Science Author Guidelines Cover Letter
Information for authors
Science Robotics welcomes research in all domains of robotics including land, sea, space, medical, and industrial applications, as well as artificial intelligence and human/robotic interactions. Research articles may address robotic issues at any scale, from complete systems to novel components, materials, or software. Read more on Mission and Scope.
These policies spell out the rights and responsibilities that authors agree to when submitting and publishing their papers in each of the Science family of journals. Authors should familiarize themselves with these policies before submitting a manuscript to Science Robotics.
General Editorial Policies
Categories of Submitted Manuscripts
Research Articles should include an abstract and be structured as follows: Abstract, Introduction, Results, Discussion, Materials and Methods, References, Figures and Tables, Supplementary Materials. Research Articles should be no more than words in length (not including References) and may have up to 8 figures/tables. Supplementary materials are permitted and can include figures and tables not essential to the general understanding of the research presented in the main text, as well as other file types. Shorter Research Articles with fewer figures will also be considered and may be published as Reports at the discretion of the editors. Detailed information about preparing a new Research Article is available here.
Reviews are currently only by invitation of the Editor. They can be up to words (not including abstract, references, and figure legends). Longer Reviews may be considered at the Editor's discretion. They should have a short pithy title, an abstract of no more than 75 words, no more than 75 references, and up to four figures (with figure legends) or tables. Detailed information about preparing a Review is available here.
Focus articles are short, timely pieces that spotlight new research findings published in Science Robotics or other journals or policy issues of interest to the robotics community that are of immediate importance. Focus articles cannot exceed words total (not including abstract, references, and figure or table). They should have a short snappy or newsy title, a one-sentence abstract, no more than 10 references, and one figure or table (with caption). Detailed information about preparing a Focus article is available here.
eLetters Brief online comments can be submitted on research or commentary articles published in Science Robotics. eLetters are submitted on the Science Robotics website, evaluated, and posted with the article if accepted. Authors are identified and must agree to our terms and conditions (woaknb.wz.sk). Science Robotics does not publish Letters as separate articles.
Primary research articles or other unsolicited articles may be submitted online at woaknb.wz.sk
For submission, you will need the following:
- Authors: Names, telephone, and e-mail addresses for all authors, including selection of one to be corresponding author.
- Manuscript Information:
- The article type you are submitting.
- The title of your manuscript (character maximum for Research Articles)
- Funding sources
- A cover letter that includes
- 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).
- A .docx version of your cover letter.
- Reviewers: Names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of up to five potential referees and up to five excluded reviewers
- Upload Documents: During submission, you will upload the manuscript, a cover letter, the Supplementary Materials file, and any auxiliary files. Science Robotics prefers to receive a single complete file that includes all figures and tables in Word's .docx format (Word , , or or for a Mac). If you are using LaTeX, please convert your paper into a Word docx. If this is not possible, please use our LaTeX template and upload a PDF version of your paper. Some conversion approaches are available here: woaknb.wz.sk We cannot accept LaTeX files for new submissions. We can only accept LaTeX as a revised submission. The Supplementary Materials should be submitted as a single separate file in .docx or PDF format. The main manuscript file and the Supplementary Materials file each have a 25MB size limit.
- Supplementary multimedia 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 compression setting is used. Where possible please use HD frame size (x 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 kb/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 Robotics with a copy of any of their papers that are related to the Science Robotics manuscript and are under consideration or in press at other journals. This condition applies at all times while the Science Robotics manuscript is under consideration. If a related paper is submitted elsewhere while the Science Robotics 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
Science Robotics is committed to thorough and efficient evaluation of submitted manuscripts. Papers are assigned to an Editorial Board member who has knowledge of the field discussed in the manuscript. Submitted papers may also be rated for suitability by members of the Science Robotics Advisory Board. Authors of papers that are not selected are notified promptly, within about 1 week.
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.
Authors are notified of decisions by email, and the status of the manuscript can be tracked at woaknb.wz.sk Membership in AAAS is not a factor in selection of manuscripts for publication. Science journals treat all submitted manuscripts as confidential documents. Sciencejournals also instruct and expect our Editors, Advisors and reviewers to treat manuscripts as confidential material. Our peer review process is confidential and identities of reviewers are not released.
