Science: Information for authors

Categories of manuscripts

Preparing your manuscript

Submitting your manuscript

Manuscript selection

Science is a weekly, peer-reviewed journal that publishes significant original scientific research, plus reviews and analyses of current research and science policy. We seek to publish papers that are most influential in their fields or across fields and that will significantly advance scientific understanding. Selected papers should present novel and broadly important data, syntheses, or concepts. We welcome submissions from all fields of science and from any source. We are committed to the prompt evaluation of submitted papers. Most papers are published in print and online 4 to 8 weeks after acceptance. In addition, Science selects several papers for earlier online publication in First Release, using the accepted version of the paper with minimal copyediting. The official publication date of these papers is the date that they are posted online. Requests for accelerated online publication should be explained to the editors in the cover letter.

Manuscripts should be submitted at our manuscript submission and information portal https://cts.sciencemag.org. The status of submitted manuscripts can also be tracked at this portal.

Authors should familiarize themselves with the overall editorial policies for Science before submitting their paper. These policies spell out the rights and responsibilities that authors agree to when submitting and publishing their papers. Access this information here.

Categories of manuscripts

Peer-Reviewed Research Manuscripts

Research Articles (up to ~4500 words, including references, notes and captions, or ~5 printed pages) are expected to present a major advance. Research Articles include an abstract, an introduction, up to six figures or tables, sections with brief subheadings, and about 40 references. Materials and Methods should be included in supplementary materials, which should also include information needed to support the paper's conclusions.

Science also accepts a few Research Articles for an online presentation (about 1 per issue). These are expected to present significant research results that cannot be fully presented in the print format and merit the extra length and attention provided by this presentation. These can be longer, up to 8000 words and include methods, additional figures and potentially videos, as part of the main article. Additional supplemental material that cannot be incorporated within the text is possible. The full text will be included in all digital versions of Science, and a structured abstract will be included in the print version. A pdf of the full article can be downloaded. The cover letter should indicate why the additional length is merited.

Reports (up to ~2500 words including references, notes and captions or ~3 printed pages) present important new research results of broad significance. Reports should include an abstract, an introductory paragraph, up to four figures or tables, and about 30 references. Materials and Methods should usually be included in supplementary materials, which should also include information needed to support the paper's conclusions.

Reviews All Reviews, except reviews in Special Issues, are now published online, where additional length and references, and enhanced media, are possible. Reviews will be represented in print by an enhanced abstract and be presented in full in all digital versions of Science. Reviews can be up to 6000 words and include up to 100 references, and 4-6 display items (figures and tables). They should describe and synthesize recent developments of interdisciplinary significance and highlight future directions. They include an abstract, an introduction that outlines the main theme, brief subheadings, and an outline of important unresolved questions. Most Reviews are solicited by the editors, but unsolicited submissions may also be considered. 

Detailed Information on Preparing your Manuscript.

Most of the preparation guidelines apply to initial submissions and revisions, however a few guidelines specific to revised manuscripts are given at Revision Guidelines

Commentary

Commentary Science's Insight section presents analysis by scientists and other experts on issues of interest to Science readers. With the exception of Letters and Comments, most items in these sections are commissioned by the editors, but unsolicited contributions are welcome. Perspective and Policy Forums should include an abstract. Commentary material may be peer-reviewed at the Editors' discretion.

