Guide for Authors

Soils and Rocks is an international scientific journal published by the Brazilian Association for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ABMS) and by the Portuguese Geotechnical Society (SPG). The aim of the journal is to publish original papers on all branches of Geotechnical Engineering. Each manuscript is subjected to a single-blind peer-review process. The journal’s policy of screening for plagiarism includes the use of a plagiarism checker on all submitted manuscripts.

This guide can be downloaded from this link.

  1. Category of papers

Submissions are classified into one of the following categories:

  • Article – an extensive and conclusive dissertation about a geotechnical topic, presenting original findings.
  • Technical Note – presents a study of smaller scope or results of ongoing studies, comprising partial results and/or particular aspects of the investigation.
  • Case Study – report innovative ways to solve problems associated with design and construction of geotechnical projects. It also presents studies of the performance of existing structures.
  • Review Article a summary of the State-of-the-Art or State-of-the-Practice on a particular subject or issue and represents an overview of recent developments.
  • Discussion – specific discussions about published papers.

Authors are responsible for selecting the correct category when submitting their manuscript. However, the manuscript category may be altered based on the recommendation of the Editorial Board. Authors are also requested to state the category of paper in their Cover Letter and in the Author’s Checklist.

  1. Paper length

Full-length manuscripts (Article, Case Study) should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words. Review articles should have up to 10,000 words. Technical Notes have a word count limit of 2,000 words. Discussions have a word count limit of 500 words. These word count limits exclude the title page, notation list (e.g., symbols, abbreviations), captions of tables and figures, acknowledgments and references. Each single column and double column figure or table is considered as equivalent to 150 and 300 words, respectively.

  1. Scientific style

The manuscripts should be written in UK or US English, in the third person and all spelling should be checked in accordance with a major English Dictionary. The manuscript should be able to be readily understood by a Civil Engineer and avoid colloquialisms. Unless essential to the comprehension of the manuscript, direct reference to the names of persons, organizations, products or services is not allowed. Flattery or derogatory remarks about any person or organization should not be included.

The author(s) of Discussion Papers should refer to himself (herself/themselves) as the reader(s) and to the author(s) of the paper as the author(s).

The International System (SI) units must be used. The symbols are recommended to be in accordance with Lexicon in 14 Languages, ISSMFE (2013) and the ISRM List of Symbols. Use italic for single letters that denote mathematical constants, variables, and unknown quantities.

  1. Submission requirements and contents

A submission implies that the following conditions are met:

  • the authors assume full responsibility for the contents and accuracy of the information presented in the paper;
  • the manuscript contents have not been published previously, except as a lecture or academic thesis;
  • the manuscript is not under consideration for publication elsewhere;
  • the manuscript is approved by all authors;
  • the manuscript is approved by the necessary authorities, when applicable, such as ethics committees and institutions that may hold intellectual property on contents presented in the manuscript;
  • the authors have obtained authorization from the copyright holder for any reproduced material;
  • the authors are aware that the manuscript will be subjected to plagiarism check.

The author(s) must upload a single digital file of the manuscript to the Soils and Rocks submission system. The size limit for submission file is 50 MB. The manuscript should be submitted in docx format (Word 2007 or higher) or doc format (for older Word versions). Currently, the journal is not accepting manuscripts prepared using LaTeX. Manuscripts submitted in PDF format are also not acceptable.

The single submission file must combine the following documents, in this order:

  • cover letter;
  • Author’s checklist;
  • permission of the use of previously published material when applicable;
  • title page;
  • manuscript.

4.1 Cover letter

The cover letter should include: manuscript title, submission type, authorship information, statement of key findings and work novelty, and related previous publications if applicable.

4.2 Author’s checklist

Fill the checklist available here before submitting the manuscript. The Author’s Checklist must be submitted after the cover letter. Submissions that fail to follow this Guide for Authors are automatically rejected.