AAAS publishes five other journals: Science, Science Signaling, Science Translational Medicine, Science Immunology, and our open access, interdisciplinary journal Science Advances. Papers submitted to Science Robotics but not accepted for publication may, in some cases, be eligible for publication in one of these five journals. If a manuscript is rejected from Science Robotics with the option of transfer, we would be happy to transfer your submission from Science Robotics with no reformatting required. Editors at the second journal may use the information gathered during evaluation at Science Robotics 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 Robotics. Once transfer is complete, you will have the opportunity to upload a response to the reviews where appropriate.
General information for preparing manuscripts
Format of articles
Scientific Reports publishes original research in one format, Article. In most cases we do not impose strict limits on word count or page number. We do, however, strongly encourage authors to write concisely and to adhere to the guidelines below.
Articles should ideally be no more than 11 typeset pages in length. As a guide, the main text (not including Abstract, Methods, References and figure legends) should be no more than 4, words. The maximum Article title length is 20 words. The Abstract — which must be no more than words long and contain no references — should serve both as a general introduction to the topic and as a brief, non-technical summary of the main results and their implications.
For the main body of the text, there are no explicit requirements for section organization. According to the authors' preference, the text may be organized as best suits the research. As a guideline and in the majority of cases, however, we recommend that you structure your manuscript as follows:
- Results (with subheadings)
- Discussion (without subheadings)
A specific order for the main body of the text is not compulsory and, in some cases, it may be appropriate to combine sections. Figure legends are limited to words. As a guideline references should be limited to 60 (this is not strictly enforced). Footnotes should not be used.
We suggest that Articles contain no more than 8 display items (figures and/or tables). In addition, a limited number of uncaptioned molecular structure graphics and numbered mathematical equations may be included if necessary. To enable typesetting of papers, the number of display items should be commensurate with the word length — we suggest that for Articles with less than 2, words, no more than 4 figures/tables should be included. Please note that schemes are not used and should be presented as figures.
Authors must provide a competing interests statement within the manuscript file.
Submissions should include a cover letter, a manuscript text file, individual figure files and optional supplementary information files. For first submissions (i.e. not revised manuscripts), authors may incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file up to 3 MB in size; the figures may be inserted in the text at the appropriate positions, or grouped at the end. Supplementary information should be combined and supplied as a single separate file, preferably in PDF format.
The following file types can be uploaded for Article text:
- txt, doc, docx, tex, (pdf [first submissions only])*
*We are unable to accept PDF files for article text for revised manuscripts.
A submission template is available in the Overleaf template gallery to help you prepare a LaTeX manuscript within the Scientific Reports formatting criteria.
Scientific Reports is read by scientists from diverse backgrounds. In addition, many are not native English speakers. Authors should, therefore, give careful thought to how their findings may be communicated clearly. Although a shared basic knowledge of science may be assumed, please bear in mind that the language and concepts that are standard in one field may be unfamiliar to non-specialists. Thus, technical jargon should be avoided and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable.
Abbreviations, particularly those that are not standard, should also be kept to a minimum. Where unavoidable, abbreviations should be defined in the text or legends at their first occurrence, and abbreviations should be used thereafter. The background, rationale and main conclusions of the study should be clearly explained. Titles and abstracts in particular should be written in language that will be readily intelligible to any scientist. We strongly recommend that authors ask a colleague with different expertise to review the manuscript before submission, in order to identify concepts and terminology that may present difficulties to non-specialist readers.
The format requirements of Scientific Reports are described below.
Scientific Reports uses UK English spelling.
Authors should provide a cover letter that includes the affiliation and contact information for the corresponding author. Authors should briefly explain why the work is considered appropriate for Scientific Reports. Authors are asked to suggest the names and contact information for scientific reviewers and they may request the exclusion of certain referees. Please ensure that your cover letter also includes suggestions for Editorial Board Members who would be able to handle your submission. Finally, authors should indicate whether they have had any prior discussions with a Scientific Reports Editorial Board Member about the work described in the manuscript.
