Detailed Information About Preparing Research Articles
Submit your Research Article to Science Robotics as a Microsoft Word .docx (preferred) or .doc or PDF file.
If you are using LaTeX, please convert your paper into a Word .docx.
If this is not possible, please use our LaTeX template and guidelines (available here) and upload a PDF version of your paper. Some conversion approaches are available here: http://www.tug.org/utilities/texconv/textopc.html
*We cannot accept LaTeX files for new submissions.*
*We can only accept LaTeX as a revised submission.*
When possible, use our Word template (for Research Articles), which will facilitate accurate preparation and processing.
Research Articles can be up to 8000 words (not including references) in length and may have up to 8 figures/tables; the body text must include the sections in the list below. Please do not use paragraph breaks in the title, author list, or abstract.
Authors and their affiliations
Materials and Methods
Figures and tables
We strongly encourage authors to download and use our template.
Format for Research Articles
Please follow these guidelines in formatting your manuscript and numbering and providing captions for your figures, tables, and other materials.
Please provide both a long and a short title for your paper.
Full titles can be a maximum of 100 characters; short titles can be a maximum of 40 characters.
Authors should be listed in order of contribution to the paper by first name or initial, then middle initial (if any), followed by last name. Author names should be separated by commas. The author list should be one single paragraph with no line breaks. See our manuscript template for formatting and our Editorial Policies for more information on requirements for authorship.
Author-affiliated institutions should be listed and linked by superscript numbers, as shown in the manuscript template.
The abstract should be a single paragraph, not to exceed 250 words and ideally closer to 200, written in plain language that a general reader can understand. It should include
- An opening sentence that states the question/problem addressed by the research AND
- Enough background content to give context to the study AND
- A brief statement of primary results AND
- A short concluding sentence.
Do not include citations or undefined abbreviations in the abstract. Any abbreviations that appear in the title should be defined in the abstract.
One-sentence summaries (containing no more than 125 characters and spaces) capturing the most important point should be submitted for all papers.
The manuscript should start with a brief introduction that lays out the problem addressed by the research and describes the paper’s importance. The scientific question being investigated should be described in detail. The introduction should provide sufficient background information to make the article understandable to readers in other disciplines and provide enough context to ensure that the implications of the experimental findings are clear.
The results should describe the experiments performed and the findings observed. The Results section should be divided into subsections to delineate different experimental themes. Subheadings should either be all phrases or all complete sentences. They should be brief, ideally less than 10 words. Subheadings should not end in a period. Your paper may have as many subheadings as are necessary.
All data must be shown either in the Results section of the main text or in the Supplementary Materials. No data should be presented for the first time in the Discussion. Data (such as from materials tests or simulation results) should be appropriately quantified.
Figures and tables must be cited in numerical order. For example, the first mention of any panel of Fig. 3 cannot precede the first mention of all panels of Fig. 2. The supplementary figures (for example, fig. S1) and tables (table S1) must also be called out in numerical order.
Display equations (set on their own line) can be included. Do not use the native Word 2007, 2008, 2010, or 2011 equation editor, because they can produce inaccurate MathML, the online markup language we use, which may result in display errors. Instead, use MathType or simple LaTeX equations. The same guidelines apply to mathematical expressions within a sentence of text.
All data must be shown; references to “unpublished results” or “data not shown” are not permitted.
The discussion describes the conclusions that can be drawn from the results, as well as the significance and implications of the research. A paragraph discussing the limitations of the study should be included and any issues that will need to be addressed before application to animal, human, or environmental health should also be described. Proprietary claims are not allowed in Science Robotics Research Articles.
Materials and Methods
The materials and methods section should provide sufficient information to allow replication of the results. Begin with a section describing the objectives and design of the study as well as prespecified components.
In addition, include a section (when appropriate) that fully describes the statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the results. The values for N, P, and the specific statistical test performed for each experiment should be included in the appropriate figure legend or main text.
