For authors

Other material published in Nature

This document provides details of the other material that Nature publishes, in addition to original research Articles and Letters.

Table of contents

Authors intending to contribute to any of these sections are advised to read the relevant section of published issues of Nature to gain an idea of which section is most suitable and how to present their work, and, if they have not published in one of these sections before, they must read the appropriate section guidelines below, before submission.

Many Nature sections are commission-only and do not accept unsolicited contributions; where applicable this is stated in the section guidelines below. Nature editors cannot give details when declining unsolicited suggestions or contributions. Authors of suggestions who do not receive a reply within two weeks should assume that Nature does not wish to pursue the matter.

All articles for all sections of Nature are considered according to our usual conditions of publication, including being subject to our embargo. All material is considered for publication on the understanding that it is original and that any similar or related material submitted or in press elsewhere is disclosed to Nature at submission.

Authors of material submitted to any section of Nature must provide a current full postal address, phone, fax and e-mail address. It is helpful if authors note their surname and the section of Nature for which the article is being considered in the subject line of any e-mails they send to Nature.

1. News and Comment

These sections are written and commissioned by Nature's editors. They do not contain unsolicited material. Information for use by Nature for these sections can be sent via e-mail, with the title of the section in the subject line. Please provide full address and contact details.

2. Correspondence

These items are 'letters to the Editor': short comments on topical issues of public and political interest, anecdotal material, or readers' reactions to informal material published in Nature (for example, Editorials, News, News Features, Books & Arts reviews and Comment pieces).

Note that Correspondence pieces are not technical comments on peer-reviewed research papers. Please submit these instead to Brief Communications Arising.

Correspondence submissions are not usually peer-reviewed and so should not contain primary research data.

Correspondence items should be no longer than 300 words. They do not usually have figures, tables or more than three references.

Submissions about an item published in Nature will not be considered in the absence of a full citation: please include the item's title and URL, together with details of its Nature volume and page numbers, and year of publication.

Submissions will not be considered without the authors' names, postal and e-mail addresses and current telephone contact numbers. Please clearly indicate any accents on names and places.

A Correspondence is usually signed by no more than three authors; this is because Correspondence is a forum for readers' reactions, not for statements by organizations or groups of individuals. In exceptional cases where more than three signatories can be justified, all but the corresponding author will be listed online only.

We ask contributors not to send presubmission enquiries, as Correspondence is an informal, fast-turnaround section.

Submissions should be sent as a Word file by e-mail to correspondence@nature.com.

All accepted contributions are edited for publication. Proofs are sent by e-mail. Occasionally, letters have to be cut after proofs have been sent. Nature will endeavour to ensure authors see these changes, but cannot guarantee to do so. Titles of letters are chosen by Nature.

Contributions that comment on a Nature publication and that cannot be published as Correspondence can be uploaded by the author to the online version of the Nature article.

3. Obituaries

Unsolicited contributions are not accepted; this is a commission-only section. However, we welcome suggestions of people deserving an obituary in Nature — generally scientists of Nobel or equivalent standing.

These can be emailed to nature@nature.com with the word 'Obituary' in the email title.

4. Comment

Unsolicited contributions are not accepted. This is a commission-only section intended to be accessible and appealing to the whole global Nature readership, of all disciplines.

Comment pieces are generally agenda-setting, authoritative, informed and often provocative expert pieces calling for action on topical issues pertaining to scientific research and its political, ethical and social ramifications. They road-map a proposed solution in detail; they do not simply snapshot a problem.

Alternatively comment pieces can be writerly historical narratives or conceptual or philosophical arguments of pressing contemporary relevance, told with authority, colour, vivacity and personal voice. These attempt to bring an original perspective before the widest readership, through erudite reasoning and telling examples.

5. Books & Arts

Unsolicited contributions are not accepted. The Books & Arts section of Nature publishes timely reviews of books, as well as art exhibitions, performances and cultural events of interest to leading scientists and policy makers; the section also runs comment pieces on trends in these matters. Reviews and articles are commissioned by Nature's Books & Arts Editor.

To be considered for review, books or bound proofs must be sent at least 3 months prior to publication to the Books & Arts Assistant (Nature, The Macmillan Building, 4 Crinan Street, London N1 9XW, UK); details of arts events should be e-mailed at least six weeks in advance to naturebooks@nature.com.