Format of manuscripts
In most cases we do not impose strict limits on word counts and page numbers, but we encourage authors to write concisely and suggest authors adhere to the guidelines below. For a definitive list of which limits are mandatory please visit the submission checklist page.
Articles should be no more than 11 typeset pages in length. As a guide, the main text (not including Abstract, Methods, References and figure legends) should be no more than 4, words. The maximum title length is 20 words. The Abstract (without heading) - which must be no more than words long and contain no references - should serve both as a general introduction to the topic and as a brief, non-technical summary of the main results and their implications.
The manuscript text file should include the following parts, in order: a title page with author affiliations and contact information (the corresponding author should be identified with an asterisk). The main text of an Article can be organised in different ways and according to the authors' preferences, it may be appropriate to combine sections.
As a guideline, we recommend that sections include an Introduction of referenced text that expands on the background of the work. Some overlap with the Abstract is acceptable. This may then be followed by sections headed Results (with subheadings), Discussion (without subheadings) and Methods.
The main body of text must be followed by References, Acknowledgements (optional), Author Contributions (names must be given as initials), Additional Information (including a Competing Interests Statement), Figure Legends (these are limited to words per figure) and Tables (maximum size of one page). Footnotes are not used.
For first submissions (i.e. not revised manuscripts), authors may choose to incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file up to 3 MB in size in either a Microsoft Word, LaTeX, or PDF format - the figures may be inserted within the text at the appropriate positions, or grouped at the end.
For revised manuscripts authors should provide all textual content in a single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX. We do not accept PDF files for article text for revised manuscripts. Figures should be provided as individual files.
Supplementary Information should be combined and supplied as a separate file, preferably in PDF format. The first page of the Supplementary Information file should include the title of the manuscript and the author list.
Authors who do not incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file should adhere to the following: all textual content should be provided in a single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX; figures should be provided as individual files.
The manuscript file should be formatted as single-column text without justification. Pages should be numbered using an Arabic numeral in the footer of each page. Standard fonts are recommended and the 'symbols' font should be used for representing Greek characters.
TeX/LaTeX - Authors submitting LaTeX files may use the standard ‘article’ document class (or similar) or may use the woaknb.wz.sk file and template provided by Overleaf. Non-standard fonts should be avoided; please use the default Computer Modern fonts. For the inclusion of graphics, we recommend woaknb.wz.sk Please use numerical references only for citations. Our system cannot accept .bib files. If references are prepared using BibTeX (which is optional), please include the .bbl file with your submission (as a ‘related manuscript file’) in order for it to be processed correctly; this file is included automatically in the zip file generated by Overleaf for submissions. Please see this help article on Overleaf for more details. Alternatively ensure that the references (source code) are included within the manuscript file itself. As a final precaution, authors should ensure that the complete .tex file compiles successfully on their own system with no errors or warnings, before submission.
Manuscripts published in Scientific Reports are not subject to in-depth copy editing as part of the production process. Authors are responsible for procuring copy editing or language editing services for their manuscripts, either before submission, or at the revision stage, should they feel it would benefit their manuscript. Such services include those provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service and American Journal Experts. Scientific Reports authors are entitled to a 10% discount on their first submission to either of these services. To claim 10% off English editing from Nature Research Editing Service, click here. To claim 10% off American Journal Experts, click here. Please note that the use of an editing service is at the author's own expense, and in no way implies that the article will be selected for peer-review or accepted for publication.
Where appropriate, we recommend that authors limit their Methods section to 1, words. Authors must ensure that their Methods section includes adequate experimental and characterization data necessary for others in the field to reproduce their work. Descriptions of standard protocols and experimental procedures should be given. Commercial suppliers of reagents or instrumentation should be identified only when the source is critical to the outcome of the experiments. Sources for kits should be identified. Experimental protocols that describe the synthesis of new compounds should be included. The systematic name of the compound and its bold Arabic numeral are used as the heading for the experimental protocol. Thereafter, the compound is represented by its assigned bold numeral. Authors should describe the experimental protocol in detail, referring to amounts of reagents in parentheses, when possible (eg g, mmol). Standard abbreviations for reagents and solvents are encouraged. Safety hazards posed by reagents or protocols should be identified clearly. Isolated mass and percent yields should be reported at the end of each protocol.
