Information For Authors

Instructions For Authors

Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (RAA) publishes original research papers and reviews on all branches of astronomy and astrophysics. Reviews are by invitation only. Important new results that require rapid published can be submitted as a Letter.

Authors who submit a paper are expected to be able to certify that the paper is original work, has not been published before and is not being considered for publication elsewhere. Papers should be written in grammatical English: authors who have doubts about this should ask a knowledgeable colleague to read a draft critically.

In order to prevent possible instances of plagiarism, RAA will check all incoming articles that are submitted with commercial software designed to detect plagiarism. We will begin to implement this policy immediately. We will contact the author of an article that shows significant amounts of plagiarism. The communications with authors regarding the amount and type of plagiarism will be handled on a case-by-case basis, under the instruction of the responsible scientific editor. We believe that implementing this policy will improve the quality and reliability of the articles published by RAA.

Papers can be typeset directly from the author's TeX or LaTeX file as an alternative to conventional typesetting. Authors are encouraged to prepare their paper using the RAA's macro class file.

Letters must be restricted in length to 6 printed pages. Authors of Letters are encouraged to recommend an expert to write a news and views about their letters.

Authors are encouraged to submit their manuscripts via the RAA Web Peer Review System at If you cannot submit your paper using the web interface, please submit the PDF file of the full paper including all figures and tables to the editor via email at .

Preparation of the Manuscript

  1. Requirements of papers
    1. Manuscript contents
    2. References
  2. Page proofs
  3. Offprints
  4. Macro packages
  5. Electronic submission

1. Requirements of Papers

I. Manuscript Contents

Manuscripts should generally contain: title, author's name, address of author's institution, abstract, max. 6 key words, main text, acknowledgments, list of references, tables and figures. Figures can be submitted either as postscript files or as hard copies. Tables can be prepared in Latex format or sent as hard copies. The author should indicate the locations where the figures and tables should appear in the article. Manuscript pages should be numbered consecutively, as are the figures and tables.


The title of the paper should be concise yet informative.

Authors and addresses

For every manuscript, all authors and all addresses should be listed. Addresses should contain e-mail addresses where possible. A number should precede each address and the authors' names should be marked with the appropriate numerical superscript(s).

Authors should provide an abstract normally of not more than 200 words. The abstract should be self-contained, summarizing concisely the content and conclusions of the paper.

Key words

A maximum of 6 key words should be given following the Abstract. These should be selected from a list that is common to ApJ, A&A and MNRAS, and only key words that appear on the list are allowed.

Click here to download the key words list

Main Text

Manuscripts should be divided into numbered sections and subsections, starting with ``1. INTRODUCTION''. Subsections should be numbered, e.g., 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, etc.; appendices with A, B, etc. All sections must have a short descriptive title.

Abbreviations of concepts, methods, instruments, observatories, etc., may be used throughout the text but the full wording with the abbreviation in parentheses should be given once in the Abstract (if appropriate) and/or once at the first place of mention in the main text (usually in the Introduction).

Figures and tables

Figures submitted to the Journal must be of very good quality to ensure accuracy and clarity in the final published copy, and should preferably be in postscript form. Artwork should be in good focus, with clean, clear numbers and letters and sharp black lines. Thin lines, particularly in figures requiring considerable reduction, should be avoided.

Line artwork

Authors are asked to bear in mind, when preparing their diagrams, the likely reduction that will be needed when the figure is placed in the journal page. It is important to ensure that the line thickness used will withstand a possibly significant reduction in size. This applies to all aspects of the figure, but dotted and dot-dashed lines can cause particular problems. Axis labelling and lettering, too, should be sized appropriately for the figure and its likely final size. Labelling that is far too large for a figure can also be problematic, and may look very odd on the printed page. Unsuitable artwork will be referred back to the author, inevitably leading to delay in publication, and authors will be charged for figures that have to be redrawn.


Tables published in the print version should be prepared using LaTeX. All tables must be mentioned explicitly by number and appear in correct numerical order in the body of the text. That is, Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 must each be mentioned in the text at least once, and the first mention of Table 3 should not precede the first mention of Table 2.


Italic and boldface should be used appropriately to identify physical or mathematical variables. In general, variables are set in light italic, vectors in boldface italic (no arrows). Physical constants such as the speed of light, the Boltzmann constant, the Hubble constant and the solar mass are also set in light italic.

Differential d, complex i, exponential e, sin, cos, tan, log, etc., are Roman.

Sub/superscripts that are physical variables are italic, while those that are just labels are Roman (e.g. Ct, but Teff).