6. Futures

Futures is the award-winning science-fiction section of Nature and it accepts unsolicited articles. Each Futures piece should be an entirely fictional, self-contained story of around 850–950 words in length, and the genre should, broadly speaking, be 'hard' (that is, ‘scientific') SF rather than, say, outright fantasy, slipstream or horror. Each item should be sent as a Word document attachment to futures@nature.com, including full contact details and a 30-word autobiographical note to be appended to the story if published.

We ask contributors not to send presubmission enquiries but to send the whole story. Unsolicited artwork is not considered. Before submitting, prospective authors are advised to read earlier Futures stories at nature.com/futures; selected examples are also available here. More detailed guidelines can be found at http://blogs.nature.com/futureconditional/2015/04/19/how-to-write-for-nature-futures/.

7. News & Views

These articles inform nonspecialist readers about new scientific advances, as reported in recently published papers (in Nature and elsewhere). This is a commission-only section.

8. Insight, Review and Perspective articles

Nature publishes two kinds of review, Review and Perspective articles. It also publishes commissioned collections of review and other related material on one scientific theme as 'Insights' several times a year.

Most articles are commissioned, but authors wishing to submit an unsolicited Review or Perspective must do so through our online submission system.

  • The synopsis should outline the basic structure of the article; list the material to be covered with an indication of the proposed depth of coverage; and indicate how the material will be logically arranged.
  • The synopsis should be accompanied by a 300-500 word outline of the background to the topic which summarizes the progress made to date and should also make the case succinctly for publication in a topical, interdisciplinary journal.
  • Synopses prepared at this level of detail enable Nature's editors to provide editorial input before they commission the article, and can reduce the need for substantial editorial revisions at a later stage.
  • The synopsis should include any very recent, key publications in the area (no more than five), and state the last time the topic was reviewed (if it has been reviewed previously).

Reviews

  • They focus on one topical aspect of a field rather than providing a comprehensive literature survey.
  • They can be controversial, but in this case should briefly indicate opposing viewpoints. They should not be focused on the author's own work. Language should be simple, novel concepts defined and specialist terminology explained.
  • They are peer-reviewed, and are substantially edited by Nature's editors in consultation with the author.
  • All Reviews start with a 100-word maximum preface, which should set the stage and end with a summary sentence. Please note that the preface will also appear on PubMed and Medline, so it is important that it contains essential key words.
  • Reviews vary in length depending on the topic and should not generally be more than 8 pages long. There should be no more than 100 references. Display items and explanatory boxes (used for explanation of technical points or background material) are welcomed.
  • Highlighted references: for Reviews, Perspectives and Insight articles, please write a single sentence, in bold text, beneath each of what you consider to be the most important or relevant 5 to 10 per cent of the references in your list, to explain the significance of the work.
  • The author is responsible for ensuring that the necessary permission has been obtained for the re-use of any figures previously published elsewhere.

Perspective articles are intended to provide a forum for authors to discuss models and ideas from a personal viewpoint. They are more forward looking and/or speculative than Reviews and may take a narrower field of view. They may be opinionated but should remain balanced and are intended to stimulate discussion and new experimental approaches.

Perspectives follow the same formatting guidelines as Reviews. Both are peer-reviewed and edited substantially by Nature's editors in consultation with the author.

9. Analysis

These articles are published only occasionally. They do not report original data, but are review-based reports including a new analysis of existing data (typically large biological data sets such as genomes, microarrays and proteomics) that lead to a novel, exciting and arresting conclusion. They are peer-reviewed.

Authors interested in submitting an Analysis should send a synopsis through our online submission system with 'Analysis:' inserted before the title.

10. Hypothesis

These articles are published rarely, only about once a year. They concern issues of immense and fundamental importance. They are peer-reviewed. Enquiries should be sent through our online submission system with 'Hypothesis:' inserted before the title.. If the enquiry is not answered within 2 weeks, authors should assume that Nature is not interested in considering the proposed article for publication. Nature editors cannot undertake any correspondence about unwanted Hypotheses submissions or suggestions.

11. Careers

The Careers section welcomes suggestions for articles, which can be sent by email to the editors at naturejobs@nature.com.

12. Technology features

These articles are news-style reports, and are published a few times a year to review techniques and technologies in fast-moving fields of research. For further information, contact techfeatures@nature.com.

13. Outlooks

Nature Outlooks are supplements to Nature that contain news, features and opinion written and commissioned by the Nature supplements editor. They do not contain unsolicited material. For further information, contact the Outlooks editor on nature@nature.com.