Format of articles

Scientific Reports publishes original research in two formats: Article and Registered Report.For Registered Reports, see section below. In most cases, we do not impose strict limits on word count or page number. However, we strongly recommend that you write concisely and stick to the following guidelines:

Articles should ideally be no more than 11 typeset pages The main text should be no more than 4,500 words (not including Abstract, Methods, References and figure legends) The title should be no more than 20 words The abstract should be no more than 200 words

For a definitive list of which limits are mandatory please visit the submission checklist page.

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Abstract

Please do not include any references in your Abstract. Make sure it serves both as a general introduction to the topic and as a brief, non-technical summary of the main results and their implications.

Manuscript

Your manuscript text file should start with a title page that shows author affiliations and contact information, identifying the corresponding author with an asterisk. We recommend that each section includes an introduction of referenced text that expands on the background of the work. Some overlap with the Abstract is acceptable.

For the main body of the text, there are no specific requirements. You can organise it in a way that best suits your research. However, the following structure will be suitable in many cases:

Introduction Results (with subheadings) Discussion (without subheadings) Methods

You should then follow the main body of text with:

References (limited to 60 references, though not strictly enforced) Acknowledgements (optional) Author contributions (names must be given as initials) Additional Information (including a Competing Interests Statement) Figure legends (these are limited to 350 words per figure) Tables (maximum size of one page)

Please note, footnotes should not be used.

You may include a limited number of uncaptioned molecular structure graphics and numbered mathematical equations if necessary. Display items are limited to 8 (figures and/or tables). However, to enable typesetting of papers, we advise making the number of display items commensurate with your overall word length. So, for Articles of 2,000 words or less, we suggest including no more than 4 figures/tables. Please note that schemes should not be used and should be presented as figures instead.

Your submission must also include:

A cover letter Individual figure files and optional supplementary information files

For first submissions (i.e. not revised manuscripts), you may incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file up to 3 MB in size. Whilst Microsoft Word is preferred we also accept LaTeX, or PDF format. Figures can 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.

A submission template is available in the Overleaf template gallery to help you prepare a LaTeX manuscript within the Scientific Reports formatting criteria.

Cover letter

In your cover letter, you should include:

The affiliation and contact information of your corresponding author A brief explanation of why the work is appropriate for Scientific Reports The names and contact information of any reviewers you consider suitable The names of any referees you would like excluded from reviewing

Finally, you should state whether you have had any prior discussions with a Scientific Reports Editorial Board Member about the work described in your manuscript.

Revised manuscripts

For revised manuscripts, you should provide all textual content in a single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX. Please note, we do not accept PDF files for the article text of revised manuscripts. Make sure you:

Format the manuscript file as single-column text without justification. Number the pages using an Arabic numeral in the footer of each page. Use the default Computer Modern fonts for your text, and the "symbols" font for any Greek characters. Supply any figures as individual files. Combine and supply any Supplementary Information as a separate file, preferably in PDF format. Include the title of the manuscript and author list in the first page of the Supplementary Information file.

If you do not wish to incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file, please provide all textual content in a separate single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX.

TeX/LaTeX files

If you’re submitting LaTeX files, you can either use the standard ‘Article’ document class (or similar) or the wlscirep.cls file and template provided by Overleaf. For graphics, we recommend your use graphicx.sty. Use numerical references only for citations.

Our system cannot accept .bib files. If you prepare references using BibTeX (which is optional), please include the .bbl file with your submission (as a ‘LaTeX supplementary 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, you can make sure that the references (source code) are included within the manuscript file itself. As a final precaution, you should ensure that the complete .tex file compiles successfully on its own system with no errors or warnings, before submission.

Writing your manuscript

Scientific Reports is read by a truly diverse range of scientists. Please therefore give careful thought to communicating your findings as clearly as possible.