Equations should be punctuated as part of the sentence. Equations in appendices should be numbered (A1), (A2), (B1), etc.


Standard abbreviations for SI units (e.g., m, km, mm) or natural units (e.g., AU, pc, light-year) should be used. Expressions of rate, such as kilometers per second, Joules per square meter, etc., should always be set as, e.g., km s-1, not km/s; J m-2, not J/m2.

The SI-derived unit for energy is Joule (J), but the erg is the unit of energy often used by astronomers by international agreement; and the magnetic unit is Tesla (T), but Gauss is still commonly used. Tesla (T) and Joule (J) are the preferred unit for RAA, but Gauss and erg are acceptable so long as the international astronomers continue to use them.

Units should be in Roman and separated from the number by a "$\backslash$", half-space -- e.g. 200\,keV.

The units of time are ms, s, min, h, d, yr, Gyr.

The units of distance are Å, nm, μm, mm, cm, m, km, AU (au), light-year, pc, kpc, Mpc.

The unit of arcseconds is arcsec when used to denote angular size or separation (e.g. "beamsize 12 arcsec", "30 arcsec west of the star"); use for positions (e.g. Dec. 30o\dg 29$'$ 23$''$) (similarly for arcminutes).

Avoid repeating units unnecessarily (e.g. "1.3 and 2.6 mm" rather than ``1.3 mm and 2.6 mm'').

The unit of magnitudes is "mag", not superscript "m".

Use the degree symbol "\dgree" except to denote e.g. areas, where deg2 may be more appropriate (e.g. "a survey area of 3 deg2").


"e.g., i.e., cf., etc.", are Roman. Letters denoting wavebands (e.g., UBV) are set italic. Colour excess is set as, e.g., E(B-V). Letters denoting orbital states are set Roman. Ionized species should be denoted by small capitals, preceded by a thin space -- e.g., HeI; Computer software (e.g., CLOUDY -- {\sc cloudy}) should be in small capitals. Satellite names should be in italic (e.g., Ginga, IRAS). The correct bracket order is {[( )]}. Acronyms and abbreviations should be spelt out at the first occurrence, unless they are very well known.

Dates should be written in the order: year, month, and day; e.g., ``2000 January 1'', the month being written in full, except in tables, where the standard three-letter abbreviations for months are used without a period.

Figures and tables should be referred to as e.g., ``Figure 1 (Fig. 1 in parentheses)'' and ``Table 1'', unless they are from another paper, in which case ``figure 1 (fig. 1 in parentheses)'' and ``table 1'' should be used. Equations should be referred as Equation~(No.), and as Eq.(No) in parentheses, equations from another paper should be referred as equation~(number) or eq.~(number) in parentheses. Sections should be referred to as Section and Sect. in parentheses.

II. References

Citations in Text

References should be cited in text by the last name of the author(s) and the date of publication (Hale 1929). There is no comma before the date. For papers with two authors, join author names with an ampersand (Press & Rybicki 1992). Papers by three or more authors are cited by the first author followed by "et al." and the date (Goodman et al. 2003).

References are given in parentheses unless the author's name is part of the sentence, e.g., "the σ-model (Smoot et al. 1992)" but "according to Smoot et al. (1992)." If a parenthetical citation cites two or more papers, separate them by a semicolon: (Vittorio & Turner 1987; Peebles 1993). If two or more papers by the same author(s) are cited together, the author(s) is/are listed just once, with the dates of the papers following, separated by commas: (Peebles 1982, 1993, 1995). To distinguish papers by the same author(s) published in the same year, append a, b, c, etc., to the date: e.g., Paczynski (1995a, b).

Reference List


All sources cited in the text and tables must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper, and all entries in the reference list must be cited in the text. Reference entries should be ordered alphabetically, starting with the last name of the first author, followed by the first author's initial(s), and so on for each additional author. For papers with more than five authors, the last name and initials of the first three authors only should be listed, followed by a comma and "et al." References listed as "et al." are grouped together and last, as if the second author started with "z"; they are not alphabetized by the name of the actual second author. Multiple entries for one author or one group of authors should be ordered chronologically, and multiple entries for the same year should be distinguished by appending sequential lower-case letters to the year, even if the author groups are not identical: e.g., Smith, E., Rowe, T., & Jones, A. B. 1999a; Smith, A. B., Thomas, J. R., & Peebles, P. J. E. 1999b; Smith et al. 1999c (because all will appear as "Smith et al. 1999" in the text).