References will not be copy edited by Scientific Reports. References will be linked electronically to external databases where possible, making correct formatting of the references essential.
References should be numbered sequentially, first throughout the text, then in tables, followed by figures; that is, references that only appear in tables or figures should be last in the reference list. Only one publication is given for each number. Only papers or datasets that have been published or accepted by a named publication, recognized preprint server or data repository should be in the numbered list; preprints of accepted papers in the reference list should be submitted with the manuscript. Published conference abstracts and numbered patents may be included in the reference list. Grant details and acknowledgements are not permitted as numbered references. Footnotes are not used.
BibTeX (.bib) bibliography files cannot be accepted. LaTeX submission must either contain all references within the manuscript .tex file itself, or (for authors using the Overleaf template) can include the .bbl file generated during the compilation process as a ‘related manuscript file’ (see the "Format of manuscripts" section for more details).
Scientific Reports uses standard Nature referencing style. All authors should be included in reference lists unless there are six or more, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by 'et al.'. Authors should be listed last name first, followed by a comma and initials (followed by full stops) of given names. Article and dataset titles should be in Roman text, only the first word of the title should have an initial capital and the title should be written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop. Book titles should be given in italics and all words in the title should have initial capitals. Journal and data repository names are italicized and abbreviated (with full stops) according to common usage. Volume numbers and the subsequent comma appear in bold. The full page range should be given (or article number), where appropriate.
Schott, D. H., Collins, R. N. & Bretscher, A. Secretory vesicle transport velocity in living cells depends on the myosin V lever arm length. J. Cell Biol. , ().
Bellin, D. L. et al. Electrochemical camera chip for simultaneous imaging of multiple metabolites in biofilms. Nat. Commun. 7, ; /ncomms ().
For papers with more than five authors include only the first author’s name followed by ‘et al.’.
Smith, J. Syntax of referencing in How to reference books (ed. Smith, S.) (Macmillan, ).
Babichev, S. A., Ries, J. & Lvovsky, A. I. Quantum scissors: teleportation of single-mode optical states by means of a nonlocal single photon. Preprint at woaknb.wz.sk ().
Manaster, J. Sloth squeak. Scientific American Blog Networkwoaknb.wz.sk ().
Hao, Z., AghaKouchak, A., Nakhjiri, N. & Farahmand, A. Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) data sets. figshare woaknb.wz.sk ().
Acknowledgements should be brief, and should not include thanks to anonymous referees and editors, or effusive comments. Grant or contribution numbers may be acknowledged. Assistance from medical writers, proof-readers and editors should also be acknowledged here.
Scientific Reports requires an Author Contribution Statement as described in the Author responsibilities section of our Editorial and Publishing Policies.
A competing interests statement is required for all accepted papers published in Scientific Reports. If there is no conflict of interest, a statement declaring this will still be included in the paper.
Scientific Reports requires a Data Availability Statement to be included in the Methods section of submitted manuscripts (see 'Availability of materials and data' section for more information).
Any Supplementary Information should be submitted with the manuscript and will be sent to referees during peer review. It is published online with accepted manuscripts. We request that authors avoid "data not shown" statements and instead make their data available via deposition in a public repository (see 'Availability of materials and data' for more information). Any data necessary to evaluation of the claims of the paper that are not available via a public depository should be provided as Supplementary Information. Supplementary Information is not edited, typeset or proofed, so authors should ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented at initial submission, and that the style and terminology conform to the rest of the paper. Authors should include the title of the manuscript and full author list on the first page.
The guidelines below detail the creation, citation and submission of Supplementary Information - publication may be delayed if these are not followed correctly. Please note that modification of Supplementary Information after the paper is published requires a formal correction, so authors are encouraged to check their Supplementary Information carefully before submitting the final version.
- Multiple pieces of Supplementary Information can be combined and supplied as a single file, or supplied separately (e.g. supplementary videos, spreadsheets [.csv or .xlsx] or data files).