Although you can assume a shared basic knowledge of science, please don’t expect that everyone will be familiar with the specialist language or concepts of your particular field. Therefore:

Avoid technical jargon wherever possible, explaining it clearly when it is unavoidable. Keep abbreviations to a minimum, particularly when they are not standard. If you must use an abbreviation, make sure you spell it out fully in the text or legend the first time it appears. Clearly explain the background, rationale and main conclusions of your study. Write titles and abstracts in language that will be readily understood by any scientist.

We strongly recommend that you ask a colleague with different expertise to review your manuscript before you submit it. This will help you to identify concepts and terminology that non-specialist readers may find hard to grasp.

Copy editing services

We don’t provide in-depth copy editing as part of the production process. So, if you feel your manuscript would benefit from someone looking at the copy, please consider using a copy editing or language editing service. You can either do this before submission or at the revision stage. You can also get a fast, free grammar check of your manuscript that takes into account all aspects of readability in English.

We have two affiliates who can provide you with these services: nlinux.org Research Editing Service and American Journal Experts. As a Scientific Reports author, you are entitled to a 10% discount on your first submission to either of these.

Claim 10% off English editing from nlinux.org Research Editing Service

Claim 10% off American Journal Experts

Please note that the use of an editing service is at your own expense, and doesn’t ensure that your article will be selected for peer-review or accepted for publication.

Methods

We recommend you limit your Methods section to 1,500 words. Make sure it includes adequate experimental and characterisation data for others to be able to reproduce your work. You should:

Include descriptions of standard protocols and experimental procedures. Only identify commercial suppliers of reagents or instrumentation when the source is critical to the outcome of the experiments. Identify sources for any kits you use in your procedures. Include any experimental protocols that describe the synthesis of new compounds. Use the systematic name of any new compound and put its bold Arabic numeral in the heading for the experimental protocol, indicating it thereafter by its assigned, bold numeral. Describe the experimental protocol in detail, referring to amounts of reagents in parentheses, when possible (eg 1.03 g, 0.100 mmol). Use standard abbreviations for reagents and solvents. Clearly identify safety hazards posed by reagents or protocols. Report isolated mass and percent yields at the end of each protocol.

If you’re reporting experiments on live vertebrates (or higher invertebrates), humans or human samples, you must include a statement of ethical approval in the Methods section (see our detailed requirements for further information on preparing these statements).

References

We don’t copy edit your references. Therefore, it’s essential you format them correctly, as they will be linked electronically to external databases where possible. At Scientific Reports, we use the standard nlinux.org referencing style. So, when formatting your references, make sure they:

Run sequentially (and are always numerical). Sit within square brackets. Only have one publication linked to each number. Only include papers or datasets that have been published or accepted by a named publication, recognised preprint server or data repository (if you include any preprints of accepted papers in your reference list, make sure you submit them with the manuscript). Include published conference abstracts and numbered patents, if you wish. Don’t include grant details and acknowledgements.

Sorry, we cannot accept BibTeX (.bib) bibliography files for references. If you are making your submission by LaTeX, it must either contain all references within the manuscript .tex file itself, or (if you’re using the Overleaf template) include the .bbl file generated during the compilation process as a ‘LaTeX supplementary file’ (see the "Manuscripts" section for more details).

In your reference list, you should:

Include all authors unless there are six or more, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by "et al.". List authors by last name first, followed by a comma and initials (followed by full stops) of given names. Use Roman text for Article and dataset titles, with only the first word of the title having an initial capital and written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop. Use italics for book titles, giving all words in the title an initial capital. Use italics for journal and data repository names, abbreviating them according to common usage (with full stops). Use bold for volume numbers and the subsequent comma. Give the full page range (or article number), where appropriate.

Examples

Published papers:

Printed journals 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. 156, 35-39 (2002).

Online only Bellin, D. L. et al. Electrochemical camera chip for simultaneous imaging of multiple metabolites in biofilms. Nat. Commun. 7, 10535; 10.1038/ncomms10535 (2016).

