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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-074

Communications Reference Guide

Chapter 2—HRTM Service and Submission Process

Communication products must present information clearly, concisely, and consistently in design, style, grammar, spelling, composition, and format. Many readers equate the quality of our research, the reliability of our innovations, and the competence of our research staff with the quality of FHWA's communication products. Publications provide a permanent record of developments in technology, implementation, and research.

Our communication products represent FHWA. To present the most professional image of the Agency, FHWA products must be technically accurate and appropriately comprehensive.

HRTM guides, oversees, manages, and produces a variety of communication materials to disseminate RD&T information to a wide range of customers in the transportation industry, legislators, scientists, associations, corporate America, and the public. The HRTM Communications and Outreach Team supports this effort with editors, writers, designers, journalists, communication specialists, photographers, marketing professionals, Web programmers, and others.

Note: All communication products shall be edited.

Product Considerations

After identifying your audience(s) and defining your message(s), you must then determine the most effective way of reaching your audience.

  • The first step in this process is to know your audience's preference. Have you asked your audience(s) what they consider the most effective approach for communicating information about a specific type of knowledge, product, or service?

  • What is the most appropriate mean(s) for transmitting the message(s)? A printed report may be best for one audience, an article for another audience, or a Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation may be the most effective for yet another group.

  • What resources are available for developing and distributing the product?

  • What do you intend the audience to do with this communication product?

Office of Public Affairs

If the subject of a document is not strictly RD&T related, the Office of Public Affairs must be consulted before the publishing process is begun. See chapter 9, "Guidelines for Media Relations." The only exception to this requirement is technical research reports, which must be reviewed by the office director in lieu of public affairs. The Office of Public Affairs has delegated authority to the office directors for reviewing all other publications for policy implications.

Technical Review

A peer/technical review should be conducted before each document is submitted for editing and publishing. This review should contain the necessary checks and balances to ensure that FHWA continues to publish accurate and high-quality documents. The COTR, who is responsible for the technical accuracy of the material in a publication, may involve the principal investigator or Federal staff responsible for the technology or staff study. This peer/technical review group should include subject experts both internal and external to FHWA, as appropriate.

HRTM Service Request Form

Before submitting your communication product to HRTM, obtain support from your office director for moving forward on your job request. Make sure that technical experts and stakeholders already have given technical reviews and approvals, and that the copy you submit is final. RD&T staff must receive a hard copy HRTM Service Request Form that is signed by an office or technical director, or other delegate. Office directors also may submit the HRTM Service Request Form by e-mail.

The office director's endorsement or approval indicates several things, that he/she:

  • Knows of and has awareness of this publication.

  • Endorses its publication and is willing to commit office funds to publish it (if appropriate).

  • Assures that it has had the proper review by all stakeholders (i.e., headquarters and field offices), and supports the plan pertaining to the publication media, intended audience, use of the document, and distribution.

  • Confirms that it is fully compatible with U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and FHWA policies and positions, and that all potential sensitivities have been appropriately addressed.

The HRTM Service Request Form is available in the HRTM administrative assistant's office or on the www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/tfhrc/ Web site under "Services." See appendix A for a copy of the form.

Print Distribution Form

When you submit your print job, you also must submit an electronic Print Distribution Form, available from HRTM. The electronic form contains office addresses for all FHWA headquarters and field offices. For external distribution, an electronic Microsoft Excel document or self-adhesive mailing labels must be submitted with the communication product. See chapter 10 for additional details about publication distribution.

Product Development and Delivery

Use the following estimated times as a broad guideline for final HRTM communication product development and delivery:

  • Job is received—This means intake form is completed and approved and that all submission requirements are met.
  • First edit—14–30 days.
  • COTR review—30 days or less.
  • Second edit—14 days.
  • COTR review—14–30 days.
  • Third edit—7 days.
  • COTR review—14–30 days.
  • Layout/design—2–20 days.
  • Final quality review—7 days.
  • Printing—14–42 days (2 to 6 weeks depending on type of job).
  • Distribution—7–14 days.
  • Web files—7–28 days, depending on job and number of other jobs (this is done concurrently with printing).

NOTE: Layout and design can go through additional steps depending on approvals. This adds time and expense to jobs.

