The Science Contributors FAQ

  1. What kinds of manuscripts does Science consider?
  2. What percentage of submissions does Science accept?
  3. How fast can Science evaluate my manuscript?
  4. Will my manuscript remain confidential?
  5. What is Science Express?
  6. Is Science an American journal?
  7. What is Science's press embargo policy? Can I provide data to other scientists or government agencies? Can I present my work at a scientific meeting?
  8. Does Science require copyright transfer?
  9. What's the policy on prior publication of results?
  10. What about manuscripts that have been posted online before submission?
  11. What's the policy on publication of data sets?
  12. What's Science's policy with respect to depositing papers on PubMed Central (PMC) and other archives?
  13. How do I prepare a manuscript for Science?
  14. How should I prepare figures for Science?
  15. What's the optimum resolution for Science figures?
  16. What are Supplementary Materials? How should I prepare them?
  17. How do I refer to supplementary materials in a manuscript?
  18. Can I submit an image for consideration as the cover of Science?
  19. How do I submit a manuscript to Science?
  20. To whom should I direct my manuscript?
  21. My files are too large for the submission web site. How do I get these files to Science?
  22. Science rejected my manuscript. Should I revise it and submit it again?

What kinds of manuscripts does Science consider?

Science is interested in a wide range of manuscripts presenting original research and commentary in all areas of science. For original research, the common thread is that the work should reveal novel concepts of broad importance to the scientific community. Categories of papers include Research Articles of up to approximately 4,500 words and Reports of up to 2,500 words. Science also accepts a few Research Articles in an enriched online format. These can be up to 8000 words long and can be enhanced with online elements. They are represented in the print version by an enhanced abstract. Science also publishes brief Technical Comments (approximately 1000 words in length) that address the main conclusions of research papers that have appeared within the past three months in the journal; these comments are published at the Science Web site with an abstract in the Letters section of the print version of Science. Technical Comments are linked to the original paper online and are indexed on Medline. Brief online comments can be submitted from the full-text version of a paper or news story at the Science website.

A variety of material under the general heading of Commentary -- including Editorials, Book Reviews, Education Forums, Policy Forums, Perspectives, and Reviews -- is usually solicited by Science editors, although the editors will consider unsolicited manuscripts of these types. Brief Letters to the Editor, commenting on previous material in Science or matters of interest to the global scientific community, are welcome.

For a more detailed description of the categories of manuscripts we consider, please see our general information for authors.

What percentage of submissions does Science accept?

Because of the stiff competition for space in the journal, Science now accepts less than 7% of the original research papers submitted. Most submissions are evaluated by the staff editors and our Board of Reviewing Editors for potential significance, quality, and interest. The Board, composed of more than 150 leading scientists worldwide, evaluates manuscripts electronically with a 48-hour turnaround and provides prompt, expert assessment and input into editorial decisions and the selection of reviewers. About 80% of submitted manuscripts are rejected during this initial screening stage, usually within one week to 10 days.

Science's editorial staff includes more than 25 editors with Ph.D.'s and postdoctoral training, who have, on average, at least seven years' editorial experience and regularly attend important meetings in their fields of specialization.

How fast can Science evaluate my manuscript?

Science is committed to speedy evaluation of manuscripts, and our record in this respect in recent years compares favorably with those of major competing publications. For most papers, reviewers are asked to return comments within two weeks; papers that call for particularly rapid assessment, owing to competition or other factors, can often be reviewed within 48 hours or less. Most papers are published within 14 weeks of initial submission. Through our online publish-before-print program, Science Express, we publish certain papers within ten days to two weeks of acceptance, and in some cases within two weeks of receipt.

Will my manuscript remain confidential?

Yes. Science treats all submitted manuscripts as confidential documents. Science also instructs and expects our Board of Reviewing Editors and reviewers to treat manuscripts as confidential material. Our peer review process is also confidential, and identities of reviewers are not released. (Letters and Technical Comments are sent to the authors of papers on which they comment for response or rebuttal, but otherwise are treated in the same way as other contributions with respect to confidentiality.)

What is Science Express?

Under our Science Express program, particularly interesting or topical papers are selected by Science editors for rapid online publication two to six weeks ahead of the scheduled print publication date. Papers are considered to be published on the date that they are posted online; the print version of a paper previously published on Science Express indicates the date the paper was published online. Science Express papers are available free to AAAS members. Nonmembers can purchase an article of interest for immediate access (pay-per-view) here. Science Express is also available to academia, corporations, research institutes, and hospitals via an institutional sitewide subscription.