  • Perspectives (up to 1000 words plus 1 figure) highlight recent exciting research, but do not primarily discuss the author's own work. They may provide context for the findings within a field or explain potential interdisciplinary significance. Perspectives commenting on papers in Science should add a dimension to the research and not merely be a summary of the experiments done in the paper. Although many of the Perspectives that comment on research published in Science are solicited, we welcome inquiries regarding new advances and fresh insights. As these are meant to express a personal viewpoint, with rare exceptions, Perspectives should have no more than two authors
  • Books or Media Review (up to 800 words) feature smart commentary on new books, films, exhibitions, performances, mobile applications, podcasts, and other media that are likely to be of broad interest to our readership. Please contact the Book Review Editor before you begin preparing your book or media review, indicating why you believe the work would be of interest to Science readers, and why you are well-positioned to write the review.
  • Policy Forum (1000 to 2000 words, 1-2 figures, and up to 15 references) presents issues related to the intersections between science and society that have policy implications.
  • Education Forum (approximately 2000 words) presents essays on science education and its practice from pre-college to graduate work. They are not meant to be research reports of an individual program. (Research results related to education should be submitted to the Reports section.)
  • Letters (up to 300 words) discuss material published in Science in the last 3 months or issues of general interest. Letters should be submitted through our Manuscript Submission and Information Portal (https://cts.sciencemag.org). Letters may be reviewed. The author of a paper in question is usually given an opportunity to reply. Letters are not routinely acknowledged and letter writers are not consulted before publication. Letters are subject to editing for clarity and space. Letters rejected for print publication may be posted as online comments.
  • eLetters Brief online comments can be submitted on papers or news stories published in Science. eLetters are submitted on the Science website, evaluated, and posted with the article if accepted. Authors are identified and must agree to our terms and conditions (http://www.sciencemag.org/about/terms-service). 
  • Technical Comments (up to 1000 words, 2 figures or tables, 15 references, and no Supplementary Materials), are published online and discuss the core conclusions and/or methodology of research published in Science within the previous 3 months. The abstract (60 words or less) will be included in the Letters section of the print edition. Technical Comments should not present new data or other previously unpublished work nor be based on new findings/concepts that would not have been accessible to the authors when the paper was written. Pertinent comments on non-technical aspects of a paper should be submitted as online comments. Authors of Technical Comments should contact the authors of the paper before submitting their manuscript, and should submit to Science the relevant correspondence. Technical Comments that are accepted will be posted online along with a formal reply from the authors of the original paper. 

Preparing your manuscript

We accept submissions only online at https://cts.sciencemag.org. Preparing a manuscript that follows our guidelines concerning length, style and acceptable file formats will facilitate the evaluation process.

See Guidelines for Preparing a New Manuscript. Revised manuscripts for the most part follow the same style guidelines, however there are some differences, particularly in figure preparation. See Guidelines for Preparing a Revised Manuscript.

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Submitting your manuscript

Authors and reviewers must have an account to sign into our manuscript submission and information portal at https://cts.sciencemag.org. If you do not have an account, you will need to create one, but then can use this account for any future submissions to Science.At the manuscript submission and information portal, you will first accept terms regarding submission of a manuscript to Science. For details on our policies see  Editorial Policies.

The main submission form is a series of tabbed windows, which you can move among by clicking the tabs at the top of the form. (The form may be filled out in any order.) You will move between the following tabs.

  1. Authors: Names, telephone, and e-mail addresses for all authors, including selection of one to be corresponding author.

  2. Manuscript Information:

    • The Article type you are submitting (see a description of manuscript types.)

    • The title of your manuscript (96 character maximum for Research Articles and Reports)

    • A cover letter which should include

      • Reference to any pre-submission discussions with editors.
      • 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.
      • 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
      • Note where data are available, or will be deposited and whether there are any restrictions on data availability such as an MTA.
      • Information on any Reference material or additional data files uploaded to the Auxiliary files section (see below).
      • Please also upload a docx version of your cover letter – see below.
    • You will have the opportunity to request a specific editor, but this is not required and editor assignment also depends on availability, relative loads and other factors.
    • You will have the opportunity to list your funding sources if your funder is included in FundRefs controlled vocabulary list.
  3. Reviewers: Names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of up to five potential referees and up to five excluded reviewers

