Frequently Asked Questions - Authors

Click on the different topics for more information

How does the peer-review process work?
SPE uses an online peer-review system for manuscript submission, review, and tracking through to a final editorial decision. The system speeds the review process by linking authors, reviewers, and SPE staff into one workspace and offers authors and reviewers instant access to manuscript information. When you submit a paper for peer review, the journal’s Executive Editor and Associate Editors will identify technical reviewers for your paper, who will evaluate the extent to which it meets the criteria for publication and provide constructive feedback on how you could improve it. We may ask you to make some revisions based on the comments of the reviewers. Reviewers come from different professional backgrounds and from all levels of industry and academia.

Why is peer review important?
Publishing a technical paper in one of SPE’s peer-reviewed journals adds to your professional reputation and is recognition that your paper has made a significant contribution to our industry’s future. Employers benefit, too—your company’s innovations will be on display for all to see, potentially attracting customers. Publishing gives you global exposure within the industry, and can result in your work being referenced by others. As you publish, your reputation and your profile within the industry will grow. Once published in an SPE journal, your paper will have perpetual exposure in OnePetro, the industry’s largest multisociety online library of technical papers in the world. Currently, there are more than 200,000 technical documents and papers in OnePetro, with contributions from 21 publishing partners.

How can I determine if my paper is a good candidate for peer review?
View the section "Is my paper a good candidate for peer review?" in step 1 of the peer review page to see if your paper is a good candidate.

How do I submit my paper for peer review?
View the Author Peer Review Submission Instructions for step-by-step instructions on how to submit to peer review, or watch a video summarizing the process (step 3 on the peer review page).

Can I still submit a paper to peer review if I am not submitting it to a conference?
SPE welcomes papers submitted directly for peer review. Prepare the paper for submission, then upload it to the online submission system for the journal you selected. You must also submit a Temporary Transfer of Copyright. For more information, view our step-by-step tutorial on how to submit your paper.

How can I check the status of my paper once it’s submitted to a journal for peer review?
You may monitor the status of your paper through your Author Center on ScholarOne or request an update by emailing

How can I become a technical reviewer for SPE’s journals?
If you are interested in serving as a technical reviewer, please complete the reviewer application; please note that there are several requirements for serving as a reviewer. The Editorial Review Committee includes the Executive Editors and Associate Editors of each journal, who oversee the review process for submitted manuscripts; they will select reviewers from a pool of more than 2,500 people worldwide. Reviewers come from different professional backgrounds and from all levels of industry and academia. SPE recognizes outstanding reviewer efforts through our annual Technical Editor and A Peer Apart awards.

How many journals does SPE publish, and what subjects do they cover?
SPE journals cover a variety of topics. View the SPE Journal Coverage Areas in step 2 of the peer-review process to select the most appropriate journal for your paper.

How long does it take for a paper to be peer reviewed and published?
Typically, it takes 60–90 days for a paper's decision to be rendered to the author; because SPE's Editorial Review Committee is comprised of volunteers, there may be occasions when a paper's review phase may exceed our preferred timeframe. We make every effort to ensure that our process is timely and that each paper receives a thorough and fair evaluation.

Which file formats are acceptable for journal submissions?
PDF and Office 2007 or later files (e.g., docx) are acceptable file formats. We ask our TeX/LaTeX users to submit their manuscript in PDF format. We can receive your print-ready TeX/LaTeX package at the revisions stage.

Do SPE Journals have a paper length limit?
SPE does have a length limit for papers submitted to a peer-reviewed journal (starting 1 October 2021). Technical papers should be no more than 10,000 words, including the abstract, main text, tables, figure captions, and appendices (but not including the title, affiliations, acknowledgments, nomenclature, or references). In addition, a maximum of 20 figures that are sized half-page or smaller (full-page figures will be counted as two figures) will be allowed. We encourage authors to run a word count check before submission to avoid processing delays. Papers that exceed the length limit will be returned by SPE staff with a request to shorten the manuscript before the paper will be submitted for peer review. We also encourage authors to use the Supplementary Materials template (available in Author Resources) for additional data, figures, and tables that support the main paper. Supplements submitted with the paper for review will be later published with the accepted paper. Review Papers do not have a length limit.

I’ve written a paper and would like to submit it to a journal, but it hasn’t been presented at a conference.
SPE welcomes papers submitted directly for peer review. Prepare the paper for submission, then upload it to the online submission system for the journal you selected. You must also submit a Temporary Transfer of Copyright. For more information, view our step-by-step tutorial on how to submit your paper.