Science Express home page

Is Science an American Journal?

Science is not just an American journal. We view science as a global enterprise and want to publish the best papers in science, from all countries and regions. We welcome submissions from non-U.S. authors, and more than half of our accepted papers have non-U.S. authors.

Our commitment to a broad geographical base runs deeper than just an interest in non-U.S. manuscripts, however. A substantial share of both our Board of Reviewing Editors and our referees are from outside of the United States. We review most manuscripts electronically to facilitate the use of expert referees, regardless of location. We maintain a Europe office (in Cambridge, UK). Our editors frequently visit worldwide scientific labs and professional meetings.

Similarly, our readers come from all over the world.

What is Science's press embargo policy? Can I provide data to other scientists or government agencies? Can I present my work at a scientific meeting?

Science's press embargo policy is designed to ensure broad and accurate coverage of authors' published research by the press. Here are some guidelines:

  • Science strongly encourages scientists to share data or results with colleagues and officials in response to health, safety, environmental, or other emergencies. Our press embargo is not intended to interfere with the normal dissemination of information between researchers and government officials as is necessary to ensure that the best and most current data are available to advise policy and decision making. Any resulting press coverage will in no way affect our decision on a paper.
  • Scientists are welcome to present their results of their submitted or upcoming Science papers to colleagues at professional meetings and to share data with colleagues. Presentation at a meeting will in no way affect a decision on a manuscript. If your paper has been accepted for publication in Science and you are planning to make a presentation, we ask that you inform the AAAS Office of Public Programs (202-326-6440).
  • Comments to press reporters attending your scheduled session at a professional meeting should be limited to clarifying the specifics of your presentation. In such situations, we ask that you do not expand beyond the content of your talk or give copies of the paper, data, overheads, or slides to reporters.
  • No news coverage of your paper can appear anywhere before 2:00 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time on the Thursday before your paper's publication. Thus:
    • Scientists with papers pending at Science should not give interviews on the work until the week before publication, and then only if the journalist agrees to abide by the Science embargo.
    • Please do not participate in news conferences until after 1:00 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time the day before publication.
  • Any questions about the embargo policy can be addressed to the AAAS Office of Public Programs, at (202) 326-6440. A full statement of the policy is mailed to authors upon acceptance of their papers for publication.

Does Science require copyright transfer?

No. Authors retain copyright of their work, but must grant an exclusive publication license to Science and AAAS for their paper to be accepted for publication. Further details on this license are available here.

Authors with questions about copyright transfer should contact one of the Deputy Editors.

What's the policy on prior publication of results?

Science will only consider research papers that are reporting primary data and the main conclusions for the first time. Your cover letter should clarify how the Science submission is original. Any related manuscript that is under consideration or accepted in another journal but not yet published by any author on the manuscript should be included with your submission or revision so it can be uploaded as an auxiliary file. Discovery of a related paper by any author that is not disclosed may be cause for immediate rejection without appeal or editorial retraction after publication.

What about manuscripts that have been posted online before submission?

We do not consider manuscripts that have been previously published elsewhere. Posting of a paper on the Internet may be considered prior publication that could compromise the originality of the Science submission, although we do allow posting on arxiv.org and in many cases on other not-for-profit preprint servers. Please contact the editors for advice about specific cases. We provide a free electronic reprint service to authors that allows visitors to the authors' web site free access to the published version of the Science paper at the Science Web site immediately after publication.

What's the policy on publication of data sets?

As a condition of publication, authors must agree to make available all data necessary to understand and assess the conclusions of the manuscript to any reader of Science. Data must be included in the body of the paper or in the supplementary materials, where they can be viewed free of charge by all visitors to the site. Certain types of data must be deposited in an approved online database, including DNA and protein sequences, microarray data, crystal nmr, electron microscopy structures, and climate records. The accession numbers must be included in the published paper and coordinates must be released at the time of publication. A list of acceptable databases can be found here.

What's Science's policy with respect to depositing papers on PubMed Central (PMC) and other archives?

For research papers created under grants awarded no earlier than 2 May 2005, and for which the authors are required by their funding agencies to make their research results publicly available, authors can have the "accepted version" of the paper posted to the funding body's archive or designated repository, as long as the posting is no earlier than six months after final publication in Science, is linked back to the final Science version, and includes the published paper's full reference citation. The "accepted version" is the version of the paper accepted for publication in Science after changes resulting from peer review, but before Science's editing, image quality control, and production. This policy only applies to research articles, reports, reviews, and technical comments. In submitting to archives such as PMC, authors of Science papers should set the time of public release of the accepted version at six months after final publication in Science.

