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CSL Submission Guidelines

The primary audience of Connected Science Learning is STEM learning professionals, especially practitioners with responsibility for program development, in both in-school and out-of-school science learning environments (ranging from schools to museums, afterschool programs, media and technology experiences, and home and family learning).

Acceptable submissions must include most, if not all, of the following elements:

  • Clearly show how program development included extensive collaboration between in-school and out-of-school STEM learning settings, including co-creation of programs when possible.
  • Thoroughly describe practical and successful connected STEM learning program ideas and strategies that appeal to a wide audience and are applicable to the readership of Connected Science Learning, including detailed examples of key program elements.
  • Provide outcomes from the program's evaluation.
  • Include examples of youth experiences and interactions that demonstrate your manuscript is an authentic, connected experience involving in-school and out-of-school learning. Manuscripts should identify the target age of the youth involved in your collaboration.
  • Provide recommendations regarding how the program ideas and strategies can be adopted/adapted by others.
  • Provide examples of what may have gone wrong, unexpected results, and unforeseen challenges.
  • Include support for claims made in the manuscript, including research citations and personal anecdotal evidence.
  • Suggest additional supplemental material that can be embedded in the publication, including videos, podcasts, and websites.
  • Demonstrate that youth engaged in STEM learning are operating in a safe environment—see NSTA's safety in the learning environment standards.

We do not publish feature articles that

  • Do not include activities that bridge between in-school and out-of-school STEM learning.
  • Have been previously published in either print or digital format (e.g., websites, blogs, e-books). Supplemental material that has been published before (e.g., websites, blogs, e-books) are acceptable and encouraged.
  • Focus on research without providing the practical details necessary for the application of the ideas.
  • Contain material that is not original, or do not provide a unique, proven approach to a typical in-school/out-of-school collaboration.
  • Are strictly opinions, a personal rather than professional experience, travelogues, personal reflections, or diary-type submissions.
  • Are term papers, dissertations, university writing assignments, lists of ideas, or materials reviews.
  • Promote a commercial product such as materials, books, software, or professional services.

Preparing your manuscript

Our manuscripts go through a modified double-blind peer-review process and must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Submit only a blinded version to Manuscript Central. Do not include names or institutions other than in the Authors & Institutions section and in a cover letter. Do not include a cover page that identifies authors and/or institutions as part of your manuscript. In some instances, it may be appropriate to include links to web pages in your manuscript (even if they identify author institutions) if they provide important or essential context.
  2. Submit your manuscript as a Word document. Your manuscript should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins and numbered pages. Use the same 12-point font throughout the manuscript. The main body of your manuscript should be approximately 2,000-4,000 words. References, captions, and other supplementary information are not included in the word count. 
  3. A 200-word (maximum) abstract should accompany your submission. This is entered in a separate field in Manuscript Central and should not be included in your manuscript. The abstract is used to help select reviewers and will not be published. 
  4. Full-size figures, photos, and other graphics must be uploaded as separate files (see Supplemental Files below). This is done in the File Upload section in Manuscript Central. 
  5. Reference and resource lists should be alphabetized by author and limited to current, readily available items. Such lists may be included at the end of your manuscript or uploaded as a separate supplementary file. Cite only the most germane references; in most cases this should not exceed 10 references. Provide a page number for any direct quote.

Your manuscript will be returned if it is not submitted as specified above, which will delay the review process.


We take classroom safety seriously. Before you submit your article, please review our safety guidelines.

Supplemental files

Upload full-size photos and figure/table graphics as separate files in the File Upload section in Manuscript Central. You should also embed photos and figures in the text of your manuscript in the approximate area where they should appear. In addition to your main manuscript, Connected Science Learning actively seeks and will give priority to manuscripts that have supplemental materials, such as those identified below.

  • Digital resources, which can be embedded in the digital journal. We are interested in audio (.mpeg) and video files (.flv), images (.jpg), presentations such as PowerPoint files, and other digital resources that enhance your article. You can also provide links to other online resources, such as YouTube videos and educational websites.
  • Photos of youth or the environment/setting of the programs you describe. Be sure any participants are behaving in a safe manner and have appropriate safety attire, including indirectly vented, chemical-splash goggles, gloves, and aprons. Any photos showing participants not following proper safety procedures cannot be used in the journal. You can include photos of participants in the program, examples of apparatus used, the experiences in progress, or instructional images. Photos of participants should be candid; they should be engaged in the experience, not posing for the camera. If photos of minors (under 18) are used, a signed model release form is required for each identifiable youth. This can be provided after manuscript acceptance. Photos should be high resolution (a minimum of 300 dpi), so please check your camera settings before taking any pictures. Authors are responsible for permissions for the use of any graphics or photos and for the accuracy of permissions, citations, quotations, figures, and facts used in their manuscripts.

Submitting your manuscript

All manuscripts are submitted electronically via Manuscript Central. You will receive a confirmation of your manuscript being received. The Editor will then communicate with you concerning questions, decisions, and reviewer suggestions.

What our reviewers look for

An initial review is completed by the Field Editor to ensure the manuscript meets the basic requirements of the publication. Once the manuscript fulfills the basic requirements, it will be assigned to a team of two to three reviewers whose background and expertise will match the content of your manuscript. Reviewers are provided a form on which to provide their reviews. You can see the form here.

After the reviews have been received and considered, a decision will be made about your manuscript. The Field Editor has the following choices:

  • Accept,
  • Send for Minor Revisions,
  • Send for Major Revisions,
  • Reject with Encouragement to Resubmit, or
  • Reject.

You will have the option of revising your manuscript if it is not rejected. Once we receive your revision, it will go through another review. Reviewers will look for your responses to their suggestions and consider if it has been revised to meet the profile and standards of Connected Science Learning. Please note that the review/revision process may take a few rounds.

Upon acceptance

The process is not over when your manuscript is accepted. You will be asked to clarify and provide additional information as the manuscript is reviewed by our editorial team. You will be asked to update your material; identify the people and institutions you had left out during the blind review; complete your biography; provide model releases, credits, and captions for photos if you have not done so; and submit other support material you may want to include.


If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the journal by e-mail.

Connected Science Learning
Katherine Roberts
1840 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201-3000

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