Are SPE’s journals available in printed format?
SPE's peer-reviewed journals are available exclusively in digital format through OnePetro, the industry’s largest multisociety online library. For the low cost of USD 45 to 95 per year, subscribers can have access to the latest journal papers published, as well as the complete journal archive.

How can I obtain a printed copy of my published paper?
Because SPE has moved to online-only publication, we can no longer provide printed copies of your published paper; however, we can provide a PDF version upon request. If your paper was published before 2014, you may request a printed copy of your published paper by emailing

How do I subscribe to an SPE journal?
To subscribe to an SPE journal, visit our publications subscription page. Subscription rates range from USD 45 to 95 for SPE members, and USD 115 to 245 for nonmembers.

What types of books does SPE offer, and where can I find them?
SPE offers many types of books written by and for our members. To view a complete list of available titles, please visit the SPE Bookstore.

Does SPE offer digital versions of its books?
Yes. All SPE books are available in print, with most titles also available in digital format. Please visit the SPE Bookstore to see which books are available digitally.

Do I have to be an SPE member to submit an abstract?
No, anyone may submit an abstract for an SPE conference. We do, however, encourage you to join SPE for many reasons.

What information are you looking for in an abstract?
An abstract should demonstrate that your paper will:

  1. Contribute technically sound knowledge in a particular area of petroleum technology.
  2. Present new/novel knowledge or experience that has not been published previously.
  3. Not be commercial in nature and will not promote specific companies, products, or services.

The abstract should include the following factual highlights:

  1. Objectives/Scope
  2. Methods, Procedures, Process
  3. Results, Observations, Conclusions
  4. Novel/Additive Information

Is there a word limit for abstracts?
The suggested limit of 225-450 words should not be constraining if the paper proposal is limited to the defined factual highlights.

In what languages can I submit my abstract?
English is the official language for SPE conferences and publications.

When does the submission system close?
The online submission system will always close at 11:59 p.m. US Central Time on the stated deadline date.

Did you receive my abstract submission? Where is my confirmation of abstract submission?
The online manuscript system does not send an automated email confirmation. Upon finalizing a submission, you will see a summary page. At the bottom of the screen, you are given the option of sending a confirmation email to yourself (and/or the co-authors). You may also print the summary page for your records.

How do I get a copy of my abstract submission?
Upon finalizing your submission, you will see a summary page that includes the submitted abstract. You can print this page for your records using the link at the bottom of the screen.

What is the status of my abstract?
SPE will notify each Presenting Author of the status (accepted or declined) of their abstract after the program committee has completed the review and rating period and made their program selections.

Can I change my abstract? Can I change/add/remove author name(s)?
Once you have finalized and submitted your abstract, the committee has immediate access to begin the review process. For this reason, an abstract cannot be changed after submission. If you need to make a change to the author list or a slight change to the title, you can do so during the manuscript submission stage. If you need to change the presenting author, you will need to email the Program Lead for that conference.

Can I include a figure or photo in my abstract?
Yes, you can upload a figure, table, or an image by clicking on the appropriate link during the sixth step of the abstract submission process.

Can I withdraw my abstract after I have submitted it?
Yes, please email the Program Lead for the conference to ask that your abstract be removed from consideration.

Can I submit my abstract to multiple conferences at the same time?
No, per the SPE Conference Dual Submission Policy, authors are allowed to submit the same abstract to only one conference at a time.

Where can I find my SPE manuscript number?
If your abstract is accepted, the acceptance notification will contain your six-digit (SPE) or five-digit (OTC and IPTC) manuscript number (example: SPE-123456-MS or OTC-12345-MS).

What is the difference between control number and manuscript number? Which do I use on the manuscript?
The control number is the unique identifier initially assigned to the submitted abstract. If accepted, the abstract is assigned an official manuscript number for publication; that number should be used in all communications regarding the manuscript and on the manuscript itself.

Is there a word or page limit for manuscripts?
SPE does not have a page or word limit for manuscripts, but the average manuscript length is 8-12 pages (including figures and tables).

What is the No Paper, No Podium Policy?
SPE meetings have a No Paper, No Podium policy. If an abstract is accepted to a conference, the author is required to submit a manuscript by the deadline date. If a manuscript is not submitted, the manuscript will be withdrawn from the program, and the author will not be allowed to present at the conference.

Can I change my manuscript title and/or authors?
Yes; the manuscript title and author block can be edited during the manuscript upload process.