- Designate each item as Supplementary Table, Figure, Video, Audio, Note, Data, Discussion, Equations or Methods, as appropriate. Number Supplementary Tables and Figures as, for example, "Supplementary Table S1". This numbering should be separate from that used in tables and figures appearing in the main article. Supplementary Note or Methods should not be numbered; titles for these are optional.
- Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word "Supplementary" each time one is mentioned. Please do not refer to individual panels of supplementary figures.
- Use the following examples as a guide (note: abbreviate "Figure" as "Fig." when in the middle of a sentence): "Table 1 provides a selected subset of the most active compounds. The entire list of 96 compounds can be found as Supplementary Table S1 online." "The biosynthetic pathway of L-ascorbic acid in animals involves intermediates of the D-glucuronic acid pathway (see Supplementary Fig. S2 online). Figure 2 shows"
- Remember to include a brief title and legend (incorporated into the file to appear near the image) as part of every figure submitted, and a title as part of every table.
- File sizes should be as small as possible, with a maximum size of 50 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly.
Further queries about submission and preparation of Supplementary Information should be directed to email: email@example.com
Figure legends begin with a brief title sentence for the whole figure and continue with a short description of what is shown in each panel in sequence and the symbols used; methodological details should be minimised as much as possible. Each legend must total no more than words. Text for figure legends should be provided in numerical order after the references.
Please submit tables in your main article document in an editable format (Word or TeX/LaTeX, as appropriate), and not as images. Tables that include statistical analysis of data should describe their standards of error analysis and ranges in a table legend.
Equations and mathematical expressions should be provided in the main text of the paper. Equations that are referred to in the text are identified by parenthetical numbers, such as (1), and are referred to in the manuscript as "equation (1)".
For submissions in a .doc or .docx format please ensure that all equations are provided in an editable Word format. These can be produced with the equation editor included in Microsoft Word.
General figure guidelines
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.
Figures should be numbered separately with Arabic numerals in the order of occurrence in the text of the manuscript. When appropriate, figures should include error bars. A description of the statistical treatment of error analysis should be included in the figure legend. Please note that schemes are not used; sequences of chemical reactions or experimental procedures should be submitted as figures, with appropriate captions. A limited number of uncaptioned graphics depicting chemical structures - each labelled with their name, by a defined abbreviation, or by the bold Arabic numeral - may be included in a manuscript.
Figure lettering should be in a clear, sans-serif typeface (for example, Helvetica); the same typeface in the same font size should be used for all figures in a paper. Use 'symbols' font for Greek letters. All display items should be on a white background, and should avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary colour, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. The vertical axis of histograms should not be truncated to exaggerate small differences. Labelling must be of sufficient size and contrast to be readable, even after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. Authors will see a proof that will include figures.
Figures divided into parts should be labelled with a lower-case bold a, b, and so on, in the same type size as used elsewhere in the figure. Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalized. Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field. Thousands should be separated by commas (1,). Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the legend. Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined on the bar itself rather than in the legend. In legends, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations such as "open red triangles".
Unnecessary figures should be avoided: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced at the smallest size at which essential details are visible.
Figures for peer review
At the initial submission stage authors may choose to upload separate figure files or to incorporate figures into the main article file, ensuring that any inserted figures are of sufficient quality to be clearly legible.
When submitting a revised manuscript all figures must be uploaded as separate figure files ensuring that the image quality and formatting conforms to the specifications below.
Figures for publication
Each complete figure must be supplied as a separate file upload. Multi-part/panel figures must be prepared and arranged as a single image file (including all sub-parts; a, b, c, etc.). Please do not upload each panel individually.
Please read the digital images integrity and standards section of our Editorial and Publishing Policies. When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures to ensure the highest-quality reproduction in the journal. For optimal results, prepare figures to fit A4 page-width. When creating and submitting digital files, please follow the guidelines below. Failure to do so, or to adhere to the following guidelines, can significantly delay publication of your work.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
1. Line art, graphs, charts and schematics
For optimal results, all line art, graphs, charts and schematics should be supplied in vector format, such as EPS or AI, and should be saved or exported as such directly from the application in which they were made. Please ensure that data points and axis labels are clearly legible.
