Initial submission

Cover letter

Authors should provide a cover letter that includes the affiliation and contact information for the corresponding author. Authors should briefly discuss the importance of the work and explain why it is considered appropriate for the diverse readership of Nature Astronomy. Any prior discussions with a Nature Astronomy editor about the work described in the manuscript should also be mentioned. 

Initial format requirements

The Nature journals are flexible with regard to the format of initial submissions. Within reason, style and length will not influence consideration of a manuscript. But to facilitate the review process we strongly encourage you to incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single pdf with all lines numbered or Microsoft Word file. Suitably high-resolution figures may be inserted within the text at appropriate positions or grouped at the end. Each figure legend should be presented on the same page as its figure. The reference lists should include article titles. 

Although not required at the initial submission stage, authors are encouraged to review the article format requirements for final submission so they can familiarize themselves with what will be required if the editor invites submission of a revised version of the manuscript.

Language

Papers submitted to Nature Astronomy should be accessible to non-specialists; you should ensure that your findings are communicated clearly. Although a shared basic knowledge of astronomy may be assumed, please bear in mind that the language and concepts that are standard in one subfield may be unfamiliar to colleagues working in another area. Thus, technical jargon should be avoided as far as possible and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable. Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum and should be defined at their first occurrence. The background, rationale and main conclusions of the study should be clearly explained. Titles and abstracts in particular should be written in language that will be readily intelligible to any scientists.

No paper will be rejected for poor language. However, if you would like assistance with writing your manuscript, you can consider asking colleagues for their input and/or use a professional editing service such as those provided by our affiliates Nature Research Editing Service or American Journal Experts. The use of a language editing service has no bearing on editorial decisions and is not a requirement for publication.

Presubmission inquiries

Researchers may request informal feedback from the editors on whether a potential manuscript may be appropriate for the journal. Presubmission inquiries are optional and should not be used to submit a full manuscript. If your manuscript has already been written, please proceed with a full formal submission.

Submission policies

Submission to Nature Astronomy is taken to imply that there is no significant overlap between the submitted manuscript and any other papers from the same authors under consideration or in press elsewhere (Abstracts or un-refereed web preprints do not compromise novelty). The authors must include copies of all related manuscripts with any overlap in authorship that are under consideration or in press elsewhere. If a related manuscript is submitted elsewhere while the manuscript is under consideration at Nature Astronomy, a copy of the related manuscript should be sent to the editor. 

The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, their current address may also be stated.

If the manuscript includes personal communications, please provide a written statement of permission from any person who is quoted. E-mail permission messages are acceptable. 

Additional editorial policies can be found on the Nature journals joint policies page