Can I change the version of the abstract in the manuscript?
Yes; the revision must summarize the manuscript, stating significant new information and conclusions. However, if the abstract and/or the content of the manuscript differ significantly from the original abstract submission (which was reviewed and accepted by the program committee), the committee has the right to withdraw your manuscript from the program.

Can I list two companies/organizations in the author block? My company has changed; which company should I list on the manuscript?
Only one company should be listed in the author block. If you have changed companies during the course of writing the manuscript, you should list the company in which the scope of the work was done. If you need to list a second/new company for legal reasons, place an asterisk by the company name in the author block, then place a footnote at the bottom of the front page listing the other company (example: *formerly with John Doe Consulting).

Do I include a biography in the manuscript?
No biography is needed for technical manuscript presenters.

Should my manuscript be one column or two?
Manuscripts should be submitted using the SPE template provided in the Author Kit and in a single-column format.

How/where should I place my figures and tables?
You can place your figures, tables, and photos within the document (next to the citation within the text). For more details, reference the Preparing Your Technical Paper instructions.

How and where do I list my references?
References should be listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name at the bottom of the manuscript. Cite references within the text by placing the author's name and year in parentheses. For more details, reference the Preparing Your Technical Paper instructions.

Can I use company names and/or trade names in my manuscript?
No; material of a commercial nature is unacceptable in an SPE technical manuscript. Generic descriptions should replace trade and company names.

In what languages can I submit my manuscript?
English is the official language for SPE conferences and publications.

What is the Author Kit?
The Author Kit is an online resource for all authors. It provides all presenting authors with deadline dates, forms, templates and manuscript and peer-review information. Each conference has its own specific Author Kit.

Where can I find the Author Kit?
The link to the Author Kit can be found in the acceptance notification and manuscript upload notification, sent via email from the Program Lead.

Where can I find the Transfer of Copyright (TOC) form or Paper Information Form (PIF)?
All required forms can be found in the Author Kit. Each conference has its own specific Author Kit, so be sure to use the appropriate forms.

In what format should I submit my manuscript?
The manuscript should be submitted using the Microsoft Word template provided in the Author Kit.

Where can I find the manuscript template?
The SPE manuscript template is provided in the Author Kit.

Can I use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word?
Authors may use the Track Changes feature in Word during their editing/review process, but all edits should be accepted and Track Changes should be turned off before uploading the file into the online system.

How/where do I upload my manuscript and/or forms?
Manuscripts and forms should be uploaded into the online system using the link provided to the presenting (corresponding) author, sent via email by the Program Lead. Each manuscript has a unique upload link, so always look for the most recent communication from the Program Lead for the most up-to-date links and information.

Can I revise my manuscript after I have uploaded it to the system? Can I upload a draft of my manuscript now and revise it later?
When you upload your manuscript (and forms), it should be the FINAL version, as there will not be an opportunity to revise any documents after you have completed the upload process. For more details, please reference the Conference Manuscript Policies.

The system will not allow me to upload all my forms – how do I proceed?
The online manuscript system is configured to allow for one Manuscript file, one Paper Information Form file, and up to five Transfer of Copyright Form files. If you have more than five copyright forms, you will need to email the additional forms to the Program Lead by the stated deadline date.

Why do I have to sign a transfer of copyright?
SPE requires transfer of copyright for all our publications, including conference proceedings. This allows us to distribute publications throughout the world by print and electronic means, to create translations, and to reuse them in reprint collections. For more details on copyright and author/company rights, refer to the SPE Copyright Requirements.

Who is authorized to sign the Transfer of Copyright form?
The author, a manager, an officer, or a legal representative may sign the copyright form. For jointly authored manuscripts, each author should sign a separate form. However, one author may sign as authorized agent for the others.

Can my coauthor upload the manuscript? How?
Only the presenting (corresponding) author can upload the manuscript, as each manuscript has a unique link associated to the presenting (corresponding) author for uploading purposes. If a coauthor wishes to upload the manuscript, then the authors need to contact the Program Lead to change the coauthor to presenting author, and a new upload link will be sent.

Can I withdraw my manuscript after I have submitted it? How do I do so?
Yes; the author must email the Program Lead with their SPE manuscript number and the reason for withdrawal.  

When is my manuscript due?
The manuscript deadline date for each conference is stated in the acceptance notification sent to the presenting (corresponding) author, as well as in the Author Kit.