In text references should be cited in parentheses with an italic number (1). Multiple reference citations are separated by commas (2, 3) or, if citing more than two consecutive references, by an en dash (4–6).
The reference list should be in the order in which references are cited, first through the text, then through the figure and table legends, and finally through the Supplementary Materials. List each reference only once. Each reference should have a unique number. Do not use op. cit., ibid., or et al. See below for details of citation style.
Acknowledgments should be gathered into a paragraph after the final numbered reference. This section should also include complete funding information, a description of each author's contribution to the paper, a listing of any competing interests of any of the authors (all authors must also fill out the Conflict of Interest form), and a section on data and materials availability (information about the location of the data if not included in the paper, including accession numbers to any data relating to the paper and deposited in a public database).
Figure legends (i.e., captions) should be double-spaced in numerical order and included in the text file immediately after each figure. Each figure caption should start with a short boldface title beginning with (for example) Fig. 1. No single caption should be longer than about 200 words. Nomenclature, abbreviations, symbols, and units used in a figure caption (and in the figure itself) should match those used in the text. Individual figure panels are in boldface when first mentioned in a caption: (A), (B), etc.
Figures should be cited within the text. Figures should be numbered in the order of their citation in the text. They should be included in the main text file as part of a new online submission but submitted as separate files at the revision stage. See below for detailed instructions on preparation of and preferred formats for your figures.
Tables should supplement, not duplicate, the text. They should be cited within the text and numbered in the order of their citation in the text. Each table should be preceded by a caption that starts with a short boldface title beginning with (for example) Table 1. Every vertical column should have a heading, followed by a unit of measure (if any) in parentheses. Units should not change within a column. Centered headings of the body of the table can be used to break the entries into groups. Footnotes should contain information relevant to specific cells of the table; use the following symbols in order, as needed:*, †, ‡, §, ǁ, ¶, #, **, ††, etc. (Don’t use footnotes in column heads; include any such details in sentence form in the table caption.)
Supplementary Materials (SM) can be various types of auxiliary information of use to readers, including material not presentable in a text format. We encourage authors to provide original data in SM. We can host supplementary figures and legends, detailed materials and methods, video files, audio files, original data files, source code, and large data sets.
All SM elements should be accompanied by a brief text description, similar to a caption. The first sentence of this caption should be a title, and the titles of the SM items should be listed immediately after the References section. The SM should not be essential to the general understanding of the research presented in the main text of the paper. See below for more information about preferred file formats and file sizes.
Experimental Design and Statistics Guidelines
Science family journals have a strict guideline on experimental design and statistical analysis. Please refer to the following page for further details: http://www.sciencemag.org/authors/science-editorial-policies.
Preparation of Figures
Creating your figures
It is best to create your figures as vector-based files such as those produced by Adobe Illustrator. Vector-based files will give us maximum flexibility for sizing your figures properly without losing resolution. Although we do not need the highest-resolution files for the initial submission, you will need to have these high-resolution files of your figures on hand so that they can be submitted with your revised manuscript for final publication. These figure files can be saved at a lower resolution to minimize the file size at initial submission.
Figure layout and scaling
Electronic figures should be sized to fit on single 8.5-inch × 11-inch or A4 paper, preferably at 3.5, 5.0, or 7.3 inches wide (corresponding to 1, 1.5, or 2 columns of text). In laying out information in a figure, the objective is to maximize the space given to presentation of the data. Avoid wasted white space and clutter.
Please follow these guidelines for your figures.
The figure’s title should be at the beginning of the figure caption, not within the figure itself.
Include the figure’s identifying number (e.g., “Fig. 1”) on the same manuscript page that includes the figure.
Keys to symbols, if needed, should be kept as simple as possible and be positioned so they do not needlessly enlarge the figure. Details can be put into the figure caption.
Use solid symbols for plotting data if possible (unless data overlap or there are multiple symbols). For legibility when figures are reduced, symbol sizes should be a minimum of 6 points, and line widths should be a minimum of 0.5 points.
