Preparing Your Supplementary Materials

As an accompaniment to the main manuscript, authors may submit supplementary materials for posting at the Science Web site. To be accepted for posting, supplementary materials must be essential to the scientific integrity and excellence of the paper. The material is subject to the same editorial standards and peer-review procedures as the print publication.

At the stage of initial manuscript submission, before peer review, and again at the revision stage, authors should submit materials and methods, text, tables and figures intended as supplementary materials as a single docx or PDF file. This file should be uploaded to the supplementary materials section of the manuscript documents tab at Other supplementary materials such as video clips and complex databases should be loaded to the auxiliary files section of the manuscript document tab. References cited in the Supplementary Materials should be included as part of the main reference list and numbered reference citations should cite this single main list.

For a given paper, supplementary materials is subject to some broad limits on file sizes, so authors should make every effort to keep file sizes reasonable and should carefully consider whether the material is genuinely essential to the paper in question.

To aid in the organization of Supplementary Materials, we recommend using or following the Microsoft Word template supplied here if possible.

Categories of Supplementary Materials

In general, Science will accept the following nine categories of supplementary materials:

  1. Materials and methods -- Science now requests that, in general, authors place the bulk of their description of materials and methods online as supplementary materials, providing only as much methods description in the print manuscript as is necessary to follow the logic of the text. (Obviously, this restriction will not apply if the paper is fundamentally a study of a new method or technique.)
  2. Supplementary text -- Additional information regarding control or supplemental experiments, field sites, observations, hypotheses, etc., that bear directly on the arguments of the print paper. Further discussion or development of arguments beyond those in the main text is not permitted in supplementary text.
  3. Supplementary figures -- Figures that cannot be accommodated in the print version but that are integral to the paper's arguments. Note that Science does not allow certain electronic modifications or enhancements to figures; see our detailed figure guidelines for more information.
  4. Supplementary tables -- Extensive data tables useful in assessing the arguments of the print paper.
  5. Online movies and animations -- Online video clips showing cell motions, model results, or other dynamic data discussed quantitatively in the print text.
  6. Audio clips -- Sound files essential to an understanding of the arguments in the print text.
  7. Databases -- In certain cases, Science will consider linked database presentations more complex than a flat text file or table; these can include, for example, tables hyperlinked to public sequence, array, or protein databases, or collections of hypertext tables or Excel files linked to explanatory image files or tables. Such presentations may require special treatment, and should be discussed in advance with the online editor.

    Submission of databases such as those described above will generally only be appropriate when the data in question cannot be accommodated by an established public repository such as Genbank or PDB.
  8. Other -- Material that does not fall into one of the categories above must be discussed in advance with the online editor, (soleditor{at}
  9. References only cited in the supplementary materials should be include at the end of the reference section of the main text, and the reference numbering should continue as if the Supplementary Materials was a continuation of the main text.

File Formats and Sizes

Acceptable File Formats

  • Text, Tables, and Figures. These items should be included in a single docx or PDF file.

    Figure/image files and Excel spreadsheets can be embedded directly into the file. Descriptive legends for each item should be included within the file. Authors without access to Word, or using specialized markup languages such as LaTeX, can instead submit a single PDF file that includes the material in the sequence indicated. (Authors using TeX or LaTeX are asked, if possible, to use an outline or PostScript font such as Times, rather than Computer Modern, to generate their PDF, to ensure the best possible screen legibility. We do not accept TeX or LaTeX source for supplementary materials.)

    For ease of reading of the supplementary materials file, the text and tables should be single spaced; figures should be individually numbered, and each figure should have its legend on the page on which the figure appears, immediately beneath the figure. To keep file sizes manageable, figures should appear on the page at the smallest size (pixel dimensions) compatible with clarity.

    Excel data tables that are too large or complex to be successfully embedded in a Word file or PDF, can be submitted separately as an auxiliary file.
  • Movies. Online video clips should be in QuickTime (preferred) or AVI format; MPEG movies may also be acceptable. For Quicktime h264 compression is the preferred format. Authors should opt for the minimum frame size and number of images that are consistent with a reasonably effective on-screen presentation. Animated GIFs are not accepted. Authors should submit online videos or movies as separate files, with accompanying captions, and should not integrate them into a custom-written Web page or presentation. Movies and audio files should be uploaded to the auxiliary files section of the manuscript document tab at
  • Audio files: WAV, AIFF, or AU formats are accepted.
  • Databases and other complex material: Authors wishing to post presentations of data more complex than flat text files or tables that can be converted to PDF format (e.g., author-supplied Web databases or HTML tables hyperlinked to collections of data or images) need to consult with the online editor,(soleditor{at}, regarding such material. In most cases, the files will need to be packaged as a compressed archive for download and installation on the user's computer; additional information is available here.

Unacceptable File Formats

Science does not accept as supplementary materials: executable files; CGI-script-driven, author-customized Web presentations; HTML files including JavaScript or other scripting languages (whether client-side or server side) or Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); PowerPoint presentations; and TeX or LaTeX files (authors should convert the compiled DVI files to PDF).

File Size Limitations

The file sizes for supplementary materials are subject to the following limitations:

  • No uploaded files should exceed 25 MB.

Authors seeking an exception to these limitations should contact the online editor, (soleditor{at}

Referencing Supplementary Materials Within the Manuscript

Please observe the following conventions when citing supplementary materials in the manuscript text:

  • Materials and methods. For materials and methods, include a "callout" [e.g., (14)] at appropriate points in the text to a note in your reference list that reads "Materials and methods are available as supplementary materials on Science Online."
  • Supplementary online text. At relevant points in the text, simply refer parenthetically to "supplementary online text." No reference note is required.
  • Figures, tables, movies, and other material. Number the material as you would an ordinary figure or table, but add the prefix "S" -- For example, fig. S2, table S1, Movie S3, Database S1. No reference note is required

Finally, include a statement at the end of the references listing the supplementary materials.

For example:

Supplementary Materials
Materials and Methods
Figs. S1, S2, S3
References (21-32) [Note: The numbers refer to any additional references cited only within the Supplementary Materials]
Movie S1

Submitting Supplementary Materials

Important: The procedures for supplementary materials is similar at the initial submission and at the revision stage.

With Initial Manuscript Submission or Revision After Peer Review
Supplementary text, figures, and tables should be placed in a single docx or PDF file labeled with the heading "Supplementary Materials." Image files and tables should be embedded directly in the electronic text file. This file should be uploaded to the supplementary materials section on the manuscript document tab.

Note: The maximum file size for initial submissions is 25 MB.

Authors wishing to include supplementary movies, audio clips, linked databases, and other complex material should upload them as separate files in the auxiliary files section of the manuscript documents tab. No single file should exceed 25 MB.

Descriptive legends for each item of supplementary materials should be included in the main manuscript file. In the cover letter accompanying their main manuscript, authors should note that the manuscript includes supplementary materials, list the categories of material included, and briefly explain the rationale for including the supplementary materials.

It is not necessary to follow a particular naming convention as your files will be renamed by the system.