4.3 Title page

The title page is the first page of the manuscript and must include:

  • A concise and informative title of the paper. Avoid abbreviations, acronyms or formulae. Discussion Papers should contain the title of the paper under discussion. Only the first letter of the first word should be capitalized.
  • Full name(s) of the author(s). The first name(s) should not be abbreviated. The authors are allowed to abbreviate middle name(s).
  • The corresponding author should be identified by a pound sign # beside his/her and in a footnote.
  • The affiliation(s) of the author(s), should follow the format: Institution, (Department), City, (State), Country.
  • Affiliation address and e-mail must appear below each author’s name.
  • The 16-digit ORCID of the author(s) – mandatory
  • Main text word count (excluding abstract and references) and the number of figures and tables

4.4 Permissions

Figures, tables or text passages previously published elsewhere may be reproduced under permission from the copyright owner(s) for both the print and online format. The authors are required to provide evidence that such permission has been granted at the moment of paper submission.

4.5 Declaration of interest

Authors are required to disclose conflicting interests that could inappropriately bias their work. For that end, a section entitled “Declaration of interest” should be included following any acknowledgments and prior to the reference section. In case of the absence of conflicting interests, the authors should still include a declaration of interest.

  1. Plagiarism checking

Submitted papers are expected to contain at least 50% new content and the remaining 50% should not be verbatim to previously published work.

All manuscripts are screened for similarities. Currently, the Editorial Board uses the plagiarism checker Plagius ( to compare submitted papers to already published works. Manuscripts will be rejected if more than 20 % of content matches previously published work, including self-plagiarism. The decision to reject will be under the Editors’ discretion if the percentage is between 10 % and 20 %.

  1. Formatting instructions

The text must be presented in a single column, using ISO A4 page size, left, right, top, and bottom margins of 25 mm, Times New Roman 12 font, and line spacing of 1.5. All lines and pages should be numbered.

Figures, tables and equations should be numbered in the sequence that they are mentioned in the text.


Please provide an abstract between 150 and 250 words in length. Abbreviations or acronyms should be avoided. The abstract should state briefly the purpose of the work, the main results and major conclusions or key findings.


A list with up to six keywords at the end of the abstract that represent the content of the manuscript is required. Authors should preferably use keywords that do not appear in the manuscript title. To maximize visibility of the published paper, choose words that are specific to the field of study.


Poor keywords – piles; dams; numerical modeling; laboratory testing

Better keywords – friction piles; concrete-faced rockfill dams; material point method; bender element test

List of symbols

A list of symbols and definitions used in the text must be included after the keywords.

6.1 Citations

References to other published sources must be made in the text by the last name(s) of the author(s), followed by the year of publication. Examples:

  • Narrative citation: […] while Silva & Pereira (1987) observed that resistance depended on soil density
  • Parenthetical citation: It was observed that resistance depended on soil density (Silva & Pereira, 1987).

In the case of three or more authors, the reduced format must be used, e.g.: Silva et al. (1982) or (Silva et al., 1982). Do not italicize “et al.”

Two or more citations belonging to the same author(s) and published in the same year are to be distinguished with small letters, e.g.: (Silva, 1975a, b, c.).

Standards must be cited in the text by the initials of the entity and the year of publication, e.g.: ABNT (1996), ASTM (2003).

6.2 References

A customized style for the Mendeley software is available and may be downloaded from this link.

Full references must be listed alphabetically at the end of the text by the first author’s last name. Several references belonging to the same author must be cited chronologically.

Some formatting examples are presented here:

Journal papers:

Bishop, A.W., & Blight, G.E. (1963). Some aspects of effective stress in saturated and partly saturated soils. Géotechnique, 13(2), 177-197.


Lambe, T.W., & Whitman, R.V. (1979). Soil Mechanics, SI version. John Wiley & Sons.

Chapters in edited books:

Sharma, H.D., Dukes, M.T., & Olsen, D.M. (1990). Field measurements of dynamic moduli and Poisson´s ratios of refuse and underlying soils at a landfill site. In Geotechnics of Waste Fills – Theory and Practice (pp. 57-70). ASTM International.