I am waiting on company/coauthor approvals. Can I get an extension on my manuscript?
Extensions to the manuscript submission date are rarely granted and are handled on a case-by-case basis. If an extension is granted, it is usually given only for extenuating circumstances (such as legal reasons or erroneous data) and only for a few days. Authors are advised to begin obtaining the necessary company/partner approvals as soon as notice of acceptance is received.

Why is my manuscript due to SPE so early?
While SPE does their best to set the submission deadline as far out as possible, there are hard deadlines we have to adhere to in order to process the papers into the final PDFs for mastering of the conference proceedings.  In order have the conference proceedings available onsite and the papers available on OnePetro on the first day of the conference, tight deadlines are required.

Did you get my manuscript? Where is my confirmation of manuscript submission?
After you have finalized your manuscript upload, you will receive a summary page. You will need to print this summary page for your records, an automated email confirmation is not sent from the system.   

When does the manuscript upload link/system close?
The online manuscript system will always close at 11:59 p.m. US Central Time on the stated deadline date.

When will my manuscript be available in OnePetro?
Conference manuscripts presented at a conference are available from the multisociety online library OnePetro on the first day of the conference.

How is an Alternate/ePoster upgraded to a Technical Session presentation?
Alternates are moved up into the associated technical session in the event of a withdrawal or no-show onsite.

Can I submit my conference manuscript for peer review/journal publication? How do I do so?
After you have finalized your manuscript upload, you will receive a summary page. On the bottom of this summary page, there is a link to allow you to submit your manuscript for peer review or possible journal publication. This link is also available in the Author Kit as well as on the Peer-Review webpage.

Can I publish/present my manuscript again?
Per the SPE Conference Dual Submission policy, a manuscript previously presented at a conference and published in OnePetro may not be resubmitted for publication at another SPE conference. The author may present the subject matter at subsequent conferences at the invitation of the program committee, but the manuscript will not be included in the conference proceedings.

I’ve submitted my manuscript and made changes to my title/author block, but the website does not match what I submitted. When will it be updated?
Title and author changes made in the system are not automatically displayed on the website. Updates will be made when the content is published to the website.

Does SPE check conference papers for plagiarism?
Yes. In an effort to further improve SPE’s technical quality standards, we will be implementing a plagiarism check on all conference papers. The new procedure includes a two-fold plagiarism check during the submission process. The first step provides the author with a one-time, complimentary check prior to submission. A link to a plagiarism report will be provided, allowing any flagged issues to be rectified prior the final submission.

Upon final submission, all papers will automatically be run through a plagiarism check. Any paper flagged for plagiarism will be evaluated by SPE’s Technical Quality Manager. If there is a finding of overt plagiarism, the paper will be pulled from the program and reviewed by the Code of Conduct Review committee. Plagiarism offenses may result in suspension or loss of membership to SPE. We are dedicated to the continual improvement of SPE’s technical quality and ask for your support with this process.

How much time do I have to present?
Presentation times vary from conference to conference. This information is provided to you in the notification sent via email from the Conference Lead.

In which languages can I submit and/or make my presentation?
English is the official language for SPE conferences and publications. However, some conferences offer the option of presenting in another language, and translators are provided. In these cases, this option is stated in the author instructions and materials.

Where can I find the presentation template?
A PowerPoint template is available in the Author Kit for each conference. Each conference has its own specific Author Kit, so be sure to use the appropriate template.

Do I have to use the presentation template? My company insists that we use the company presentation template – what should I do?
You are required to use the SPE template for the first and last slides of your presentation. Templates with company logos are prohibited.

Can I use an embedded video in my presentation?
Yes, you can use embedded video in your presentation. We ask that you test your presentation in the Speaker Ready Room prior to your presentation to ensure that everything is working properly.

Can I change the fonts or colors?
Yes, you can change the fonts and font colors within the presentation template.

What is a Knowledge Sharing ePoster presentation? How is it different from a regular poster board?
A Knowledge Sharing ePoster is an electronic version of a traditional poster presented on a flat-screen monitor. It offers the added benefit of animation, audio, and video and enhances the visual experience to provide greater interactivity between the attendee and the author.

Is it necessary to submit a manuscript for a Knowledge Sharing ePoster/Poster presentation?
Yes, an ePoster presenter must submit a manuscript for inclusion on the proceedings and OnePetro.

As an Author/Speaker, do I need to register for the conference?
Yes, you must register for the conference. SPE offers a discounted Presenting Author rate.

Does SPE offer speaker funding/reimbursement?
No funding is available for presenting authors or speakers. However, we do provide presenting authors with a discounted rate. All technical session speakers must register for the conference at the Presenting Author rate.