FAQs about author guidelines

What is the page limit for papers? 

Different journals and article types have different page limits. Please refer to the individual journal pages for more details. 

Do I need to provide data and code on first submission?

Yes, it is a condition of publication that data, code and materials supporting your paper are made publicly available on submission as they must be available for reviewers and Editors to assess during review. In the data accessibility section, please explain how we can access your data or code. This can be via temporary (private) links to data in a repository like Dryad, Figshare or Zenodo, or as supplementary material. We do not permit the use of services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Do I need to provide an ethics statement?

If your study requires ethical approval or a permit, then yes, please provide an ethics statement in our submission system. This must include information about the ethical approval, licence or permit numbers associated with the study (including fieldwork permits) and specific guidelines followed. You may also include other details not included in your methods, such as specimen numbers.

How much does it cost to publish an open access paper in a Royal Society journal? 

The journal charges an article processing charge (APC) of £1200 for Royal Society Open Science, £1500 for Open Biology and £1700 for all other journals. However, your institution may have a Read & Publish agreement with the Royal Society. If so, then the APC will be covered by the deal.

How do I choose my preferred Board member to handle my paper?

Please refer to the Editorial Board pages for each journal. Keywords are sometimes listed for each Editorial Board member and can be used to select the most appropriate person with the right set of expertise to handle your paper.

What are Evidence Synthesis papers and how do I submit one?

Evidence synthesis is important to ensure well-founded policymaking and public debate. Due to the complex nature of decision-making, policymakers often need timely access to an unbiased summary of all the available relevant evidence. Synthesis techniques can usefully draw together large amounts of information and turn it into usable knowledge that benefits society. Evidence Synthesis papers are published by Proceedings A, Proceedings B and Royal Society Open Science.

What can I do if I would like English language editing support?

A large number of editing services are available, but the Royal Society has arranged discounts with a pair of services for authors submitting to our journals. Find out more

I have not heard anything about my paper's peer review process, and I submitted longer ago than your reported decision times. What is going on?

The decision times reported on our Publishing times webpage are averages, and are indicative rather than guarantees. All journals rely on the availability of Editors and peer reviewers to complete peer review, and at times it can be harder for them to return reports as quickly as they would prefer. If you would like an update on your paper, you may contact the journal's editorial office for advice, and you can suggest more peer reviewers to the journal at any time by email.

I need my paper accepted by a particular date. Can you guarantee this?

We will try to accommodate this, but cannot guarantee acceptance of any paper by a specific date. The average times to decision can be found on our Publishing times webpage. How quickly a paper completes peer review depends on the availability of Editors and reviewers to look at the paper. If you would like an update on your paper, you may contact the journal's editorial office for advice, and you can suggest more peer reviewers to the journal at any time by email.

What do you mean by transparent peer review? I am a reviewer, will my name be made public?

A number of our journals operate transparent peer review, which essentially means that, for papers accepted in those journals, the peer review histories (decision letters, reviewer reports, author responses) are made available via the Web of Science Reviewer Recognition service. This allows readers to better understand the journey of the paper from submission to acceptance, and provides reviewers with the opportunity of claiming public credit for their service via a citeable DOI to the review(s) they have provided. The journals operating transparent peer review encourage referees to waive their right to anonymity, and many do sign their names, but this remains optional: your name will only be made available to authors and readers if you opt to provide it.

I received a revision decision, but I am going to struggle to meet the deadline. What can I do?

We can often be flexible with revision deadlines. If you feel unable to meet yours, please contact the relevant journal editorial office with the date you anticipate being able to submit your revision, along with any questions you may have. 

My LaTeX files aren't compiling. How can I fix this?

If your LaTeX files are not compiling, we would recommend submitting your 'main document' as a PDF, and providing all of your LaTeX files in a supplementary material zip folder (however do make sure that the files are not extracted when you upload them). In this way, we will have a version of your paper for your reviewers and all of your source files for our Production team.

How do I know if my university has a transformative agreement in place with the Royal Society?

You can check whether your university has an agreement with us on our website, as well as the terms of this agreement.

Can I use GitHub to provide my additional data?

Material may be provided via GitHub for the review stage, however this must be moved to a more permanent, publicly accessible repository during revision, preferably one with version control and which provides a DOI for your material.

Does my supplementary material also need to be deposited with a data repository?

No, data and code should not be duplicated across more than one location. We will deposit your supplementary material in the Royal Society Figshare portal and it will be assigned a DOI. Authors are free to make use of both the supplementary material option and the data repository option for their manuscript, but please ensure that any particular dataset is only deposited in one location.

Can I upload my supplementary material files in a zip folder?

Yes, folders are accepted by Figshare, where your supplementary files will be archived.