Technical report

A technical report (also scientific report) is a document that describes the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem.[1][2] It might also include recommendations and conclusions of the research. Unlike other scientific literature, such as scientific journals and the proceedings of some academic conferences, technical reports rarely undergo comprehensive independent peer review before publication. They may be considered as grey literature. Where there is a review process, it is often limited to within the originating organization. Similarly, there are no formal publishing procedures for such reports, except where established locally.


Technical reports are today a major source of scientific and technical information. They are prepared for internal or wider distribution by many organizations, most of which lack the extensive editing and printing facilities of commercial publishers.

Technical reports are often prepared for sponsors of research projects. Another case where a technical report may be produced is when more information is produced for an academic paper than is acceptable or feasible to publish in a peer-reviewed publication; examples of this include in-depth experimental details, additional results, or the architecture of a computer model. Researchers may also publish work in early form as a technical report to establish novelty, without having to wait for the often long production schedules of academic journals. Technical reports are considered "non-archival" publications, and so are free to be published elsewhere in peer-reviewed venues with or without modification.

Production guidelines


Technical reports are now commonly published electronically, whether on the Internet or on the originating organization's intranet.

Many organizations collect their technical reports into a formal series. Reports are then assigned an identifier (report number, volume number) and share a common cover-page layout. The entire series might be uniquely identified by an ISSN.

A registration scheme for a globally unique International Standard Technical Report Number (ISRN) was standardized in 1994 (ISO 10444), but was never implemented in practice. ISO finally withdrew this standard in December 2007.[4] It aimed to be an international extension of a report identifier scheme used by U.S. government agencies (ANSI/NISO Z39.23).[5]

See also


  1. International standard ISO 5966:1982, Documentation — Presentation of scientific and technical reports, International Organization for Standardization, (withdrawn in October 2000)
  2. Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly, The Elements of Technical Writing, pg. 119. New York: Macmillan Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0020130856
  3. Paola De Castro, Sandra Salinetti, et al.: Guidelines for the production of scientific and technical reports: how to write and distribute grey literature, Version 1.0, Grey Literature International Steering Committee, March 2006
  4. International standard ISO 10444:1994, Information and documentation — International standard technical report number (ISRN), (withdrawn December 2007)
  5. American standard ANSI/NISO Z39.23 Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Standard technical report number format and creation
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