2. Photographic and bitmap images
All photographic and bitmap images should be supplied in a bitmap image format such as tiff, jpg, or psd. If saving tiff files, please ensure that the compression option is selected to avoid very large file sizes.
Please do not supply Word or Powerpoint files with placed images. Images can be supplied as RGB or CMYK (note: we will not convert image colour modes).
Figures that do not meet these standards will not reproduce well and may delay publication until we receive high-resolution images.
3. Chemical structures
Chemical structures should be produced using ChemDraw or a similar program. All chemical compounds must be assigned a bold, Arabic numeral in the order in which the compounds are presented in the manuscript text. Structures should then be exported into a dpi RGB tiff file before being submitted.
4. Stereo images
Stereo diagrams should be presented for divergent 'wall-eyed' viewing, with the two panels separated by cm. In the final accepted version of the manuscript, the stereo images should be submitted at their final page size.
Every article that contains statistical testing should state the name of the statistical test, the n value for each statistical analysis, the comparisons of interest, a justification for the use of that test (including, for example, a discussion of the normality of the data when the test is appropriate only for normal data), the alpha level for all tests, whether the tests were one-tailed or two-tailed, and the actual P value for each test (not merely "significant" or "P < "). It should be clear what statistical test was used to generate every P value. Use of the word "significant" should always be accompanied by a P value; otherwise, use "substantial," "considerable," etc.
Data sets should be summarized with descriptive statistics, which should include the n value for each data set, a clearly labelled measure of centre (such as the mean or the median), and a clearly labelled measure of variability (such as standard deviation or range). Ranges are more appropriate than standard deviations or standard errors for small data sets. Graphs should include clearly labelled error bars. Authors must state whether a number that follows the ± sign is a standard error (s.e.m.) or a standard deviation (s.d.).
Authors must justify the use of a particular test and explain whether their data conform to the assumptions of the tests. Three errors are particularly common:
- Multiple comparisons: When making multiple statistical comparisons on a single data set, authors should explain how they adjusted the alpha level to avoid an inflated Type I error rate, or they should select statistical tests appropriate for multiple groups (such as ANOVA rather than a series of t-tests).
- Normal distribution: Many statistical tests require that the data be approximately normally distributed; when using these tests, authors should explain how they tested their data for normality. If the data do not meet the assumptions of the test, then a non-parametric alternative should be used instead.
- Small sample size: When the sample size is small (less than about 10), authors should use tests appropriate to small samples or justify their use of large-sample tests.
There is a checklist available to help authors minimize the chance of statistical errors.
Chemical and biological nomenclature and abbreviations
Molecular structures are identified by bold, Arabic numerals assigned in order of presentation in the text. Once identified in the main text or a figure, compounds may be referred to by their name, by a defined abbreviation, or by the bold Arabic numeral (as long as the compound is referred to consistently as one of these three).
When possible, authors should refer to chemical compounds and biomolecules using systematic nomenclature, preferably using IUPAC. Standard chemical and biological abbreviations should be used. Unconventional or specialist abbreviations should be defined at their first occurrence in the text.
Authors should use approved nomenclature for gene symbols, and use symbols rather than italicized full names (for example Ttn, not titin). Please consult the appropriate nomenclature databases for correct gene names and symbols. A useful resource is LocusLink.
Approved human gene symbols are provided by HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; see also woaknb.wz.sk Approved mouse symbols are provided by The Jackson Laboratory, e-mail: email@example.com; see also woaknb.wz.sk
For proposed gene names that are not already approved, please submit the gene symbols to the appropriate nomenclature committees as soon as possible, as these must be deposited and approved before publication of an article.
Avoid listing multiple names of genes (or proteins) separated by a slash, as in 'Oct4/Pou5f1', as this is ambiguous (it could mean a ratio, a complex, alternative names or different subunits). Use one name throughout and include the other at first mention: 'Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1)'.
Characterization of chemical and biomolecular materials
Scientific Reports is committed to publishing technically sound research. Manuscripts submitted to the journal will be held to rigorous standards with respect to experimental methods and characterization of new compounds. Authors must provide adequate data to support their assignment of identity and purity for each new compound described in the manuscript. Authors should provide a statement confirming the source, identity and purity of known compounds that are central to the scientific study, even if they are purchased or resynthesized using published methods.
