Information for Authors-Reviews

Science Robotics

Detailed Information About Preparing Reviews


Reviews for Science Robotics are only by invitation of the editors. Reviews should be comprehensive, current, and instructive.

Criteria and process for evaluation

Reviews for Science Robotics are always evaluated by peer review, even if solicited by editors, to ensure consistency and quality. They are assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

1. Significance. Please evaluate how well the Review describes the state of knowledge for robotics and whether it clearly identifies bottlenecks in current research and development. For Reviews that synthesize a current research area, evaluate how well it provides the reader with a balanced, up-to-date overview.

2. Technical Merit. The data cited or presented and the arguments made should justify the conclusions and inferences. The Review should correctly cite important discoveries in the field and should be set in the context of, and acknowledge, work done by others, whether or not they have conflicting views.

3. Comprehensibility. The Review should be written in a broadly accessible style. Readers from other areas of robotics should be able to learn from the article what has been firmly established and what are significant unresolved questions and obstacles to progress.

Editorial Policies

Authors of Reviews should familiarize themselves with the Editorial Policies for Science Robotics before submitting their paper. These policies spell out the rights and responsibilities that authors agree to when submitting and publishing their papers, although some of these apply only to authors of original research papers.

Format and Style

Reviews should be 5000 words or shorter (not including abstract, references and notes, and figure and table captions), with the precise length dictated by the requirements of the topic. Longer reviews may be considered at the discretion of the Editor. There should be about six display items (figures and tables). All Reviews should include an abstract and the following sections: Introduction, Subsections, Conclusions, References and Notes. Supplementary Materials are permitted (*see the section on SM below).

Use double spacing throughout the text, tables, figure captions, and references and notes. Electronic files should be formatted for U.S. letter paper. Technical terms should be defined. Symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms should be defined the first time they are used. All tables and figures should be cited in numerical order. For best results, use Times and Symbol fonts only. Units of measure should be given in SI units. If measurements were made in English units, give metric equivalents.

The manuscript should be assembled in the following order:

Titles should be no more than 135 characters (including spaces).

One-sentence summaries (containing no more than 125 characters and spaces) capturing the most important point should be submitted for all papers.

Authors and their affiliated institutions, linked by superscript numbers, should be listed beneath the title on the opening page of the manuscript.

Abstracts explain to the general reader the topics covered in the Review. The abstract is distinct from the main body of the text and thus should not be the only source of background information critical to understanding the manuscript. Please do not include citations or undefined abbreviations in the abstract. The preferred length of abstracts is 150 words or fewer, but a 250-word maximum is allowed for submission.

Text This section should contain the bulk of your analysis, as described above.

List of Supplementary Materials List your Supplementary Materials items, if any, including titles for each of the supplementary figures, tables, videos, audio files, or other files. Here is an example of a Supplementary Materials list that appears in the main text of a paper:

Supplementary Text (for example, a list of members if a consortium is given as a manuscript author)

Fig. S1. Title of the first supplementary figure.

Fig. S2. Title of the second supplementary figure.

Table S1. Title of the first supplementary table.

Data file S1. Title of the first supplementary data file.

Movie S1. Title of the first supplementary movie.

References and Notes are numbered in the order in which they are cited, first through the text, then through the figure and table captions and last Supplementary Material. List a reference only once. Each reference should have a unique number; do not combine references or embed references in notes. Any references to in-press manuscripts or personal communications should be given a number in the text and placed, in correct sequence, in the references and notes. Such references will not be allowed in the final publication. Do not use op. cit., ibid., or et al. (in place of the complete list of authors' names). Journal article references should be complete, including the complete list of authors, the full titles, and the inclusive pagination. See Science Robotics Citation Style below for details of citation style.

Acknowledgments should be gathered into a paragraph at the end of the References and Notes. 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). This information may not be published in the final version, but it should be included for editors and reviewers to evaluate.

Figures should be cited within the text. Figures should be numbered in the order of their citation in the text. They should be submitted as part of the online submission or, if necessary for large files only, on a CD. See below for detailed instructions on preparation of and preferred formats for your figures.

Figure captions should be double-spaced in numerical order and included in the text file immediately after the acknowledgments. A short figure title should be given as the first line of the caption. No single caption should be longer than ~200 words. Nomenclature, abbreviations, symbols, and units used in a figure should match those used in the text.

Tables should be included after the figure captions and should supplement, not duplicate, the text. They should be called out within the text and numbered in the order of their citation in the text. Table captions should appear just before the table. The first sentence of the table caption should be a brief descriptive title, and each caption should be ~200 words. Every vertical column should have a heading, consisting of a title with the unit of measure 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 entries or parts 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 accommodate various types of auxiliary information of use to the reader, including material not presentable in a text format. We can host supplementary figures and captions, detailed materials and methods, detailed discussion, video files, audio files, original data files, and large data sets. All SM 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 before the References section. The SM should not be essential to the general understanding of the research presented in the main text of the paper. More information about preferred file formats and file sizes can be obtained in the Science Robotics Information for Authors.