The Editing Process

All communication products are edited electronically (using track changes) for consistency and adherence to acceptable style, punctuation, and grammar. COTRs must make a special request for hard copy edits. Edits normally will include checking sections for basic problems, grammar, and GPO Style Manual adherence. The process also includes analyzing, changing text to read well, and checking for organizational problems within the document (removing or indicating repetitive information, ensuring parallelism in headings and text, etc).

There are many variables that can affect the time and expense of communication products. You can avoid delays by submitting final text that does not need major rewrites or changes; providing quality, high-resolution photography or artwork if necessary; and providing original drawings or illustrations at the beginning of the cycle. (When submitting electronic files especially for layout, please submit high-resolution files at dpi 300 or greater for printing purposes.) Other factors that might delay a project include your availability for reviews and responses to questions, and whether your communication product needs black-and-white, two-color, or four-color processing.

Responsibility for Corrections

The editor will provide a summary edit sheet that describes the edits in the document. In addition, the editor will contact the requestor before completing an edit if the job looks like it has major problems.

The COTR is responsible for reviewing all editorial changes and answering queries as requested by the editor. In the case of reports, the COTR who submitted the report or his/her contractor are responsible for reviewing all electronic edits or in the case of hard copy edits, reviewing and incorporating all changes into the document. This time should be built into a COTR's contract.

Expediting the Editing Process

You will save considerable time by submitting a final publication and 508 materials (explained in chapter 3) that already have gone through your peer/technical review process. Additionally, reviewing edited materials quickly after they have been edited by HRTM will expedite the process.

Frequently, publications can be edited and returned to the COTR more quickly than the estimated timeframe. However, the publication process also relies on how quickly you and your contractor make the corrections indicated by the editor, and return the communication product back to HRTM with a corrected hard copy, electronic copy (CD-ROM), and the original, marked-up document (when applicable).

Standard Proofreading Marks Used in Editorial Reviews

The following table provides a selection of the most commonly used proofreading marks. See the GPO Style Manual for a more complete list.

 

Table 1. Editing symbols and their meanings.

Symbol

Meaning

Symbol

Meaning

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should insert 1 en dash in the place marked on the document.

Insert 1 en dash

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should move up a letter, word, or phrase in the place marked on the document.

Move up

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should insert 1 em dash in the place marked on the document.

Insert 1 em dash

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should move down a letter, word, or phrase in the place marked on the document.

Move down

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should insert a space in the place marked on the document.

Insert space

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should center a letter, word, or phrase horizontally in the place marked on the document.

Center horizontally

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should spell out the word in the place marked on the document.

Spell out

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should change the wrong font of a letter, word, or phrase in the place marked on the document.

Change wrong font

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should italicize the indicated word in the place marked on the document when the symbol is used in the margin.

Italicize—used in margin

Symbol. Stet. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should leave the letter, word, or phrase alone in the place marked on the document as a correction when used within the text.

Let it stand—used in text

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should italicize the word in the place marked on the document when the symbol is used in the text.

Italicize—used in text

Symbol. Stet. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should leave the letter, word, or phrase alone in the place marked on the document as a correction when used within the margin instead of within the text.

Let it stand—used in margin

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should capitalize the word in the place marked on the document when this symbol is used in the margin

Capitalize—used in margin

Symbol. Caret. This hand-written editorial symbol indicates the position in a text that marks an error or where a correction should be placed when used within the text.

Caret—general indicator used to mark position of error

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should capitalize the word in the place marked on the document when the symbol is used in the text.

Capitalize—used in text

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should insert a paragraph in the place marked on the document.

Insert paragraph

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should delete a letter, word, or paragraph in the place marked on the document.

Delete

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should transpose a letter, word, or phrase either in front of or behind where the symbol indicates in the place marked on the document.

Transpose—used in text

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should delete a specific letter or number and close up the space between two letters or numbers in the place marked on the document.

Delete and close up space

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should superscript a letter, word, or phrase in the place marked on the document.

Superior

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should close up the space between two letters or numbers in the place marked on the document.

Close up

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should subscript a letter, word, or phrase in the place marked on the document.

Inferior

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should move a letter, word, or phrase to the right in the place marked on the document.

Move right

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should insert a period in the place marked on the document.

Insert period

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should move a letter, word, or phrase to the left in the place marked on the document.

Move left

Symbol. This hand-written editorial symbol means that a person should insert a comma in the place marked on the document.

Insert comma


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