Editorial policies

Science Advances publishes research articles, reviews, and technical comments.

Research articles should present a major advance and can be short or long (maximum 15,000 words) format. Submissions must include an abstract of up to 250 words, an introduction, and sections with brief informative subheadings. You may include up to six figures and/or tables and about 40 references. Supplementary materials should be limited to information that is not essential for the general understanding of the research presented in the main text and can include data sets, figures, tables, videos, or audio files.

Reviews should describe and synthesize recent developments of interdisciplinary significance and highlight future directions. Ideally reviews should be no longer than 8000 words, although longer manuscripts will be considered when warranted. You may include up to six figures and/or tables and up to 100 references. Reviews must 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. Please contact the appropriate Deputy Editor before preparing a review.

Science Advances uses a highly selective peer review process drawing from and beyond the full pool of reviewers who review for all the Science journals.

Science Advances is led by Dr. Jeremy Berg, and a team of leading scientists with a broad range of domain expertise. The team includes six deputy editors, more than eighty associate editors, an in-house managing editor, and an editorial staff.

Our scientific editors evaluate submitted manuscripts, and those that warrant further consideration for publication are sent out for in-depth review by at least two external referees. Manuscripts cannot be resubmitted over a disagreement on novelty or relative merit. Authors may be allowed to resubmit a manuscript if it was rejected on the basis of serious reviewer error on a technical point.

Papers submitted to any of the Science journals but not accepted for publication for reasons of length, scope, or space may be eligible for publication in Science Advances.

Papers selected for publication will be edited to improve readability and ensure the use of plain language whenever possible.

Public Access

Science Advances will deposit the final published version of each paper into the NIH/NLM PubMed Central upon publication.

Detailed Editorial Policies for Science Advances

Like all AAAS publications, Science Advances advocates and adheres to the highest standards for accurate and ethical publication of science. Here we outline the editorial policies we have in place to help ensure that these standards are maintained. These policies generally follow those for publication of research in Science, which are explained in detail in the Submission Requirement and Conditions of Acceptance information. These requirements and conditions are briefly described here with reference to the appropriate pages of the Science Advances instructions for authors.

Animal Studies

For all animal experimentation described in the manuscript, Science Advances requires that authors state in the Methods section their adherence to the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, or the equivalent. For the full text of the NIH guidelines, see http://oacu.od.nih.gov/regs/guide/

Genetically modified animals. To avoid confounding effects of inbred strain background, littermate controls should generally be used, although exceptions may be allowed. Justification for other control animals should be included. Authors should fully describe the source of their animals and number of times backcrosses were performed.

Authorship and Conflict of Interest

At the point of submitting revised manuscripts, all authors must submit a completed copy of AAAS’s online Authorship and Conflict of Interest Form. This form asks authors to specify the nature and level of their contribution to the article, their understanding regarding the obligation to share data and materials, and any affiliations, funding sources, or financial holdings that might raise questions about possible sources of bias. Authors in Science Advances must meet the criteria for authorship laid out in the definition of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which states that authorship should be based on four criteria:

Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND

Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND

Final approval of the version to be published; AND

Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Any changes in authorship must be approved in writing by all of the original authors. Submission of a paper that has not been approved by all authors will result in immediate rejection without appeal.

Science Advances does not permit ghost, guest, or honorary authorship. Ghost authorship, where an individual has made author-level contributions to the paper but is not included in the author list. This is not permitted for papers published in Science Advances. Guest authorship is when someone who has not met all criteria of authorship is listed as an author. Individuals who have participated in generation of the research paper but who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgments section with a brief indication of the nature of their contribution. Science Advances will send an e-mail to all authors to confirm receipt of each paper.

Data Deposition

Science Advances supports the efforts of databases that aggregate published data for the use of the scientific community. Therefore, before publication, large data sets (including microarray data, protein or DNA sequences, atomic coordinates or electron microscopy maps for macromolecular structures, and climate data) must be deposited in an approved database and an accession number or a specific access address must be included in the published paper. We encourage compliance with MIBBI guidelines (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations).

Details include, but are not limited to:

·         Molecular structure data. Atomic coordinates and structure factor files from x-ray structural studies or an ensemble of atomic coordinates from NMR structural studies must be deposited and released at the time of publication. Three-dimensional maps derived by electron microscopy and coordinate data derived from these maps must also be deposited. Approved databases are the Worldwide Protein Data Bank [through the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics, or Protein Data Bank Japan], BioMag Res Bank, and Electron Microscopy Data Bank (MSD-EBI), and for synthetic molecules, the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre.

