Mission and Scope


Uncovering mechanisms in biology, gaining insights into physiology and disease

Science Signaling is a weekly, online multidisciplinary journal for the life sciences. The aim of the journal editors is to publish studies that uncover the basic mechanisms that underlie biological processes across all organisms. Particular emphasis is placed on studies that provide new insights into physiology; delineate aberrant mechanisms that cause disease; identify new potential therapeutic targets and strategies; and characterize the effects of drugs in vitro and in vivo. More detailed information about the articles and resources of Science Signaling can be found in the corresponding Help sections and the Information for Authors page. Brief descriptions are provided below.


Science Signaling: Original Articles

Science Signaling publishes original Research Articles and Research Resources. Research published in Science Signaling represents major advances in cell signaling, including key research papers in the rapidly expanding areas of cancer, immunology, inflammation, cardiovascular biology, neuroscience, cellular and organismal metabolism, physiology, computational and systems biology, microbiology, host-microbe interactions, plant biology, and the mechanisms of drug action. Research Articles generally report hypothesis-driven research; whereas Research Resources describe nonhypothesis-driven research, including the presentation of new validated tools or techniques or validated databases or data sets relevant to cellular or physiological regulation. Papers are selected for publication in Science Signaling on the basis of their importance and broad interest to scientists engaged in the general area of cellular regulation as determined by the editors in consultation with a Board of Reviewing Editors and in-depth reviewers of papers. Acceptable papers should substantially refine our current understanding of important signaling processes with priority given to those papers that the reviewers and editors determine to provide new concepts and new understanding of biological signal transduction and that are likely to find application in multiple biological systems or in a diverse range of investigations. See the Information for Authors for more details.

Science Signaling publishes original Focus articles, Perspectives, and Reviews, which are generally solicited by the editors. Focus articles are short commentary pieces often focused on a research paper publshed in the same issue. Perspectives present the opinion of the author focused on one main topic or a synthesis of developments based on a small group of papers. Book Reviews appear in the Perspectives section. Reviews are more complete analyses of topics of broad interest and are critically peer reviewed for scholarship, clarity, and accuracy. Protocols are also peer reviewed and present detail instructions for readers wishing to apply the technique. New Protocol submissions will no longer be considered. See the Information for Authors for more details.

Science Signaling: Resources for Education

The Teaching Resources of Science Signaling provide information, materials, and articles that enable students and educators to better understand and teach the complex topic of cell signaling. The Teaching Resources include diverse materials that aid in teaching topics or courses in cell signaling, such as lecture notes and slides, syllabi, research projects, experiments, animations, discussions, and online tutorials. These resources are intended to facilitate in the instruction of complicated biological mechanisms and theories, as well as to encourage active student discussion and participation. New submissions of Teaching Resources are not allowed or considered. The Glossary, which is temporarily unavailable, provides definitions for acronyms, abbreviations, and other cell signaling terms commonly found in Science Signaling articles and resources. The definitions are provided by the editors based on the usage of the terms in Science Signaling articles. Journal Club articles are brief pieces that highlight recent exciting developments in cell signaling research and are written by graduate students or postdoctoral fellows with little or no input from a senior author. These articles gave a new generation of signaling researchers a chance to gain experience in critical analysis of the recent literature and in the process of scientific communication, while providing the readers a fresh view of cell signaling research. The Journal Club section is now available only through the Archives. New submissions of Journal Clubs are not allowed or considered.

Science Signaling: Current Awareness and Personalization

My Science Signaling provides customization features to tailor the site to the user's needs and interests (these features require personal subscription or registration and access through an institutional site license). Science Signaling offers eTOC alerts (alerting users when a new issue of Science Signaling is published), as well as three types of CiteTrack research alerts: (i) keyword alerts, alerting users when new original Science Signaling content is published that contain the specified keywords; (ii) author alerts, alerting users when articles by the specified authors are added to Science Signaling; and (iii) citation alerts, alerting users when a specified article is referenced by another article published in a journal hosted by HighWire Press.

In addition to these user-specified current awareness tools, each week the editors of Science Signaling scan the literature for newly published papers of particularly broad interest. Brief summaries of the selected papers are presented in Editors' Choice.

Science Signaling: The Database of Cell Signaling

The Database of Cell Signaling contains information on signaling components and their relations organized into pathways. The Database is no longer actively maintained and cannot be viewed through the journal website. However, the data are available in XML format. Please see the Database XML Archive for more information.