  4. Upload Documents: Upload the manuscript, a cover letter, the Supplementary Material file, and any auxiliary files. As detailed in our instructions for [Preparing an Initial Manuscript], for the main manuscript, Science prefers to receive a single complete file that includes all figures and tables in Word's .docx format (Word 2007, 2010, or 2008 or 2011 for a Mac). LaTeX users should use our LaTeX template and at the initial stage should either convert files to Microsoft Word .docx or submit a PDF file  [see our LaTeX instructions here]. The Supplementary Material should be submitted as a single separate file in .docx or PDF format. The main manuscript file and the Supplementary Material file each have a 25MB size limit. Supplementary multi-media or large data files that cannot be included in the main Supplementary Materials file should be uploaded as Auxiliary Supplementary Materials at our submission site. There is a 25 MB combined size limit on auxiliary files and a limit of 10 auxiliary files. Video clips should be in mp4 format. Quicktime (mov) files are acceptable provided the h.264 compression setting is used. Where possible please use HD frame size (1920x1080 pixels). Animated GIFs are not accepted. For audio files, WAV AIFF, AU or m4a are preferred. MP3 or AAC files are acceptable but a bit rate of at least 160kb/s must be used. Authors should submit video and audio with clearly identifiable accompanying captions and credit information. Other items that are required at submission and should be uploaded to the Auxiliary files section are

  • Reference Material:  Authors must supply Science with a copy of any of their papers that are related to the Science manuscript and are under consideration or in press at other journals. This condition applies at all times while the Science manuscript is under consideration. If a related paper is submitted elsewhere while the Science paper is under consideration, please contact your editor.
  • Data files required for review of your manuscript.
  • Written permission from any author who is not an author of your manuscript but whose work is cited as in press. Permission must allow distribution of in press manuscripts or relevant data to reviewers. A copy of an email is sufficient. We do not allow citation to in press manuscripts at publication – these would need to be replaced by the published reference.
  • Any relevant MTAs
  • Please note in your cover letter if reference material or extra data files are included, and your editor will facilitate review as necessary.
  1. Validate: Confirm and complete the submission (we will not consider a submission complete until it is confirmed).

Check that the status of the manuscript is received on your home page. You can return to the site to track the status of the manuscript, though you will also receive an e-mail when a final decision is made.

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Manuscript selection

Science is committed to thorough and efficient evaluation of submitted manuscripts. Papers are assigned to a staff editor who has knowledge of the field discussed in the manuscript. Most submitted papers are rated for suitability by members of Science’s Board of Reviewing Editors. The editors at Science consider this advice in selecting papers for in-depth review. Authors of papers that are not selected are notified promptly, within about 2 weeks.

Research papers that are selected for in-depth review are evaluated by at least two outside referees. Reviewers are contacted before being sent a paper and asked to return comments within 1 to 2 weeks for most papers. We are able to expedite the review process significantly for papers that require rapid assessment. Selected papers are edited to improve accuracy and clarity and for length. Papers cannot be resubmitted over a disagreement on novelty, interest or relative merit. If a paper was rejected on the basis of serious reviewer error, resubmission may be considered.

Authors are notified of decisions by e-mail, and the status of the manuscript can be tracked at https://cts.sciencemag.org. Membership in AAAS is not a factor in selection of manuscripts for publication. 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 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.)

Science publishes four other journals: Science Immunology; Science SignalingScience Translational Medicine; and our open access, interdisciplinary journal, Science Advances. Papers submitted to Science but not accepted for publication may, in some cases, be eligible for publication in one of these journals. If a manuscript is rejected from Science with the option of transfer, we would be happy to transfer your submission from Science with no reformatting required. Editors at the second journal may use the information gathered during evaluation at Science to expedite review, including reuse of the reviews provided reviewers agree. You may also choose to start a new review process. The transfer can only include documents that were part of the review process at Science. Once transfer is complete, you will have the opportunity to upload a response to the reviews where appropriate.

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Publication

Most papers are published in print and online 4 to 8 weeks after acceptance. In addition, Science selects several papers for earlier online publication in First Release, using the accepted version of the paper with minimal copyediting. The official publication date of these papers is the date that they are posted online. Requests for accelerated online publication should be explained to the editors in the cover letter. 

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