Research Note Preparation Guidelines

Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society (RNAAS) is a publication in the AAS portfolio (alongside ApJ, AJ, ApJ Supplements, and ApJ Letters) through which authors can promptly and briefly share materials of interest with the astronomical community in a form that will be searchable via ADS and permanently archived. The official scope of the RNAAS can be found here.

A Note can be submitted to the Editorial Office in LaTeX (preferably with the new rnaastex.cls classfile and template package), MS/Word, or prepared and submitted through the Authorea or Overleaf online collaborative editors. Research Notes are free to read and currently carry no author publication charges.

Length & Content

Submissions to RNAAS should be brief communications — 1,000 words or fewer, with no more than a single figure or table (but not both) — and should be written in a style similar to that of a traditional journal article, including references, where appropriate, but not including an abstract.

The 1,000 word count limit includes title, affiliations, authors, headers, captions, and references. An easy way to count the number of words in a Research Note is to use the texcount utility installed with most LaTeX installations, or by copying the words into MS/Word and using ”Word Count” under the Tool tab. The call texcount -v3 -merge -incbib -dir -sub=none -utf8 -sum rnaas.tex includes the options to pick up references and provides a nice visual summary of which words are included; this produces a result consistent with the Overleaf word count. Please note that the original version of these instructions failed to add the -sum option for texcount, leading to inaccurate estimates of the total words in a TeX file. Nevertheless the AAS Editorial office's word count is the final arbiter of the limit.

Authors are expected to follow the Professional and Ethical Standards for the AAS Journals (Kennicutt et al. 2006), including guidance on plagiarism (Vishniac 2012).

Research Notes are published as they are submitted, with no further language review or production services. Our priority for Research Notes is fast circulation of knowledge, and this process means they can be published as quickly as possible. It does mean that typos and other such errors will be published if they appear in the original submission.

Figures, Tables, & Data

As mentioned above, a Research Note should include no more than a single figure or table (but not both), where appropriate. While table contents do not count against the word count of a Note, caption text will. The Note figure can be submitted in EPS, PDF, WMF, TIFF, GIF, JPEG, or BMP formats. Including the data behind the figure in a Note is encouraged, and the submitted data will be provided as a link in the published Note.

References, Facilities, & Code

Acknowledge people, facilities, and software in a Note but remember that these count against your 1000 word limit. Citations to the literature or to code should follow standard AAS Journal recommendations.


Unlike the other journals in the AAS portfolio, RNAAS publications are not peer reviewed; they are, however, reviewed by an editor for appropriateness and format before publication. If accepted, RNAAS submissions are typically published within 72 hours of manuscript receipt. Each RNAAS is issued a DOI and indexed by ADS to create a long-term, citable record of work.