Trade journal publishers provide scholarly publications from professional organizations and trade associations. Generally, these technical publications report the latest research and development (R&D) in a discipline such as mechanical, electrical, or biomechanical engineering. Papers are presented as manuscripts to a scholarly panel, or are submitted for peer review. Contributing members of the organization must write their articles in accordance with published trade association guidelines. The scholarly panel that reviews articles often tests the theory that is presented and decides whether the material is suitable for publication. Some trade journals have a rejection rate close to 90%, a testament to their intellectual rigor.
Trade journals differ in terms of scope and purpose. They follow a specific citation format and may be abstracted or indexed in reviews, databases, and other technical publications. Periodically, the editors of trade journals issue a call for papers. Potential authors respond by writing to an address in the print edition, or by submitting documents online. Author resources may include separate standards for submitting initial, revised, and final documents. Compliance with ethical standards, editorial guidelines, and style guides is required. With Web-based submissions, the author may need to create an account and upload files in a specific format, such as .eps or .pdf.
Types of Articles Published
Trade journals publish several different types of articles. These include research papers, technical briefs, and design innovation papers. Research papers are lengthy, technically-original documents that present major findings and undergo a full peer review. Technical briefs, technical notes or brief notes must also undergo a full peer review, but are more limited in scope. Like research papers and technical papers, design innovation papers have archival value. Design innovation papers, however, do not require unique theoretical or experimental development analysis. Rather, these types of papers for trade journals present the technological implications of innovative designs.
Types of articles for trade journals include discussions, closures, editorials and guest editorials, book reviews, technology reviews, announcements, and errata. Discussions are short articles that address the data or results from a published research paper. Closures are responses from lead authors and co-authors whose papers are the subject of these published discussions. Editorials are columns written by journal editors, usually about the contents of a specific edition. Guest editorials are published at the invitation of the editorial review board, typically about a specific topic. Trade journals also include book reviews, technology reviews, and trade association announcements. Errata are published to correct errors of a technical and not a typographic nature.