·         DNA and protein sequences. Approved databases are GenBank or other members of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (EMBL or DDBJ) and SWISS-PROT.

·         Microarray data. Data should be presented in MIAME-compliant standard format. Approved databases are Gene Expression Omnibus and ArrayExpress.

·         Climate data. Data should be archived in the NOAA climate repository or other public databases.

·         Ecological data. We recommend deposition of data in Dryad.

·         Earth and Space Sciences. An inventory of repositories is provided by the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) at https://copdessdirectory.osf.io/

·         Large data sets with no appropriate approved repository must be included as supplementary materials at Science Advances, or only when this is not possible, on an archived institutional Web site. For complex, dynamic databases, authors will be required to sign an agreement to make a copy of the database, as it exists at the time of publication, publicly available on their own Web sites for a period of at least five years after the paper's publication date. The author would also be required to submit to Science a zipped archive of the same Web site with complete instructions for unzipping and installing the database, and to sign a declaration certifying that the copy is the same as that on the publicly available Web site. Further questions can be directed to your editor.


Data and Materials Availability after Publication

After publication, all data and materials necessary to understand, assess, and extend the conclusions of the manuscript must be available to any reader of Science Advances. All computer codes involved in the creation or analysis of data must also be available to all readers. After publication, all reasonable requests for data or materials must be fulfilled. Any restrictions on the availability of data, codes, or materials, including fees and restrictions on original data obtained from other sources must be disclosed to the editors as must any Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) pertaining to data or materials used or produced in this research, that place constraints on providing these data or materials. Patents (whether applications or awards to the authors or home institutions) related to the work should also be declared. Fossils or other rare specimens must be deposited in a public museum or repository and available for research. Unreasonable restrictions on data or material availability may preclude publication.

Embargo policy

Papers will remain a privileged document and will not be released to the press or the public before publication. Queries regarding articles should be made to the AAAS Office of Public Programs (202-326-6440) or gpinhols@aaas.org.

Informed Consent for Human Studies

Informed consent must be obtained for studies on humans after the nature and possible consequences of the studies are explained. A statement that informed consent was obtained must also appear in the manuscript. All research on humans must have approval from the institutional IRB (Institutional Review Board) or an equivalent body. The editors reserve the right to request IRB documents associated with a particular paper.


Before Science Advances fully accepts a manuscript, authors must sign and submit a license agreement (PDF) that allows AAAS exclusive rights to publish and use your contribution. As an open access journal, Science Advances asks authors to choose one of two Creative Commons licenses, each of which allows readers to reuse the published content in specific ways.

The CC BY-NC license allows readers to distribute, adapt, or reuse articles for non-commercial purposes, while commercial reuse requires permission. The CC BY license, available at an added cost, allows readers to distribute, adapt, or reuse articles, including for commercial purposes. Authors can comply with various institutional and funder mandates by choosing to publish under a CC BY license.

See our information on Article Processing Charges for further details about these licences and costs. We will reassess the cost structure for these licenses after one year.

Materials sharing

Before acceptance, Science Advances must be informed of any restrictions on sharing of materials, such as Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs). Unreasonable restrictions may preclude publication. After publication, all reasonable requests for materials must be fulfilled.

Prior publication and related papers

Science Advances will not consider any paper or component of a paper that has been published or is under consideration elsewhere in any language. Distribution on the Internet and conference proceedings may be considered prior publication and may compromise the originality of the paper, although we do allow posting on certain not-for-profit preprint servers such as ArXiv.org. Please contact the editors with questions regarding this policy or allowable postings. In addition, copies of papers submitted to other journals by any of the authors that relate to a research article submitted to Science Advances must be included with the submission.

Reporting Guidelines

Authors are encouraged to follow published standard reporting guidelines for their study discipline. Many of these can be found at the EQUATOR website www.equator-network.org

Security concerns

Authors and reviewers are expected to notify editors if a manuscript could be considered to report dual use research of concern (DURC). Papers identified as possible DURC will be brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief for further evaluation. If necessary, outside reviewers with expertise in the area will be consulted.

Unpublished data and personal communications

Citations to unpublished data and personal communications cannot be used to support claims in the paper. Papers will be held for publication until all “in press” citations are published.