Information for Authors

Required Components


Length - 8-20 pages, double-spaced

Font - Times New Roman 12 pt.

Format - 2 paper copies and 1 electronic copy

Software - Microsoft Word for PC (.doc file)

Images - Submitted as separate TIFF or JPEG files; at least 300 dpi with dimensions of at least 4x6; including captions, credit, and copyright information if applicable

Figures/Tables - Labeled clearly with captions and included at the end of the document, with one figure or table per page

Style - Scientific American (direct questions to Managing Editor)

Sections - As described in the attached formatting instructions


All submissions must also include a completed Mentor Approval Form.

Manuscripts that do not adhere to the general guidelines will be returned to the author for revision.

Required Formatting


  • Title Page
    Include the title of your project, your name, name of the university where research was conducted, name of your home university (if different), the name of your faculty mentor and your supervisor(s).

  • Abstract
    Include a one-paragraph (4–5 sentences) abstract that summarizes your project’s purpose, goal, and results. Do not include references in the abstract.

  • Introduction
    A clear statement of the problem and why it is important or interesting. Also, include the central problem/question/hypothesis to be addressed in the report.
  • Background
    A review of literature, illustrating prior research that set the precedent for your investigation.
  • Approach
    Describe your approach to the problem (you should not detail experimental protocols); what are the advantages and powers of the techniques you used or the design you proposed; what are the disadvantages or controversies involved, if any? (This would replace the "materials and methods" section of a standard report.)

  • Results
    Explain your results and discuss their implications. You do not need to separate the results and discussion sections. Use your own discretion. Remember that your audience is most interested in the conclusions that you draw.

  • Discussion
    What do the results of your work mean? Do they resolve the problem? Provide statistical or theoretical analysis. Were there limitations of the data or problems with the methodology? Are there questions left unanswered?

  • Conclusions
    Briefly summarize and reiterate the major findings of your research. What are the directions for future work (if applicable).

  • References

How to cite your sources in your text

  • Number your sources in text.
  • Begin with 1 and number each reference consecutively. When citing a reference two or more times, do not give it a new number. Simply refer to the number used the initial time the source was cited. Do not combine numbers and letters (1 and 2, not 1a and 1b).
  • Occasionally you may need to cite more than one reference at a time. In this case, include the reference numbers in increasing order separated with commas (no spaces in superscript, spaces on line). Use a dash if the numbers are part of a continuous series of 3 or more references.
  • results indicated 3,7,8
    were found 5-7,9

  • The end of a sentence is the most common place to cite a reference. However, you may also include a citation at a natural breaking point within the sentence, for instance before a comma or a conjunction (and, but, or). Citations should not interfere with the readability of the text.

Making a reference list

  • Put a reference list at the end of the paper in numerical order.
  • Include complete and accurate information. The minimum amount of information required for book and journal sources varies.
  • Minimum information for journals: author, abbreviated journal title, year, publication, volume number, and initial page of cited article, though complete pagination is possible),
  • Minimum information for books: author or editor, book title, publisher, city of publication and year of publication.
  • Use only numerals in page numbering:



  • Abbreviated journal names and volume numbers appear in italics. (The ACS Style Guide (1997) provides a list of journal title abbreviations.)
  • The year of the article should be in boldface.
  • Most scientific journals are paginated continuously. That is, page numbering continues from issue to issue. For instance, if one issue ends on page 706, the next issue begins on page 707. Occasionally a scientific publication may be paginated separately with every issue starting on page 1. If the journal is paginated continuously, include only the volume number. If the journal is paginated separately, include the volume number followed by the issue number in parentheses.
    Journal with Continuous Pagination
    Woodbridge, E.L.; Fletcher, T.R.; Laufer, A.H. J. Phys. Chem. 1988 , 92 , 4938.
    Journal with Individual Pagination
    Freemantle, M. Chem. Eng. News 1998 , 76 (28), 15-16.
    It is not necessary to include words like "Company," "Inc.," "Publisher," and "Press" in publishers' names.
  • Book titles should be in italics.
  • The ACS Style Guide (1997) provides a list of abbreviations commonly used in book references (Vol., No.).
    Books without an Editor
    Calvert, J.G.; Pitts, J.N. Photochemistry ; Wiley: New York, 1966; pp 156-186.
    Books with an Editor
    The Carbohydrates: Chemistry and Biochemistry ; Pigman, William W., Ed.; Academic Press: New York, 1970; p 45.