Panels should be set close to each other, and common axis labels should not be repeated.
Scales or axes should not extend beyond the range of the data plotted. All microscopic images should include scale bars, with their values shown either with the bar or in the figure caption. Do not use minor tick marks in scales or grid lines. Avoid using y-axis labels on the right that repeat those on the left.
Color-mix and contrast considerations
Avoid using red and green together. Color-blind individuals will not be able to read the figure.
Do not use colors that are close to each other in hue to identify different parts of a figure.
Avoid using grayscale.
Use white type and scale bars over darker areas of images.
Typefaces and labels
Please observe the following guidelines for labels on graphs and figures:
Use a sans-serif font whenever possible (we prefer Myriad).
Simple solid or open symbols reduce well.
Label graphs on the ordinate and abscissa with the parameter or variable being measured, the units of measure in parentheses, and the scale. Scales with large or small numbers should be presented as powers of 10. (When an individual value must be presented as an exponential, use correct form: 6 × 10–3, not 6e-03.)
Avoid the use of light lines and screen shading. Instead, use black-and-white, hatched, and cross-hatched designs for emphasis.
Capitalize the first letter in a label only, not every word (and proper nouns, of course).
Units should be included in parentheses. Use SI notation. If there is room, write out variables—e.g., Pressure (MPa), Temperature (K).
Variables are always set in italics or as plain Greek letters (e.g., P,T, μ). Vectors should be set as roman boldface (rather than as italics with arrows above).
Type on top of color in a color figure should be in boldface. Avoid using color type.
When figures are assembled from multiple gels or micrographs, use a line or space to indicate the border between two original images.
Use leading zeros on all decimals—e.g., 0.3, 0.55—and only report significant digits.
Use capital letters for part labels in multipart figures – A, B, C, etc. These should be 9 point and bold in the final figure. When possible, place part labels at the upper left corner of each figure part; if a part is an image, set labels inside the perimeter so as not to waste space.
Subpart labels within a figure part are not recommended. If use of subpart labels is unavoidable, use lowercase letters (a, b, c); roman numerals (i, ii, iii); or prime marks (C, Cʹ, Cʺ). Use numbers (1, 2, 3) only to represent a time sequence of images.
When reproducing images that include labels with illegible computer-generated type (e.g., units for scale bars), omit such labels and present the information in the caption instead.
Modification of figures
Science Robotics does not allow certain electronic enhancements or manipulations of digital images. Figures assembled from multiple photographs or images must indicate the separate parts with lines between them. Linear adjustment of contrast, brightness, or color must be applied to an entire image or plate equally. Nonlinear adjustments must be specified in the figure legend. Selective enhancement or alteration of one part of an image is not acceptable. In addition, Science Robotics may ask authors of papers returned for revision to provide additional documentation of their primary data.
Saving your figures files for initial submission
To keep file sizes small, please save your figures at a resolution 300 dots per inch (dpi) for initial submission. (A higher resolution and a different suite of acceptable file formats applies for revised figures submitted after peer review.) Note that we cannot accept PowerPoint files or files that are not readable by Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Freehand, or Adobe Illustrator. In some cases, higher-resolution files are necessary to properly represent data (for example, micrographs or immunocytochemistry). Contact us for further information at email@example.com
Acceptable file formats
We prefer that the initial submission be uploaded to our electronic submission site as a Word file that contains all components of the paper. Create a single file (see above for correct order) consisting of the text, references, figures and their captions, tables and their captions, and Supplementary Materials. You can also submit Supplementary Materials text as a separate file.
Alternatively, you may upload your manuscript as one file that contains all of the textual material plus separate figure files (one for each figure) and separate Supplementary Material files. The text file should be a Word .docx (preferred) or .doc file.
Please use zipped files when necessary to upload unusually large supplementary files.
