Skip to main content
 

Guidelines for Authors: Science Scope

About Science Scope

Science Scope coverScience Scope is an award-winning, peer-reviewed, practitioners' journal for grade 6–8 teachers, university faculty responsible for teacher preparation, and state and district science supervisors and leaders. Science Scope is published six times a year and is available in print and as an e-journal. Science Scope subscribers are members of the National Science Teachers who select it as their preferred journal.

We seek manuscripts that detail innovative, classroom-tested middle school science activities and strategies. We hope you will consider writing a manuscript for Science Scope to interest our readers and enhance middle school science teaching. NSTA offers no remuneration for published articles.

Manuscript submission and review is handled electronically through Manuscript Central. Step by step directions for submission can be found at the Manuscript Central website.

Creating a Manuscript for Science Scope

Getting Started

To understand the voice, format, and type of articles published in Science Scope, it is strongly recommended that you read a few past issues of the journal. You will find access to many articles in the NSTA Learning Center at http://learningcenter.nsta.org.

Each issue of Science Scope is centered on a theme (see the call for papers for upcoming themes). While your manuscript does not need to address a theme, the more it matches the call for papers for a theme, the more likely it is that it will be published in that issue. However, to provide our readers with a broad spectrum of ideas, we regularly publish articles that are not theme-based. Science Scope also publishes several columns that focus on specific topics, such Integrating Technology and Teacher's Toolkit. Descriptions of these columns are provided at the end of the call for papers.

You are strongly encouraged to use the 5E Instructional Model when submitting a feature article that describes a classroom activity. In addition, manuscripts should provide the following:

  • content area, grade level, big idea/unit, essential pre-existing knowledge, time required, cost;
  • practical, timely classroom ideas and strategies that appeal to a wide middle level audience;
  • examples of teacher and student interactions and classroom information that demonstrate that your manuscript is an authentic, classroom-tested activity;
  • suggestions for managing the activity, such as monitoring student engagement; and distributing, storing, and disposing of materials and equipment;
  • all aspects of the learning experience from pre-assessment through summative assessment;
  • Word documents of supplemental materials such as worksheets, checklists, assessments, and rubrics that enable the reader to quickly integrate your described activity into their classroom;
  • safety precautions. See NSTA Safety in the Science Classroom, Laboratory, or Field Studies to assist you;
  • support for claims made in the manuscript, including research citations and personal anecdotal evidence.

We do not publish feature articles that:

  • have been previously published in either print or digital format (websites, blogs, e-books, etc.);
  • focus on research without providing ample practical details for the classroom application of the research results or ideas;
  • contain material that is not original, or does not provide a unique approach to a classic activity;
  • are strictly opinions, personal reflections, travelogues, or diary-type submissions;
  • are term papers, dissertations, university writing assignments, outlines of lesson or unit plans, lists of ideas, or reviews of literature;
  • promote a commercial product such as materials, books, software, or professional services;
  • do not apply to middle level (grades 6–8) science teaching and learning.

Preparing Your Manuscript

There are several guidelines that need to be followed when writing and submitting your manuscript. If you do not follow these guidelines your manuscript will likely be returned to you. Also, please review this annotated sample manuscript and video by Editor Patty McGinnis:

  • Our manuscripts go through a double-blind peer-review process. Do not include names or institutions within the text of your manuscript. Do not include a cover sheet that shows your name or any other identifying information. Submit only the blinded version to Manuscript Central.
  • Submit the main body of your manuscript as a Word document (.doc). Figures, photos, and other graphics may be embedded in the Word document, but we prefer that these elements be uploaded as separate files during the submission process (see Supplemental Materials section). Manuscript Central will convert all of the elements into a PDF for our reviewers. If accepted and assigned to a specific issue of Science Scope, the editorial team will work with the original Word document you submitted. If your manuscript is not submitted as a Word document, it will be returned to you—which will delay the review process.
  • The main body of your manuscript should be approximately 2,000 words. References, captions, and other supplementary text are not included in the word count.
  • Your manuscript should be double spaced, use 12-point font and have one-inch margins. Avoid extra formatting of any kind.
  • A 200-word abstract should accompany your submission.
  • References and resources lists should be alphabetized by author and limited to current, readily available items. Cite only the most germane references. Provide a page number for any direct quote. See previous issues of Science Scope for reference format.
  • We strongly encourage you to demonstrate how your manuscript aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013). If your state hasn't yet adopted the NGSS, please visit www.nextgenscience.org to familiarize yourself with the document and see how your manuscript aligns with the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Cross Cutting Concepts.

