Format and Content

General guidelines for preparing manuscripts are available on our Authors Instructions page. We strongly encourage authors to write their articles so that they are comprehensible by a wide, interdisciplinary audience. All manuscripts must be clearly written in English and should avoid overly technical or jargon-laden language. Authors are responsible for preparing their manuscripts in the proper format. The editors may return manuscripts written in substandard English without further review.

Lead Paragraph

Articles submitted to Chaos should additionally contain a lead paragraph. This paragraph, which will be highlighted in the journal in boldface type, essentially advertises the main points of the article. It must describe in terms accessible to the nonspecialist reader the context and significance of the research and the importance of the results. The editors pay special attention to the clarity of this lead paragraph and may suggest edits.

Article types

Regular Articles are unsolicited manuscripts describing original research on a topic that falls within the scope of the journal. There is no limit on the length of these articles.

Fast Track articles report on the most novel, high-impact, cutting edge, technically significant developments in the field. Because of the urgency and scientific importance of the work, Fast Track articles have an accelerated review process. To aid the quick review process, Fast Track articles should not exceed 5,750 words (approximately six printed journal pages). Abstract, title, author list, references, and acknowledgments are excluded from the 5,750-word limit. Figures, tables, and equations are included and must be accounted for by calculating a word count equivalent to the space they occupy. The abstract itself should not exceed 250 words. The editors initially screen all Fast Track manuscript submissions for novelty and quality and then send the manuscripts for review. The response time for a review is typically fewer than 30 days.

Review articles in Chaos are intended to be in-depth overviews of important or emerging topics that are of interest to the nonlinear dynamics community. Reviews can either focus on fundamental research in nonlinear dynamics or on the applications of nonlinear dynamics to problems in other scientific disciplines. Such articles are typically solicited from leading researchers in the field, but authors are also welcome to contact the editor-in-chief with proposals for review articles. There are no strict length requirements for reviews and authors should not feel obligated to write long articles unless it is appropriate for the topic. In fact, many reviews published in Chaos are only slightly longer than regular articles.

Perspective papers focus on topics which anticipate future directions or currently generate a great deal of interest in Nonlinear and Complex Systems Science, as well as in their applications. They provide an original and innovative view of recent advances in a methodological or applied subfield. A Perspective needs to contain an assessment of the current status of the field, which can be achieved through a mini-review component, but also through the presentation of new or unpublished ideas, hypotheses, methods, data, or original results.

Perspectives are distinctly different from Review articles, in that emphasis is on recent developments and can cause disruptions of methodology and approach; prompt open questions; and generate possible solutions. Perspectives are characterized by the personal views and opinions of authors who are recognized experts in their field. They can also be written by teams of experts comprising different and even controversial views on a subfield.

Although there are no strict length limitations for Perspectives, they should not exceed 50 published pages. This amounts to approximately 35,000 words of text, with allowances for equations, tables, and figures. Please keep in mind, an average one-column figure with its caption will displace about 220 words of text.

Focus Issues

Several times per year, Chaos publishes a Focus Issue section, which presents a collection of articles devoted to a particular subject of timely interest to the nonlinear community. Focus Issues are often assembled by guest editors, who invite contributions from individual authors. Focus Issue Articles are similar to regular articles in content and form and are subject to the same reviewing procedures. The Editor-in-Chief is ultimately responsible for their acceptance and publication. Each Focus Issue contains an extended introduction by the guest editors, which places each article in the appropriate context and provides a brief overview of the focus topic. Authors interested in organizing a Focus Issue should contact the Editor-in-Chief directly with the following information:

  • A complete list of guest editors
  • A brief (~1 page) proposal outlining the scope of the Focus Issue.
  • A list of authors to invite

Other Article Types

Occasionally, Chaos publishes Announcements of Public-Access Software, which describes publicly-available software packages (i.e., tools) for solving problems of interest to nonlinear scientists. These articles are not, in the conventional sense, research articles; that is, they do not discuss the solution of a particular new research problem. All such articles should contain a concise explanation of the mathematical technique underlying the code, some illustrative examples of the calculations, a discussion of the limitations and potential pitfalls, and a clear indication of how users can obtain assistance in using the software. On an ad hoc basis, Chaos accepts and publishes Comments concerning articles that have previously appeared in the journal. Authors of the original article are given the opportunity to respond to a Comment, and the Response may also be published. Finally, Chaos publishes Errata, which are typically reviewed by the editor-in-chief and only rarely sent out for review. Errata should be used principally to correct typesetting errors and should not be viewed as a means to partially rewrite a paper. Changes in authorship are generally not appropriate for errata. Changes in acknowledgment may be appropriate.

For specific editorial format requirements and submission information, see Information for Contributors.