Preparation of Figures

Creating your figures. A professional illustrator working with Science Robotics's staff can help to create your figures and diagrams. This will be done after your paper is reviewed, so you should provide a version of your figure with your initial submission for review purposes. It is best to create your figures as vector-based files such as those produced by Adobe Illustrator. 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" × 11" or A4 paper, preferably at 1 (3.5 in), 1.5 (5.0 in), or 2 (7.3 in) columns wide. 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.

  • The figure's title should be at the beginning of the figure caption, not in 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 captions.
  • Use solid symbols for plotting data if possible (unless data overlap or there are multiple symbols). Size symbols so that they will be distinguishable when the figure is reduced (6-point minimum). Line widths should be legible upon reduction (minimum of 0.5 point at the final reduced size).
  • 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.
  • Use scale bars in place of, or in addition to, magnifications. 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 read the figure
  • Please do not use colors that are close 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, and the scale. Scales with large or small numbers should be presented as powers of 10.
  • 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). The rest of the text in the figure should be plain or bold text.
  • Type on top of color in a color figure should be in bold face. Avoid using color type.
  • When figures are assembled from multiple gels or micrographs, a line or space should 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-hand corner of each figure part; if a part is an image, set labels inside the perimeter so as not to waste space.
  • Avoid subpart labels within a figure part; instead, maintain the established sequence of part labels [e.g., use A, B, C, D, E instead of A, B, C(a), C(b), C(c)]. If use of subpart labels is unavoidable, use lowercase letters (a, b, c); roman numerals (i, ii, iii); or prime symbols (C, Cʹ, Cʹʹ). 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.

Saving your figures files for initial submission. To keep file sizes small, please save your figures at a resolution of 150 to 300 dots per inch (dpi) for initial submission. (A higher resolution and a different suite of acceptable file formats apply for revised figures submitted after peer review.) In some cases, higher resolution files are necessary to properly represent data (for example, micrographs or immunocytochemistry). Contact us with questions or for further information at


Initial submissions must be uploaded to our electronic submission website as a Microsoft Word .docx file that contains all components of the paper, including the figures. Create one Word .docx file consisting of the text (title through materials and methods; see above for correct order), references, figure captions, embedded figures, tables, and table captions. Supplementary Materials are not required, but if they are needed they should be prepared as a separate Word .docx file that includes embedded supplementary figures and captions, as well as supplementary tables. Other Supplementary Materials with file types that cannot be incorporated into a Word .docx document can be uploaded separately to a designated section of the submission site.


See above instructions for creating your original figures. For initial submission, the figure files must be incorporated into the main text .docx file, with the caption below the figure.

Supplementary Materials

Text and figures. Supplementary Materials (supplementary tables and figures plus captions) should be prepared as a separate .docx file. Figures should be embedded in the file.

Video and audio files and other files types. All other file types can be uploaded as Auxiliary Supplementary Materials on our submission site. Our system can handle files up to 25 MB.


All Reviews should be submitted through the Science Manuscript Submission & Information Portal website (

Submission Checklist

The following items are required for submission:

Cover letter, containing:

  • The title of the paper and a statement of its main points
  • Any information needed to ensure a fair review process
  • 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, and e-mail 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.

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 email is sufficient.

Note: We do not allow citations to in-press manuscripts at publication—these would need to be replaced by the published references.

Copies of any paper by you or your coauthors 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 uploaded as Reference Material in the Supporting File section of our submission site.

Within the paper:

  • 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 cited references
  • Definitions of all symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms
  • Captions for all figures and tables
  • All data (no data not shown and no citations to unpublished results)
  • Descriptions of all statistical tests
  • Complete references. Each citation should include all authors, full article title, journal title, journal volume, year of publication, and first and last page. Please include all authors (do not use et al.).

Citation style

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. Any references of in-press manuscripts or personal communications must be removed before publication. We do not allow references to unpublished data; necessary data should be included in the manuscript, its Supplementary Material, or an approved archival database. The abbreviations for journal names are taken from the Bibliographic Guide for Editors and Authors (BGEA) or Serial Sources for the BIOSIS Data Base (BIOSIS), 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). Publisher's names are given in shortened form. "Press" and the like are usually dropped, except Academic Press ("Academic" is an adjective), University Park Press, CRC Press, MIT Press, and Cambridge Univ. Press (for university presses, to distinguish them from the university itself). Inclusive pages numbers or chapter number must be given when specific articles are referred to within an edited volume.

Please use full citations in the following formats:


D. Trivedi, C. D. Rahn, W. M. Kier, I. D. Walker, Soft robotics: Biological inspiration, state of the art, and future research. Appl. Bionics Biomech5, 99–117 (2008).

C. D. Onal, D. Rus, Autonomous undulatory serpentine locomotion utilizing body dynamics of a fluidic soft robot. Bioinspir. Biomim8, 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. Des130, 052304 (2008).

K. Takashima, J. Rossiter, T. Mukai, McKibben artificial muscle using shape-memory polymer. Sens. Actuators A Phys164, 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. Struct13, 609–620 (2004).

P. Polygerinos, Z. Wang, K. C. Galloway, R. J. Wood, C. J. Walsh, Robot. Auton. Syst.; available at (paper published online before print)

Technical reports

C. J. Maddison, A. Huang, I. Sutskever, D. Silver, Move evaluation in Go using deep convolutional neural networks. (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);


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]