Please arrange the NGSS references in a table using the format shown below. The table should include a column that provides evidence of how the activities described in your article connect to the three dimensions of the NGSS. Connections to the Common Core State Standards are also welcome. Please note that engineering articles should include a life science, physical science, or earth science standard in addition to an engineering standard.

Submitting your manuscript

All manuscripts are submitted electronically through Manuscript Central at mc.manuscriptcentral.com/nsta. The first time you enter Manuscript Central you will be asked to set up an account. User-friendly step by step submissions directions are given on the website. Make sure you submit a Word document without a cover sheet and with all individual or institution identifiers removed—even on screenshots and in live websites or website addresses.

You will be notified when your manuscript has been successfully posted on Manuscript Central. A notice will also be sent to the Science Scope Field Editor who will first check your manuscript for compliance with the guidelines in the above sections. If no compliance problems are found, your manuscript will be sent to 3 selected members of the Science Scope Review Panel whose background and expertise match the content of your manuscript. If there are problems with compliance to guidelines, you will be sent a letter detailing what needs to be done before re-submitting your manuscript under the same identification number it was initially given.

Finally, run through this summary of the author guidelines and author checklist to make sure that your manuscript is complete before you submit it. Click here to view.


Download sample blank table

Connecting to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013)

  • The chart below makes one set of connections between the instruction outlined in this article and the NGSS. Other valid connections are likely; however, space restrictions prevent us from listing all possibilities.
  • The materials, lessons, and activities outlined in the article are just one step toward reaching the performance expectations listed below. MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.

Click here for an annotated NGSS table that might be submitted with a standard manuscript
Click here for an annotated NGSS table that might be submitted with an engineering manuscript

Standard
MS-ESS2: Earth's Systems
www.nextgenscience.org/dci-arrangement/ms-ess2-earths-systems
Performance Expectation
MS-ESS2-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Dimension Classroom Connection
Science and Engineering Practice
Developing and Using Models

Students construct initial, revised, and final models to show how Axial Seamount was formed.
Analyzing and Interpreting Data Students analyze and interpret multiple data sets, including earthquake and radiometric data. They also determine which data to collect and analyze as they test their final models.
Disciplinary Core Idea
ESS2-A. Earth Materials and Systems
  • The planet's systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth's history and will determine its future.
 
Students discover the cycling of oceanic crust through mapping the Cascadia subduction zone and examining patterns in radiometric dating of the seafloor.
Crosscutting Concept
Patterns
 
Students discover plate boundaries through mapping recent earthquakes.

Connections to the Common Core State Standards (NGAC and CCSSO 2010)

ELA
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.
Mathematics
CCSS.Math.MP.2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

Supplemental files

In addition to your main manuscript, it is highly recommended that you upload the following as separate files rather than embed them in the text of your manuscript. 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.

  • Photos of students involved in the work you are describing. Be sure students are participating in a safe manner and have appropriate safety attire. Photos of students should be candid; they should be engaged in the activity, not posing for the camera. If photos of students are used, a signed model release form is required for each identifiable student. Signed forms can be submitted to use after manuscript acceptance. Photos should be high resolution (a minimum of 300 dpi), so please check your camera settings before taking any pictures. You may also include photos of student work (with all identifying information removed), examples of apparatus used, the activity in progress, or images to be used in instruction.
  • WeTransfer screenshotSupport materials you use to organize your lesson and support to students. These include tables, charts, graphs, record sheets, assessments, rubrics, etc. Supplemental materials may be used in the journal article or we may provide a link to them in our NSTA Connections webpage. Note that these materials will be evaluated by the reviewers.
  • Trade books directly related to the Disciplinary Core Idea(s) presented in your manuscript. These must be scientifically accurate and grade level appropriate. Refer to the trade books in the manuscript text and include them in a Resources section at the end of the manuscript.
  • Author videos and other supplemental multimedia files, which can be posted on our NSTA Connections web page, embedded in the digital edition of the journal, and added to NSTA's YouTube channel. We are interested in audio and video files, slideshows, 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. If you would like to submit a file, please use www.wetransfer.com to upload your file and share it with sciencescope@nsta.org using the box found on the left of the screen at wetransfer.com (see screenshot). Be sure to include your name and the title of your manuscript in the Message box.

