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Re[2]: A structural engineering journal

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I believe that the usefulness of the papers in the ASCE STructural Journal 
has generally diminished from what it was a few decades ago. Up thru the 
1960's a larger percentage of the published papers I found understandable or 
even remotely useful compared to now. That's why ASCE started the "Practice 
Periodical on Structural Design and Construction" 5 years ago.  I'm not sure 
about this one (for opposite reasons), but at least it's devoid of fuzzy set 
theory or optimal design theory. On a related note, some years ago the Univ. 
of Pennsylvania dropped classical structural engineering from their civil 
program, as I understand-- please correct me where I'm wrong. The reason 
given was: "it's a mature branch of engineering and most of the major 
advancement work has already been done". Now, many of the civil curricula at 
U of P has the word "systems" attached. I don't agree with this reasoning, 
but when I see some of the titles in the Structural Journal, it does indeed 
look like researchers are hard up for new ideas that solve real world 
problems. An exception is the Calif. schools, obviously because of the 
earthquake problem, and research there does seem to be directed towards real 
needs and has for decades. 

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: A structural engineering journal
Author:  seaint(--nospam--at) at Internet 
Date:    11/18/2000 11:35 AM

Christopher is absolutely Wright! I have referred to a number of very old papers
as a starting point for some new designs, or to understand the theoretical 
background. Generally, practice is a couple of decades behind theoretical 

The evaluation of an academic is often based on the number of research papers 
published, and that is done by presenting partial results in each paper so that 
the number of papers published is more. That said, is it not as if you get no 
worthwhile info from all the papers. I am also not very impressed with the 
current papers. Another item that is lacking is the interaction between 
practicing engineers and academics. Academics are not interested in problems 
which cannot be funded for research or cannot become topics worth publishing. 
There is a conflict of interest.

I would presume that objective of ASCE in publishing different journals is to 
address the interests of different categories of people in the profession.

Institution of Civil Engineers (UK) used to have alternate issues devoted to 
theory and construction. AISC has different journals.

Some of the conference proceedings I have seen have a number of good, practical 
articles. I think practicing engineers should devote some time to put down their
experiences and feedbacks in the form of papers and submit to the right journal.

Live and let live?

M. Hariharan

Christopher Wright wrote:

> >As such, they are of some passing interest, but very little from a practical 
> >standpoint.
> The University of Minnesota has a collection of ASCE Transactions going 
> back almost 100 years. There is a lot of very useful information on
> structural dynamics and applied mechanics written between
> design-by-rule-of-thumb and computer-as-magical-black-box periods.
> There's some excellent material on bolted and welded moment connections, 
> dynamics and behavior of structural details like bracing that not only
> present results but sound physical explanations and (imagine!) numerical 
> examples. The same holds true for ASME Transactions. I use a lot of the 
> work as a starting point in conjunction with FEA solutions. Anyone who
> has a spare afternoon should park in a technical library somewhere and
> start paging through a couple of volumes of the Journal of the Structural 
> Division dating from the 50's and '60's--they're gold mines.
> That said, the literary quality of much of what currently passes for 
> engineering publications really is as dead as draftsmanship. Current 
> emphasis seems to be on presenting just enough of a smattering of
> research work so publication can be spread out over several journals and 
> conferences. The paper I'm looking at by John Archer on formulation of
> mass matrices (published in 1964) is an absolute jewel and a must read 
> for anyone doing dynamics problems with FEA.
> Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
> chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen. 
> ___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)