Science Signaling: A Community

The electronic format of Science Signaling allows users to interact easily with authors, researchers, experts, and colleagues. The archived Forums provide access to topically organized threaded discussions. The archived ST NetWatch provides access to editorially reviewed descriptions and links to useful Web sites and online tools relevant to signaling research and education.

E-Letters allow readers to add their opinion to, point out new research about, or address the author of any specific original article in Science Signaling. Readers may also send emails to colleagues alerting them to exciting content in the journal. Various options for sharing exciting content through social media are also available. Look for the icons for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to let your friends and colleagues know what you find interesting and exciting in the journal.  Follow Science Signaling on Twitter @scisignal.

Journal Information

Science Signaling was originally published as Science's STKE [signal transduction knowledge environment (ISSN: 1525-8882)], a web site and online review journal devoted to the topic of cell signaling with the first issue in September 1999. The name changed to Science Signaling (ISSN: 1937-9145) in January 2008 and original research articles were added in September 2008.

Science Signaling is published each Tuesday to give 51 issues each year.

Science Signaling should be abbreviated as Sci. Signal. (see the How to Cite page for additional details and examples.)

AAAS, the nonprofit publisher of Science Signaling, provides free access to the research content through the journal's web site one year after publication and authors are allowed to deposit the accepted, but not final published, versions of Research Articles, Resource Resources, Reviews, and Protocols in public repositories, such as PubMed Central, 6 months after publication in Science Signaling. See the journal’s policies for details.

Science Signaling is indexed in MEDLINE, PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, Elsevier (EMBASE, Geobase, Elsevier BIOBASE, EMBiology, EMCare, and Scopus), ISI Web of Science, Google, and Google Scholar.

Science Signaling's 2017 impact factor is 6.3.

What Is Signal Transduction?

Signal transduction refers to the biochemical processes by which cells respond to cues in their internal or external environment. Because signal transduction mechanisms are the natural control circuits that regulate biological systems, they provide potent targets for development of therapeutic agents to combat disease or otherwise alter the behavior of biological systems. Signal transduction research is an intensely active field of biomedical research and is of interest to a broad array of scientists. Science Signaling should be useful to scientists who specialize in signal transduction, as well as the many scientists who need to follow and apply the current findings of this field even though their primary interest may not be the signal transduction mechanisms themselves.

History of Science Signaling and the Knowledge Environment Concept

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) established a collaboration with Stanford University Libraries (SUL) and The Center for Resource Economics/Island Press (Island Press) in 1996 to help scientific researchers and nonprofit organizations harness the power of the Internet and electronic publishing. At that time, only a handful of journals were available through the Internet, and the World Wide Web was in its infancy. It was clear, however, that the Web could transform the ways in which scientists gathered and shared information as part of research efforts. We recognized that Web-based technologies could enhance access to databased information and greatly improve the effectiveness of information transfer and the creation of new knowledge. Development work on the project began in early 1998 after the collaborative received a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to create a prototype of the Web-based electronic networking tools. Additional support came from The Charles A. Dana Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

Knowledge Environment (KE) is the term coined by the collaborative to describe the collection of electronic networking tools that were initially developed. KEs use practical, production-quality tools to systematize the consensus knowledge within a scientific domain and to facilitate users' access to that knowledge. Signal transduction research was selected for the prototype KE for several reasons.

  • - The characteristics of the potential user base allow us to test many of the electronic tools that are central to the KE concept.
  • - The user population is an interdisciplinary group, so we are able to test those KE tools that are specifically designed to facilitate communication across disciplines and to filter information such that only material relevant to the user's interest is presented.
  • - The topic can be mapped by classes of data structures, which allows us to test the use of a graphical interface to access and display data from a database maintained by experts.
  • - No single journal serves as the main source of signal transduction information; researchers must scan numerous sources to stay abreast of current advances. Thus, there is a clear need for information management tools.
  • - The informal exchange of information within this research community is also fractured because signal transduction researchers do not all belong to one scholarly society.

As the internet matured and more scholarly publishers began to put their content online, the need for scientific communities evolved. The need for extensive community-based tools as part of journals declined. Therefore, Science's STKE transitioned from a KE with a reviews and commentary journal to Science Signaling, a primary research journal with a selected set of online features and resources that were determined to be the most useful for the cell signaling research community.