specification identifies the test methods for determining whether each of the requirements is satisfied.

Terminology, n — a document comprising definitions of terms; explanations of symbols, abbreviations, or acronyms.

Test method, n — a definitive procedure that produces a test result.
Discussion — Examples of test methods include, but are not limited to: identification, measurement, and evaluation of one or more qualities, characteristics, or properties. A precision and bias statement shall be reported at the end of a test method. ■

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