Citation of Electronic Sources

Electronic catalogs, databases, observers' guides, instrument documentation, electronic conference proceedings, electronic journals, and other stable (non-changing) documents available online should be listed in the reference list in the same manner as other references. These should give the author(s) or authoring agency, title of the document, location and name of the hosting organization (e.g., Pasadena, CA: JPL), version consulted if any, page or document number if any, and the URL (see examples below). References in this class include databases, manuals, conference proceedings, and similar documents, but not general informational sites for instruments or projects, sites for downloading computer code, or papers posted on personal web pages. Citations of electronic journals should follow normal journal format, omitting page number if none are used, followed by the URL. See below for examples.

Note that URLs for all other electronic resources, such as personal web pages, general informational sites for organizations, telescopes, surveys, projects, proposals, sites for uploading computer or mathematical code, and other sites whose content regularly changes, should be given in a footnote at first mention in the text, but not listed in the reference list.

Unpublished Material

References to papers in preparation, preprints, or other sources generally not available to readers should be avoided if possible. If no published form is available, preprints may be listed in the reference list. Private communications, unpublished works, and papers in preparation should be cited only in the run of text, giving authors' initials and the year if completion is imminent, e.g., F. Carlon et al. (2009, in preparation).

In the references list, use no bold or italic, use commas after author surnames, and use ampersand between the final two author names. Examples of correct styles for some common reference forms are given below.

Journal article

Lin, W. P., B{\"o}rner, G., & Mo, H. J. 2000, MNRAS, 319, 517

Author [Last name, First-name initials], Author, (add ampersand) Author, Year, Journal abbreviated title, Volume number, First page of article

``Letters'' are denoted by the prefix ``L'' on the page number (e.g. ApJ, 279, L23).


Harwit, M., 1998, Astrophysical Concepts (3rd ed.; Berlin: Springer)

Author [Last name, First-name initials], & Author, Year, Title, Edition, if any; (City of publication: Publisher)


Article or chapter in an edited collection
Huchra, J. A. 1986, in Inner Space/Outer Space, eds., E. W. Kolb, et al. (Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press), 65

Author(s) [Last name, First-name initials], Year, in Collection title, Editors by first-name initials followed by last name (City of publication: Publisher), First page of article

Conference proceedings

Gunn, J. E., Knapp, G. 1993, in ASP Conf. Ser. Vol. 43, Sky Surveys., ed., T. B. Soifer (San Francisco: ASP), 267

Author(s) [Last name, First-name initials], Year, in Conference series title [ASP Conf. Ser., AIP Conf. Proc., IAU Colloq., IAU Symp., etc.] and number, Volume title, Editors by first-name initials followed by last name, ed., (City of publication: Publisher), First page of article


Smith, A. B. 1999, preprint (astro-ph/9912345)

Author(s) [Last name, First-name initials], Year, preprint (preprint series and number)

Star catalogs

Hoffleit, D., 1982, The Bright Star Catalogue (New Haven: Yale Univ. Obs.)

Author(s) [Last name, First-name initials], Year, Catalog title (City of publication: Publisher)

Private communications and papers in preparation
Papers in preparation and information obtained through private communications should be cited in the text but should not be included in the reference list.

For journal articles, list the short title of the periodical. IAU abbreviations should be used. The following are some acronyms used for frequently cited journals:

  • A&A Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • A&AS Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series
  • AJ Astronomical Journal
  • ApJ Astrophysical Journal
  • ApJS Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
  • Ap&SS Astrophysics and Space Science
  • ARA&A Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Azh Astronomicheskij Zhurnal
  • ChJAA Chinese Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • MNRAS Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • PASJ Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
  • PASP Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  • RAA Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics

2. Page Proofs

Page proofs will be sent to the authors by e-mail (ps file). Proofs should be read carefully, particularly equations and other numerical matter. It is the responsibility of each author to check the proofs, reply to any queries, and notify the production team of any typographical errors. When updating the reference list, please be careful to update textual citations as well if the year has changed.

3. Offprints

For each article, 20 offprints are supplied free of charge. Additional copies may be ordered at cost price.

4. Macro Packages for Manuscript Preparation

Your manuscript is required to be LaTeX-prepared using the RAA macro packages: the macro class raa.cls for LaTeX2e following the sample file sample.tex. Please download raa-package.tar and read readme first. Using the option 'referee' for submission before your paper is accepted.

Click here to download the RAA macro package.

5. Electronic-Submission Procedure

Your full paper including all figures and tables must be compiled in a single pdf file. We suggest you compress the pdf file whenever its size larger than 10 MB. The formats of .zip, .gz, .tar or .rar are acceptable.

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