Content Types

On this page: Article | Letter | Resource | Technical Report | CorrespondenceNews and Views | Review | Commentary | Perspective

Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study, with a complex dataset often involving several techniques or approaches. The main text (including abstract, but excluding online Methods, references and figure legends) is up to 3,500 words. The abstract is typically 150 words, unreferenced. Articles have up to 8 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings. As a guideline, Articles allow up to 70 references.

Articles include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Articles are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Letter

A Letter reports an important novel research result, but is less substantial than an Article. This format begins with an introductory paragraph (not abstract) of approximately 180 words, summarizing the background, rationale, main results and implications. This paragraph should be referenced, as in Nature style, and should be considered part of main text, so that any subsequent introductory material avoids too much redundancy with the introductory paragraph. The text is limited to 2,500 words, including the introductory paragraph, but excluding online Methods, references and figure legends. As a guideline, Letters allow up to 40 references. Letters should have no more than 5 display items (figures and/or tables). Letters are not divided by headings, except for the online Methods heading.

Letters include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information, Letters are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Resource

A Resource presents a large data set (such as a comprehensive list of proteins in an organelle or tissue, a genome-wide antibody library, coordinated analysis of cells or reagents by several different laboratories) of broad utility, interest and significance to the community. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is approximately 3,500 words. The abstract is 150 words, unreferenced. Resources have no more than 6-8 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion does not contain subheadings. As a guideline, Resources allow up to 70 references.

Resources include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Resources are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Technical Report

A Technical Report presents primary research data on a new technique that is likely to be influential. This format is not a review of technology, but its primary report in the literature. It may involve a new biological discovery to prove the usefulness of the technique, but this is not a requirement. Technical Reports have a format broadly similar to that of Articles, though many Technical Reports are shorter than a typical Article. They begin with an unreferenced abstract (typically 150 words) followed by separate sections for Introduction, Results, Discussion and online Methods. Up to 6-8 display items (including figures and tables) are allowed. As a guideline, Technical Reports allow up to 40 references, but this can be flexible at the editor's discretion.

Technical Reports include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Technical Reports are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Correspondence

Correspondence (formerly 'Letters to the Editor') is a flexible format that may include anything of interest to the journal's readers, from policy debates to announcements to 'refutations' from research papers. A Correspondence may describe primary research data, but only in summary form; this format is not intended for full presentation of data. Correspondence should never be more than one printed page, and usually much less. As a guideline, Correspondence allows up to 10 references, and article titles are omitted from the reference list. Titles for correspondence are supplied by the editors.

Authors must submit a competing financial interests statement, which is printed only if they declare that they have competing interests. In cases where a correspondence is critical of a previous research paper, the authors are normally given the option of publishing a brief reply. Criticism of opinions or other secondary matter does not involve an automatic right of reply. Refutations are always peer reviewed. Other types of Correspondence may be peer reviewed at the editors' discretion.

News and Views

News and Views are by prior arrangement only. They may be linked to articles in Nature Cell Biology, or they may focus on papers of exceptional significance that are published elsewhere. Unsolicited contributions will not normally be considered, although prospective authors are welcome to make proposals. News and Views are not peer reviewed. Authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Review

A Review is an authoritative, balanced and scholarly survey of recent developments in a research field. The requirement for balance need not prevent authors from proposing a specific viewpoint, but if there are controversies in the field, the authors must treat them in an even-handed way. Reviews are normally 3,000-4,000 words, and illustrations are strongly encouraged. As a guideline, Reviews allow up to 150 references, with exceptions possible in special cases. The scope of a Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single laboratory, and particularly not by the authors' own work.

Review authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Reviews include received/accepted dates. Reviews are always peer reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance.

Commentary

Commentary is a very flexible format; Commentaries may be on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues. The main criteria are that they should be of immediate interest to a broad readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Their length is typically 1-4 pages, although some may be longer. Because the content is variable, the format is also flexible. Commentaries do not normally contain primary research data, although they may present 'sociological' data (funding trends, demographics, bibliographic data, etc.). As a guideline, Commentaries allow up to 25 references, and article titles are omitted from the reference list.

Commentary authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Commentaries may be peer reviewed at the editors' discretion.

Perspective

Perspective is a format for scholarly reviews and discussions of the primary research literature that are too technical for a Commentary but do not meet the criteria for a Review—either because the scope is too narrow, or because the author is advocating a controversial position or a speculative hypothesis or discussing work primarily from one group. Two reviews advocating opposite sides in a research controversy are normally published as Perspectives. The text should not normally exceed 3000 words. As a guideline, Perspectives allow up to 70 references.

The related format Historical Perspective is a more technical account of a particular scientific development. Like other Perspectives, and in contrast to Historical Commentary, Historical Perspectives are scholarly reviews, including citation of key references, aiming to present a balanced account of the historical events, not merely personal opinions or reminiscences.

Perspective authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Perspectives are always peer reviewed and include received/accepted dates.