For papers with more than five authors include only the first author’s name followed by ‘et al.’.

Books: Smith, J. Syntax of referencing in How to reference books (ed. Smith, S.) 180-181 (Macmillan, 2013).

Online material:

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 https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0208066 (2002).

Hao, Z., AghaKouchak, A., Nakhjiri, N. & Farahmand, A. Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) data sets.figsharehttps://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.853801 (2014).

Acknowledgements

Please keep any acknowledgements brief, and don’t include thanks to anonymous referees and editors, or any effusive comments. You may acknowledge grant or contribution numbers. You should also acknowledge assistance from medical writers, proof-readers and editors.

Author contributions

You must supply an Author Contribution Statement as described in the Author responsibilities section of our Editorial and Publishing Policies.

Please be aware:

The author name you give as the corresponding author will be the main contact during the review process and should not change. The information you provide in the submission system will be used as the source of truth when your paper is published.

Competing interests

You must supply a competing interests statement. If there is no conflict of interest, you should include a statement declaring this.

Your statement must be explicit and unambiguous, describing any potential competing interest (or lack thereof) for EACH contributing author. The information you provide in the submission system will be used as the source of truth when your paper is published.

Examples of declarations are:

Competing interests The author(s) declare no competing interests.

Competing interests Dr X"s work has been funded by A. He has received compensation as a member of the scientific advisory board of B and owns stock in the company. He also has consulted for C and received compensation. Dr Y and Dr Z declare no potential conflict of interest.

Data availability

You must include a Data Availability Statement in all submitted manuscripts (at the end of the main text, before the References section); see "Availability of materials and data" section for more information.

Ethics declarations

If your research includes human or animal subjects, you will need to include the appropriate ethics declarations in the Methods section of your manuscript.

Approval for animal experiments

For experiments involving live vertebrates and/or higher invertebrates, your Methods section must include a statement that:

Identifies the institutional and/or licensing committee that approved the experiments, including any relevant details. Confirms that all experiments were performed in accordance with relevant named guidelines and regulations. Confirms that the authors complied with the ARRIVE guidelines.

Approval for human experiments

For experiments involving human subjects (or tissue samples), your Methods section must include a statement that:

Identifies the institutional and/or licensing committee that approved the experiments, including any relevant details. Confirms that all experiments were performed in accordance with relevant named guidelines and regulations. Confirms that informed consent was obtained from all participants and/or their legal guardians.

Consent to participate/Consent to publish

Please note that:

Study participant names (and other personally identifiable information) must be removed from all text/figures/tables/images. The use of coloured bars/shapes or blurring to obscure the eyes/facial region of study participants is not an acceptable means of anonymisation. For manuscripts that include information or images that could lead to identification of a study participant, your Methods section must include a statement that confirms informed consent was obtained to publish the information/image(s) in an online open access publication.

Supplementary Information

You should submit any Supplementary Information together with the manuscript so that we can send it to referees during peer-review. This will be published online with accepted manuscripts.

It’s vital that you carefully check your Supplementary Information before submission as any modification after your paper is published will require a formal correction.

Please avoid including any "data not shown" statements and instead make your data available via deposition in a public repository (see "Availability of materials and data" for more information).

If any data that is necessary to evaluate the claims of your paper is not available via a public depository, make sure you provide it as Supplementary Information.

We do not edit, typeset or proof Supplementary Information, so please present it clearly and succinctly at initial submission, making sure it conforms to the style and terminology of the rest of the paper.

To avoid any delays to publication, please follow the guidelines below for creation, citation and submission of your Supplementary Information:

You can combine multiple pieces of Supplementary Information and supply them as a single composite file. If you wish to keep larger information (e.g. supplementary videos, spreadsheets <.csv or .xlsx> or data files) as another separate file you may do so.

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.

Keep file sizes as small as possible, with a maximum size of 50 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly.

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Supplementary video files should be provided in the standard video aspects: 4:3, 16:9, 21:9.