Editorial policies

Our scientific editors evaluate submitted manuscripts, and those that warrant further consideration are sent out for in-depth review. Manuscripts require a minimum of two reviews to be accepted.

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.

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.

Presubmission Inquiries, Resubmissions, and Appeals

Science Advances will accept formal appeals of manuscripts rejected after review if the appeals are submitted within four weeks of the original reject decision. Formal appeals should be in the form of a letter that provides concrete evidence or specific information supporting a claim that there has been significant reviewer error or editorial misconduct.

Science Advances does not accept

  • presubmission inquiries
  • uninvited resubmissions of previously rejected manuscripts
  • appeals of desk-rejected manuscripts
  • appeals of manuscripts rejected after review when submitted more than four weeks after the decision
  • appeals based on disagreements with editor or reviewer evaluation of the impact or novelty of submitted work
  • uninvited responses to reviews or revised manuscripts when submitted with formal appeal letters

You can submit your formal appeal letter to scienceadvanceseditorial@aaas.org.

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. 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.

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. 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).
  • 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 Advances 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 (202-326-6436) or vancepak@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 to publish 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. Visit our Article Licensing page for more information.

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 Presentations at Meetings

Science Advances like all the Science family journals will not consider any original research paper or component of a research paper that has been published or is under consideration for publication elsewhere. Distribution on the Internet may be considered prior publication and may compromise the originality of the paper as a submission to Science Advances. We do not regard dissertations/theses as prior publications. We do support posting of research papers on not-for-profit preprint servers such as arXiv.org and bioRxiv.org. While a manuscript is under consideration at a Science family journal no versions revised in response to editorial input and peer review should be posted on a preprint server. Manuscripts posted at a preprint server should not be discussed with the media prior to publication. Please contact the editors with questions regarding allowable postings to other servers.

We generally encourage presentation of original results prior to publication at scientific meetings. Nevertheless, press coverage and presentation at scientific conferences can sometimes affect consideration of papers at the Science journals. For example, reporting the main findings of a paper in the mass media can compromise the novelty of the work and thus its appropriateness for Science Advances. Therefore, authors should feel free to present their data at scientific meetings but should not overtly seek media attention or give copies of the figures or data from their manuscript to any reporter. If a reporter attends an author's session at a meeting and writes a story based only on the presentation, such coverage will not affect our consideration of a manuscript.

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.

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.