1. Chemical identity
Chemical identity for organic and organometallic compounds should be established through spectroscopic analysis. Standard peak listings (see formatting guidelines below) for 1H NMR and proton-decoupled 13C NMR should be provided for all new compounds. Other NMR data should be reported (31P NMR, 19F NMR, etc.) when appropriate. For new materials, authors should also provide mass spectral data to support molecular weight identity. High-resolution mass spectral (HRMS) data are preferred. UV or IR spectral data may be reported for the identification of characteristic functional groups, when appropriate. Melting-point ranges should be provided for crystalline materials. Specific rotations may be reported for chiral compounds. Authors should provide references, rather than detailed procedures, for known compounds, unless their protocols represent a departure from or improvement on published methods.
2. Combinational compound libraries
Authors describing the preparation of combinatorial libraries should include standard characterization data for a diverse panel of library components.
3. Biomolecular identity
For new biopolymeric materials (oligosaccharides, peptides, nucleic acids, etc.), direct structural analysis by NMR spectroscopic methods may not be possible. In these cases, authors must provide evidence of identity based on sequence (when appropriate) and mass spectral characterization.
4. Biological constructs
Authors should provide sequencing or functional data that validates the identity of their biological constructs (plasmids, fusion proteins, site-directed mutants, etc.) either in the manuscript text or the Methods section, as appropriate.
5. Sample purity
Evidence of sample purity is requested for each new compound. Methods for purity analysis depend on the compound class. For most organic and organometallic compounds, purity may be demonstrated by high-field 1H NMR or 13C NMR data, although elemental analysis (±%) is encouraged for small molecules. Quantitative analytical methods including chromatographic (GC, HPLC, etc.) or electrophoretic analyses may be used to demonstrate purity for small molecules and polymeric materials.
6. Spectral data
Detailed spectral data for new compounds should be provided in list form (see below) in the Methods section. Figures containing spectra generally will not be published as a manuscript figure unless the data are directly relevant to the central conclusions of the paper. Authors are encouraged to include high-quality images of spectral data for key compounds in the Supplementary Information. Specific NMR assignments should be listed after integration values only if they were unambiguously determined by multidimensional NMR or decoupling experiments. Authors should provide information about how assignments were made in a general Methods section.
Example format for compound characterization data. mp: °C (lit.ref °C); TLC (CHCl3:MeOH, v/v): Rf = ; [α]D = ( M in n-hexane); 1H NMR ( MHz, CDCl3): δ (s, 1H), (m, 6H), (d, J = Hz, 1H), (d, J = Hz, 1H), (m, 1H), (q, J = Hz, 2H), (s, 3H), (t, J = Hz, 3H); 13C NMR ( MHz, CDCl3): δ , , , , , , , , , , , ; IR (Nujol): cm-1; UV/Vis: λmax nm; HRMS (m/z): [M]+ calcd. for C20H15Cl2NO5, ; found, ; analysis (calcd., found for C20H15Cl2NO5): C (, ), H (, ), Cl (, ), N (, ), O (, ).
7. Crystallographic data for small molecules
Manuscripts reporting new three-dimensional structures of small molecules from crystallographic analysis should include a .cif file and a structural figure with probability ellipsoids for publication as Supplementary Information. These must have been checked using the IUCR's CheckCIF routine, and a PDF copy of the output must be included with the submission, together with a justification for any alerts reported. Crystallographic data for small molecules should be submitted to the Cambridge Structural Database and the deposition number referenced appropriately in the manuscript. Full access must be provided on publication.
8. Macromolecular structural data
Manuscripts reporting new structures should contain a table summarizing structural and refinement statistics. Templates are available for such tables describing NMR and X-ray crystallography data. To facilitate assessment of the quality of the structural data, a stereo image of a portion of the electron density map (for crystallography papers) or of the superimposed lowest energy structures (≳10; for NMR papers) should be provided with the submitted manuscript. If the reported structure represents a novel overall fold, a stereo image of the entire structure (as a backbone trace) should also be provided.