Criteria for Publication

The major criteria for publication are correctness, originality, novelty, interest, and accessibility. Referees explicitly assess the merit of manuscripts in each of these criteria. Manuscripts covering material previously published in any peer-reviewed journal will be rejected right away. Chaos will consider manuscripts for publication that contain some material previously published, but not yet peer reviewed, for example, a non-peer-reviewed conference proceedings manuscript. However, such papers should have significant new content; it is unacceptable to simply resubmit the verbatim text of a manuscript that has previously appeared in a non-peer-reviewed conference proceedings. Highly technical articles, even if correct and original, in particular subareas of nonlinear science may be rejected, and the editors may suggest that they be submitted to a specialized journal.

Language standard:: It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that manuscripts are written clearly. A manuscript can be rejected if the scientific meaning is unclear due to poor English. Manuscripts that do not meet Chaos’ language standard will be rejected or returned with the option to revise before peer review, during the review process and/or if provisionally accepted pending language editing.

Because good science has no value unless it is clearly communicated, AIP Publishing recommends that authors use AIPP Author Services to improve the quality of your paper’s written English. AIPP Author Services was developed in line with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all authors. Using this service ensures that your paper will be free of language deficiencies, so editors and reviewers will be able to fully understand your research during the review process. A native English-speaking subject matter expert of AIP Author Services will correct spelling, grammar and punctuation and verify the use and consistency of technical terms and content in your paper. Note that this is not a requirement or a guarantee of acceptance for review or publication.

Copyright and Licensing

Authors publishing in the journal retain the copyright and must complete an exclusive License to Publish Agreement. When authors submit their manuscript to the journal, they imply that their work has neither been previously copyrighted nor accepted for publication elsewhere. Because authors must complete the License to Publish Agreement before the journal publishes their manuscript, we encourage you to sign the agreement electronically when you submit your manuscript. This will prevent unnecessary delays. We also require authors to inform the editors if a manuscript has been previously submitted to another journal, regardless whether the manuscript is active with that journal.

Referee and Adjudication Procedures

The editor-in-chief, aided by the other members of the editorial board, is responsible for the content and other editorial matters related to the journal. Authors must submit their manuscripts electronically using the Chaos manuscript submission website. Initially, one or more editors screens submitted manuscripts. If the manuscript is clearly written and is within the scope of the journal, the editor sends it to expert referees for evaluation. When submitting their manuscript for screening, authors may make suggestions for potential editors and reviewers. However, suggestions for specific editors or reviewers may not be honored. If a manuscript is not within the scope of the journal or is otherwise inappropriate, the editors may return the manuscript to the author unreviewed. Generally, the editors decide whether to accept a manuscript after no more than two rounds of reviewing. Only in exceptional cases will the editors consider a third round of reviews. Significant changes in a resubmitted manuscript are typically reviewed by the editors and the referee who requested the changes.

Authors may appeal an individual editor's decision by requesting that the case be reviewed by the editor-in-chief. If the editor-in-chief feels that the appeal has technical merit, he or she may seek further expert advice or adjudication before making a decision on the manuscript.

Authors may appeal the editor-in-chief's decision to reject a manuscript by requesting that the case be reviewed by the Publisher of AIP Publishing. The publisher does not decide whether the manuscript should be accepted for publication, but rather will assess whether the procedures were followed properly. Additional rounds of review or adjudication would be called for only if the editors did not follow the proper procedures.

Ethics and Responsibilities of Authors

Chaos is published as part of the charter of its publisher, AIP Publishing, to advance and disseminate knowledge of the science of physics and its applications to human welfare. To that end, it is essential that authors, reviewers, editors, and publishers conduct themselves with the highest level of professional ethics and standards. By submitting a manuscript to Chaos, authors implicitly confirm that it meets the highest ethical standards.

A detailed statement of what this journal expects can be found on our Resources for Researchers page.

Web Postings

AIP Publishing grants to the author(s) of papers submitted to Chaos the right to post their accepted manuscript anywhere on the Web immediately after acceptance by AIP Publishing. In addition, 12 months after publication, the final AIP Publishing version may be posted on the author's personal website, the author's institutional website, or in an institutional or funder-designated repository. Related specifications and details are available on the web posting guidelines page.

Retraction and Correction Policies

AIP Publishing’s policy is based on best practices in academic publishing. We take seriously our responsibility to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record of our content. We place great importance on the authority of articles after we publish them. Authors may make changes to articles after they have been published online only under the circumstances outlined in AIP Publishing’s Retraction and Correction Policies.


If the editors reject a manuscript, authors may transfer the rejected manuscript to another AIP Publishing Journal for consideration. A list and descriptions can be found here. We offer this service as a convenience to authors so that they do not have to resubmit a manuscript to another AIP Publishing journal. Carefully review the acceptance criteria for the journal you believe would be appropriate for your manuscript. If you want to transfer your manuscript to another AIP Publishing journal, please email the editorial office. If you transfer a manuscript, it does not guarantee that the receiving journal will publish it. This is exclusively for AIP Publishing journals on this list of journals.