Jamiolkowski, M.; Ladd, C.C.; Germaine, J.T., & Lancellotta, R. (1985). New developments in field and laboratory testing of soils. Proc. 11th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, San Francisco, August 1985. Vol. 1, Balkema, 57-153.

Theses and dissertations:

Lee, K.L. (1965). Triaxial compressive strength of saturated sands under seismic loading conditions [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of California at Berkeley.

Chow, F.C. (1997). Investigations into the behaviour of displacement pile for offshore foundations [Doctoral thesis, Imperial College London]. Imperial College London’s repository.


ASTM D7928-17. (2017). Standard Test Method for Particle-Size Distribution (Gradation) of Fine-Grained Soils Using the Sedimentation (Hydrometer) Analysis. ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.

Internet references:

Soils and Rocks. (2020). Electronic version of issues. Soils and Rocks. Retrieved in September 16, 2020, from

6.3 Artworks and illustrations

Each figure should be submitted as a high-resolution image, according to the following mandatory requirements:

  • Figures must be created as a TIFF file format using LZW compression with minimum resolution of 500 dpi.
  • Size the figures according to their final intended size. Single-column figures should have a width of up to 82 mm. Double-column figures should have a maximum width of 170 mm.
  • Use Times New Roman for figure lettering. Use lettering sized 8-10 pt. for the final figure size.
  • Lines should have 0.5 pt. minimum width in drawings.
  • Titles or captions should not be included inside the figure itself.

Figures must be embedded in the text near the position where they are first cited. Cite figures in the manuscript in consecutive numerical order. Denote figure parts by lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.). Please include a reference citation at the end of the figure caption for previously published material.

Figure captions must be placed below the figure and start with the term “Figure” followed by the figure number and a period. Example:

Figure 1. Shear strength envelope.

Do not abbreviate “Figure” when making cross-references to figures.

All figures are published in color for the electronic version of the journal; however, the print version uses grayscale. Please format figures so that they are adequate even when printed in grayscale.

Accessibility: Please make sure that all figures have descriptive captions (text-to-speech software or a text-to-Braille hardware could be used by blind users). Prefer using patterns (e.g., different symbols for dispersion plot) rather than (or in addition to) colors for conveying information (then the visual elements can be distinguished by colorblind users). Any figure lettering should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1

Improving the color accessibility for the printed version and for colorblind readers: Authors are encouraged to use color figures because they will be published in their original form in the online version. However, authors must consider the need to make their color figures accessible for reviewers and readers that are colorblind. As a general rule of thumb, authors should avoid using red and green simultaneously. Red should be replaced by magenta, vermillion, or orange. Green should be replaced by an off-green color, such as blue-green. Authors should prioritize the use of black, gray, and varying tones of blue and yellow.

These rules of thumb serve as general orientations, but authors must consider that there are multiple types of color blindness, affecting the perception of different colors. Ideally, authors should make use of the following resources: 1) for more information on how to prepare color figures, visit; 2) a freeware software available at is offered by Vischeck, to show how your figures would be perceived by the colorblind.

6.4 Tables

Tables should be presented as a MS Word table with data inserted consistently in separate cells. Place tables in the text near the position where they are first cited. Tables should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals and have a caption consisting of the table number and a brief title. Tables should always be cited in the text. Any previously published material should be identified by giving the original source as a reference at the end of the table caption. Additional comments can be placed as footnotes, indicated by superscript lower-case letters.

When applicable, the units should come right below the corresponding column heading. Horizontal lines should be used at the top and bottom of the table and to separate the headings row. Vertical lines should not be used.

Table captions must be placed above the table and start with the term “Table” followed by the table number and a period. Example:

Table 1. Soil properties.

Do not abbreviate “Table” when making a cross-references to tables.

6.5 Mathematical equations

Equations must be submitted as editable text, created using MathType or the built-in equation editor in MS Word. All variables must be presented in italics.

Equations must appear isolated in a single line of the text. Numbers identifying equations must be flushed with the right margin. International System (SI) units must be used. The definitions of the symbols used in the equations must appear in the List of Symbols.