See the above instructions for creating your original figures. For initial submission, the figure files should be incorporated into the main text .doc or .docx file if possible. If not, they can be uploaded separately. The following formats are acceptable: .pdf, .eps, .ai, .psd, .tif, .pict, and .gif. Figures prepared in PowerPoint are not allowed.
Text and figures. Include supporting text (including supplementary materials and methods, tables, and figures) at the end of the main manuscript file, in a separate section titled Supplementary Materials, if this can be easily done. Alternatively, Supplementary Materials can be included as a separate file that can be uploaded. In that case, use one of the file types specified above (.doc, .docx, or .pdf).
Video files. Acceptable formats for videos are Quicktime (h264 compression preferred), MPEG, and Flash. Keep videos short and the display window small to minimize the file size of the video. Supply caption information with the videos. Edit longer sequences into several small pieces with captions specific to each video sequence.
Audio files. For audio files WAV, AIFF, or AU formats are accepted. Please contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding submission of such file types.
Submission of Your Research Article
All Research Articles should be submitted through the Science Manuscript Submission & Information Portal website (http://cts.sciencemag.org).
The following items are required for submission:
Cover letter, which should contain:
- The title of the paper and a statement of its main point.
- Any information needed to ensure a fair review process, including related manuscripts submitted to other journals.
- Names of colleagues who have reviewed the paper.
- A statement that none of the material has been published or is under consideration elsewhere, including the Internet.
- Names, telephone numbers, and email addresses for all authors, including selection of one to be corresponding author.
- Names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of five potential referees.
- Any suggested cover illustrations.
Copies of any paper by you or your co-authors that is in press or under consideration elsewhere that relates to the work submitted to Science Robotics, or of any paper that is cited in your paper as in press. These materials should be sent as attached PDF files in an email to email@example.com with the submission ID of your main manuscript upload included for reference.
Written permission from any author who is not an author of your manuscript but whose work is cited as a personal communication or in press. Permission must allow distribution of in-press manuscripts or relevant data to reviewers or any interested reader upon publication. A copy of an e-mail is sufficient.
Note: We do not allow citations to in-press manuscripts at publication—these would need to be replaced by the published references.
Within the paper, include:
- For investigations on humans, a statement indicating that informed consent was obtained after the nature and possible consequences of the studies were explained
- For authors using experimental animals, a statement that the animals’ care was in accordance with institutional guidelines
- A one-sentence summary of your paper
- An Abstract that does not include any reference citations
- Definitions of all symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms
- Legends for all figures and tables
- All data (no use of “data not shown”; no citations of unpublished results)
- Descriptions of all statistical tests
- Complete references. Each citation should include all authors (do not use et al.), full article title, journal title, journal volume, year of publication, and first and last page. In place of first page number, use article number for journals that do not use page number ranges (e.g., AGU journals). If an article has been published online only, supply the DOI instead of volume and page numbers. For a source published only in conference proceedings, supply a URL.
Science Robotics uses a complete citation format that includes all authors, full titles of journal articles, the journal abbreviation, the volume, the first and last page, and the year of publication. The absolute formatting (what is bold and what is italic) is less important than having a complete citation for each journal article cited. References and notes are numbered in the order in which they are cited, first through the text, then through the figure and table captions. List a reference only one time.
The abbreviations for journal names are taken from the Bibliographic Guide for Editors and Authors (BGEA), a more recent publication. When in doubt, provide the journal’s complete name. Spell out cities that are listed after a journal name: *Acta Zool. (Stockholm). Do not use op. cit., ibid., 3-m dashes, en dashes, or et al. (in place of the complete list of authors’ names).
In references to books or chapters in books, publisher names are given in shortened form. “Press” is usually dropped. Exceptions: Academic Press (“Academic” is an adjective), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, National Academies Press, University Park Press, CRC Press, MIT Press, and Cambridge Univ. Press (for university presses, to distinguish them from the university itself). Inclusive page numbers or a chapter number must be given when specific articles are referred to within an edited volume.