Letters to the Editor

We welcome letters to the Editor. Letters should be submitted in a timely manner and focus directly on an issue addressed in Science Scope and be validated by reference to research. Limit letters to 300 words. For verification purposes, include writer's name, institutional affiliation, address, and e-mail.

All letters are subject to editing for clarity and space. Writers whose letters are chosen for print will be notified. Authors of articles addressed in Letters to the Editor will be given a chance to respond to the letter writer's comments.

Letters to the Editor should not be submitted through Manuscript Central. Instead, they should be e-mailed to scope@nsta.org.

A final check before submitting

Many of our authors find it helpful to ask a colleague to read their manuscript prior to submission. Ask them to consider whether you have shared the complete experience and identified the grade level, assessment techniques, safety considerations, and how it aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards.

You might want to share the section "What our reviewers look for" with your colleague. This will help them provide you with valuable input.

Submitting your manuscript

All manuscripts are submitted electronically through Manuscript Central at mc.manuscriptcentral.com/nsta. The first time you enter Manuscript Central you will be asked to set up an account. User-friendly step by step submissions directions are given on the website. Make sure you submit a Word document without a cover sheet and with all individual or institution identifiers removed—even on screenshots and in live websites or website addresses.

You will be notified when your manuscript has been successfully posted on Manuscript Central. A notice will also be sent to the Science Scope Field Editor who will first check your manuscript for compliance with the guidelines in the above sections. If no compliance problems are found, your manuscript will be sent to 3 selected members of the Science Scope Review Panel whose background and expertise match the content of your manuscript. If there are problems with compliance to guidelines, you will be sent a letter detailing what needs to be done before re-submitting your manuscript under the same identification number it was initially given.

Finally, run through this summary of the author guidelines and author checklist to make sure that your manuscript is complete before you submit it. Click here to view.

What our reviewers look for

Reviewers are notified of a review assignment and provide input to the Science Scope Field Editor through Manuscript Central. Reviewers are asked to provide feedback on a set of questions, which you may preview. After the reviews have been received and considered, the Field Editor will take one of the following actions with regards to your manuscript: Accept, Send for Minor Revisions, Send for Major Revisions, Reject with Encouragement to Resubmit, or Reject. You will be sent a detailed letter informing you of the decision. If your manuscript is not rejected, you will have the option of revising it according to the submission directions and reviewers' suggestions contained in the Field Editor's decision letter.

All revised manuscripts are submitted to Manuscript Central, and like the original, must be blinded before being submitted. Once we are in receipt of your revision, it will go through another blind peer review. Reviewers will look for your responses to their suggestions and consider if the manuscript has been revised to meet the format and quality of Science Scope. Please note that the review/revision process may go on for 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 also be asked to update your material; identify the people and institutions you had omitted 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.

Even if your manuscript was for an issue on a particular theme and then accepted, it may not appear in that issue of Science Scope. Space is limited, and the Field Editor may choose to save your article for a future issue in order to balance the grade level and subject matter of the content presented in the current issue. Articles are typically published within two years of acceptance.

Once your article is published, you will receive five complimentary copies of the issue in which it appeared. NSTA will hold copyright to your manuscript, but our Copyright Transfer Agreement gives authors broad rights to reuse their work as long as the original source material is properly cited.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the journal by phone or email.

Science Scope
Caroline Barnes, Managing Editor
1840 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201-3000

Asset 2