Royal Holloway University Of London

Guidance on preparation of a Mathematics Department Technical Report


The purpose of these notes is to describe how to transform a document into a Mathematics Department Technical Report. Before describing the procedure, there is a brief discussion of why one might wish to produce a technical report. The way in which technical reports are distributed and stored is also briefly described.

Why produce a technical report?

The main purpose of the Mathematics Department Technical Report series is to enable unpublished work of members of the department to be cited in a professional way. Inclusion in a technical report series should also enhance the appearance and standing of unpublished material. Technical Reports can be documents of a variety of different types, including those listed below (note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list).

  • Longer, more detailed versions of papers that are either published or submitted for publication.
  • Preliminary versions of material that is intended for publication at a later date (although Technical Reports should be in a reasonably stable state, and should certainly not appear incomplete).
  • Reports of experimental results that are not intended for publication, but which may be of value to the research community.
  • Details of software written to support research and/or teaching.
  • Reports on novel approaches to teaching mathematics.

Availability of technical reports

Once reports have been processed using the procedure described below, they will be assigned a number and made available here. This means that anyone wishing to access a report will be able to download and print it. This should mean that there will be minimal overhead in maintaining the set of technical reports.

Recommended citation style

The recommended style for citing a technical report is

Chris Mitchell and Walter Mitty, A simple proof of Fermat's last theorem, technical report RHUL-MA-2001-0 (Department of Mathematics, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2001),

The submission and approval procedure

It is assumed that whoever wishes to have a document made into a departmental technical report already has a mature draft of the document concerned. The following steps should be followed. Note that, bearing in mind step 5 below, authors are encouraged to prepare reports in the recommended format; this will facilitate the approval process.

  1. 1. A copy of theTechnical Report Approval Form should be printed out.
  2. 2. The first part of the Technical Report Approval Form, namely that part marked "To be completed prior to submission", should be completed and signed by all the authors.
  3. 3. The next step is to obtain the countersignatures of two members of staff. These two members of staff must sign to say that they have read the report, and that they believe it is of sufficient quality that it will not damage the reputation of the Royal Holloway Mathematics Department. If one of the authors is a member of staff then they may provide the first countersignature; however the second counter-signer should normally be a member of staff not directly linked to the report.
  4. 4. Once the two countersignatures have been obtained, the form should be returned to the webmaster, who will assign the report a unique number.
  5. 5. One of the report authors should then reformat the paper according to technical guidelines (see below). This reformatting will result in a report with a front page that includes the report number assigned in the previous step.
  6. 6. One of the report authors should submit the final report in the form described below, together with the completed approval form, to the webmaster, who will make the report available via the website.

Technical guidelines

It is recommended that technical reports are formatted in LaTeX using the template template.tex. To include the Royal Holloway logo, the file RHUL_logo_2009.eps must also be downloaded. The report should be submitted in postscript and/or pdf format. In addition, a plain text or html file containing only the abstract should be submitted.

If you've produced the first page by latexing the file template.tex, you need to merge the resulting pdf with the technical report itself (called report.pdf, say). Linux users can install the package pdftk, then run the command pdftk template.pdf report.pdf cat output MA-2001-01.pdf. The package pdftk is also available for Windows. However, if you have Acrobat Distiller you can merge files by viewing report.pdf, and then selecting Document>Insert Pages from the menu.

Revisions to reports

If, at any time, it is necessary to issue a revised version of a report, then the above process should be repeated for the revised text. Normally, old versions will not be removed from the website. New versions will be labeled by appending a version number to the original report number (e.g., RHUL-MA-2001-0-v2).