Instructions for Authors of Reviews (Initial Submission)


Most Reviews for Science Signaling are invited by the editors. Unsolicited, well-written contributions may be considered if (a) they provide a new synthesis of an active area of signaling research along with a balanced survey of the literature and (b) they are authored by at least one scientist who has published multiple original research papers in the scientific area on which the review focuses.

Criteria and process for evaluation

Reviews at Science Signaling are evaluated by peer review, even if solicited by the editors, to ensure consistency and quality. They are assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

1. Significance. Reviews should provide new insights in addition to summarizing the information currently available. The best Reviews reflect the unique viewpoint of the author and show how new findings alter current thinking about major issues in a particular field.

2. Technical Merit.  The data cited and the arguments made should justify the conclusions and inferences. The Review should correctly cite important discoveries in the field and should be set in the context of, and acknowledge, work done by others, whether or not they have conflicting views.

3. Comprehensibility.  The Review should be written in a broadly accessible style. Readers from other areas should be able to learn from the article what has been firmly established and what are significant unresolved questions and obstacles to progress.

Editorial Policies

Authors of Reviews should familiarize themselves with the submission requirements and conditions of acceptance for Science Journals before submitting their paper. Access this information here. These policies spell out the rights and responsibilities that authors agree to when submitting and publishing their papers, although some of these apply only to authors of original research papers.

Format and Style

Although online publishing has removed the need for strict word limits, we expect Review authors to be as focused and concise as possible. A good guideline for an upper word limit for Reviews is around 8000 words, with the precise length dictated by the requirements of the topic. 

All Reviews should include an Abstract and the following sections: Introduction, Subsections, Conclusions, References and Notes. Supplementary Materials are permitted (see below).

Use double spacing throughout the text, tables, figure legends, and references and notes. Electronic files should be formatted for U.S. letter paper. Technical terms should be defined. Symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms should be defined the first time they are used. All tables and figures should be cited in numerical order. Use Times and Symbol fonts only.

The manuscript should be assembled in the following order:

Title: The title must be no more than 135 characters (including spaces).

Author list: Authors and their affiliated institutions, linked by superscript numbers, should be listed beneath the title on the opening page of the manuscript.

Abstract: The Abstract should explain to the general reader the topics covered in the Review. The Abstract is distinct from the main body of the text, and thus should not be the only source of background information critical to understanding the manuscript. Do not include citations in the Abstract. The preferred length of abstracts is 125 words or fewer, but a 250-word maximum is allowed for submission.

Text: This section should contain the bulk of your analysis. Note that no more than two levels of headings and subheadings are allowed, and they must all be in the same style (phrase or sentence).

Supplementary Materials: List your supplementary material items, if any, including a title for each item.

References and Notes: References are numbered in the order in which they are cited, first through the text, and then through the figure and table legends. Each reference should have a unique number; do not combine references or embed references in notes. Do not use op. cit. or ibid. References to personal communications or in-press manuscripts without DOIs are not allowed. Journal article references should be complete, including the complete list of authors, the full titles, and the inclusive pagination.

The paragraph after the last reference should contain the following sections in the following order: Acknowledgments, Funding, Author Contributions, and Competing Interests. These sections should thank individuals who assisted in the preparation or revision of the Review (Acknowledgments), include complete funding information (Funding), describe each author’s contribution to the paper (Author Contributions), and list any competing interests for any of the authors (Competing Interests). If there are no competing interests, use “Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests”.

Tables: These should be included after the references and should supplement, not duplicate, the text. They should be called out within the text and numbered in the order of their citation in the text. The first sentence of the table legend should be a brief descriptive title. Every vertical column should have a heading, consisting of a title with the unit of measure in parentheses. Units should not change within a column. Centered headings of the body of the table can be used to break the entries into groups. Footnotes should contain information relevant to specific entries or parts of the table.

Figure legends: These should be included in the text file immediately after any tables. A short figure title should be given as the first line of the legend. No single legend should be longer than ~200 words. Nomenclature, abbreviations, symbols, and units used in a figure should match those used in the text.

Figures: Each figure must be explicitly called out within the text. If a figure has multiple panels, each panel must be explicitly called out in the text in order. Figures should be numbered in the order of their citation in the text.

Supplementary Materials: This section can accommodate various types of auxiliary information of use to the reader, including material not presentable in a text format. All Supplementary Materials should be accompanied by a brief text description, similar to a caption. The first sentence of this caption should be a title, and the titles of the Supplementary Materials items should be listed immediately before the References and Notes section.

Preparation of Figures

The professional illustrators on Science Signaling’s staff can help to create your figures and diagrams. This will be done after your paper is reviewed, so you should provide a version of your figure with your initial submission for review purposes.

Author Checklist

  • Have you included an Abstract?
  • Are all authors listed correctly along with their affiliations and the corresponding author indicated?
  • Does your article have no more than two levels of headings and subheadings?
  • Have you included at least 2 figures or tables? Have you included legends for all figures and tables? If a figure has multiple panels, has you explicitly called out each figure panel in order in the body of your Review?
  • Have any of the figures been previously published?
  • Are the references complete? Each citation should include the full article title, journal title, journal volume, year of publication, and first and last page. Please include all authors (no et al.).

Back to top


General Instructions for Submitting the Text and Figures

The editor handling your Review will send you a formal invitation by email, which will contain your manuscript ID. Please submit your text and figures through the Science Journals Submission and Information Portal at Log into your account (your username is your email address) and click on the manuscript ID. Note that our submission site will automatically rename your files upon upload, so it is not necessary to follow a particular naming convention for your files. Upload the Word and figure files on the “MS Documents” tab. Our system will automatically extract information from the Word document to populate the manuscript record. You will be able to confirm, revise, or add author names, email addresses, and affiliations on the “Authors” tab. Our system will also extract the title and abstract; you may revise them on the “MS Info” tab.

Text: Text files must be in Microsoft Word .docx format. Include text, as well as any figure legends, references, all tables, and captions for Supplementary Materials items, in this single Microsoft Word .docx file.

Figures: If possible, figure files should be compatible with Macintosh computer Adobe Illustrator (Version 3.0 to 9.0) and Adobe Photoshop (version 2.0 to 6.0). Figures prepared in PowerPoint will be redrawn by our art department to achieve the necessary resolution. Our submission system can handle files up to 25 MB. We can accept figures in the following formats (in descending order of preference):

• Illustrator EPS (Encapsulated Postscript), AI (Adobe Illustrator) or PDF (Adobe Acrobat)

• Photoshop PSD (Photoshop - with active text layers, do not flatten and do not rasterize text)

Supplementary Materials: Acceptable formats for videos are Quicktime, MPEG, and Flash. Keep videos short and the display window small to minimize the file size of the video. Supply caption information with the videos in the Word file. Edit longer sequences into several small pieces with captions specific to each video sequence.

Back to top

Presubmission inquiries

Due to limited editorial resources and time, the Science Signaling Editors regretfully do not accept presubmission inquiries for Reviews. Authors may submit their complete manuscripts through our online submission site at Submitted manuscripts will undergo screening by the editors and Board of Reviewing Editors, followed by external review if considered suitable. As noted above, unsolicited contributions are considered only if they are well-written, provide a new synthesis of an active area of signaling research along with a balanced survey of the literature, and are authored by scientists who are active researchers in the area on which the review focuses. The Science Signaling Editors will quickly inform authors if a paper is not appropriate for the journal.