Please use full citations in the following format (note capitalization style in article titles):
D. Trivedi, C. D. Rahn, W. M. Kier, I. D. Walker, Soft robotics: Biological inspiration, state of the art, and future research. Appl. Bionics Biomech. 5, 99–117 (2008).
C. D. Onal, D. Rus, Autonomous undulatory serpentine locomotion utilizing body dynamics of a fluidic soft robot. Bioinspir. Biomim. 8, 026003 (2013).
K. Suzumori, S. Iikura, H. Tanaka, Applying a flexible microactuator to robotic mechanisms. Control Syst. IEEE 12, 21–27 (1992).
R. J. Wood, S. Avadhanula, R. Sahai, E. Steltz, R. S. Fearing, Microrobot design using fiber reinforced composites. J. Mech. Des. 130, 052304 (2008).
K. Takashima, J. Rossiter, T. Mukai, McKibben artificial muscle using shape-memory polymer. Sens. Actuators A Phys. 164, 116–124 (2010).
J.-B. Ihn, F.-K. Chang, Detection and monitoring of hidden fatigue crack growth using a built-in piezoelectric sensor/actuator network: I. Diagnostics. Smart Mater. Struct. 13, 609–620 (2004).
P. Polygerinos, Z. Wang, K. C. Galloway, R. J. Wood, C. J. Walsh, Robot. Auton. Syst.; available at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921889014001729. (paper published online before print)
C. J. Maddison, A. Huang, I. Sutskever, D. Silver, Move evaluation in Go using deep convolutional neural networks. http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.6564 (2014).
D. E. Shaw, Technical Report CUCS-29-82 (Columbia University, New York, 1982).
White House Council of Economic Advisers, Big Data and Differential Pricing (White House, Washington, DC, 2015). [unpublished or access by title]
Assessment of the Carcinogenicity and Mutagenicity of Chemicals (WHO Technical Report Series No. 556, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 1974).
FTC Staff Report, Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency (FTC, Washington, DC, 2013); http://1.usa.gov/1eNz8zr.
W. McMahan, V. Chitrakaran, M. Csencsits, D. Dawson, I. D. Walker, B. A. Jones, M. Pritts, D. Dienno, M. Grissom, C. D. Rahn, Field trials and testing of the OctArm continuum manipulator, in Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 15 to 18 May 2006, Orlando, FL, pp. 2336–2341.
F. Lieder, M. Hsu, T. L. Griffiths, The high availability of extreme events serves resource-rational decision-making, in Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (2014), pp. 2567–2572.
G. M. J.-B. Chaslot, S. Bakkes, I. Szita, P. Spronck, Monte-Carlo tree search: A new framework for game AI, in Proceedings of the Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference (AAAI, 2008), pp. 216–217. [sponsoring organization should be mentioned if it is not part of the proceeding title]
R. M. Walser, Electromagnetic metamaterials. Proc. SPIE 4467, 1–15 (2001).
Paper presented at a meeting (not published)
M. A. McEvoy, N. Correll, Shape change through programmable stiffness, International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER), Marrakech, Morocco, 2014. [sponsoring organization should be mentioned if it is not part of the meeting name]
D. Hughes, N. Correll, A soft, amorphous skin that can sense and localize texture, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Hong Kong, 2014. 10.1109/ICRA.2014.6907101
B. Smith, thesis, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (1973).
A. M. Lister, Fundamentals of Operating Systems (Springer-Verlag, ed. 3, 1984). [third edition]
R. Davis, J. King, in Machine Intelligence, E. Acock and R. Michie, Eds. (Wiley, 1976), vol. 8, chap. 3.
D. Koller, N. Friedman, Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques (MIT Press, 2009).
C. Melchiorri, M. Kaneko, Robot hands, in Springer Handbook of Robotics (Springer-Verlag, 2008), pp. 345–360.
Principles and Procedures for Evaluating the Toxicity of Household Substances (National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, 1977). [organization as author and publisher]