How do I prepare a manuscript for Science?

The guidelines differ for initial submission of a manuscript and for resubmission of a revised manuscript after peer review. For details, see our instructions for preparing your manuscript and figures. For initial submissions, follow the instructions in the left-hand column of that page; for resubmission after peer review, use the right-hand column.

How should I prepare figures for Science?

As with the manuscript itself, how figures should be prepared depends on whether you are initially submitting a manuscript or resubmitting a revised manuscript after peer review. In particular, for new manuscript submissions, figures should be included as part of a single manuscript file that also includes text and tables, whereas for resubmissions they should be submitted separately from the text and tables. For details, see our instructions for preparing your manuscript and figures. Supplementary Materials are submitted as a single file at both stages.

What's the optimum resolution for Science figures?

The appropriate resolution for figures differs depending on whether you are initially submitting a new manuscript or submitting a revision after peer review:

  • For new manuscripts, the key consideration is keeping file sizes reasonable; figures should be embedded in the same file that contains text and tables and should be 150 to 300 dots per inch (dpi). Figures, such as micrographs, that require high-resolution original prints for proper evaluation should be submitted as auxiliary files.
  • For revised manuscripts after peer review, figures should be submitted as separate digital files at a higher resolution -- a minimum of 400 dpi for grayscale and color artwork and 1200 dpi for digital line art. (Please note that these latter resolutions refer to images sized at dimensions comparable to those of figures in the print journal. Reducing or enlarging the dimensions of a digital raster image will change its resolution. Please see our instructions for figures for revised manuscripts for more details.)

What are Supplementary Materials? How should I prepare them?

Supplementary materials consists of additional material accompanying Science papers that is posted on our Web site. We can post additional text (such as information on methods, tables, diagrams, and images that bear directly on the conclusions of the paper but that cannot be accommodated in the print version for reasons of space), figures, and other material, such as video clips and sound files, that enrich the content of the paper by extending it beyond the possibilities of the print medium. The material is subject to the same editorial standards and peer-review procedures as the print publication. Supplementary materials must be essential to the scientific integrity and excellence of the paper.

At both the initial stage and after revision, supplementary material should be submitted as a single .docx or .pdf file separate from the main manuscript. Audio or video files can be submitted separately. Please carefully read the guidelines on preparing supplementary materials for complete information.

How do I refer to supplementary materials in a manuscript?

The appropriate style can be found in our guidelines on preparing supplementary materials.

Can I submit an image for consideration as the cover of Science?

Yes. Our manuscript submission and information portal includes a field for uploading auxiliary files, and cover candidates can be submitted here.

The cover is usually related to a particularly significant Report or Research Article in the issue, or to the contents of a special issue. Images from significant papers that are striking to the nonspecialist have the best chance of being chosen. Images that cannot be used on the cover may be chosen for use on our table of contents or in the "This Week in Science" section.

How do I submit a manuscript to Science?

First, carefully read and follow our instructions for preparing manuscripts and figures, taking careful note of the differing guidelines for initial submission and resubmission of revised manuscripts. Then, when you have assembled all electronic files and other required information, proceed to our manuscript submission and information portal at https://cts.sciencemag.org. You can track your manuscript status through your account at our manuscript submission and information portal. Immediately after submission, the status should update to received.

We do not accept submissions by postal mail or e-mail.

To whom should I direct my manuscript?

It is not required that you address your paper to a specific editor when submitting a new manuscript. If you wish, however, you can direct the cover letter for your manuscript to the editor who handles its subject area and you can select an editor on the manuscript information page. In some cases, we may not be able to honor these selections because of load distribution or availability. A list of editors and their subject areas is available on our Web submission site https://cts.sciencemag.org/ and on our staff page.

Science rejected my manuscript. Should I revise it and submit it again?

This is probably not a good idea. Most editorial decisions at Science are based not only on the paper's technical merit but also on the general interest or importance of the work, and on comparison with other papers that we are considering in the paper's field and in related ones. Thus, we will only reconsider papers for which we have specifically invited resubmission or when a significant error has been made during review that significantly influenced our final decision. Most requests for reconsideration do not meet this criterion and thus are not successful.