How to submit


The entire guide for authors and referees is available in PDF format.

ONLINE SUBMISSION

We strongly prefer to receive manuscripts via our online submission system. Using this system, authors can upload manuscript files (text, figures and supplementary information, including video) directly to our office and check on the status of their manuscripts during the review process. In addition, reviewers can access the manuscript (in a highly secure fashion that maintains referee anonymity) over a direct internet link, which speeds the review process. Please consult our technical information on file formats and tips for using the system effectively. Revisions, including manuscripts submitted after a presubmission inquiry, should be uploaded via the link provided in the editor's decision letter. Please do not submit revisions as new manuscripts.

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SUBMISSION POLICIES

Submission to Nature Neuroscience 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 unrefereed 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 Neuroscience, 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, the 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.

For bioinformatics manuscripts, please send four copies of a CD containing any new algorithms for data analysis along with other resources necessary to use the algorithm, such as the user manual or spreadsheets. The CDs should be mailed to Nature Neuroscience, 75 Varick Street, 9th floor, New York, NY 10013-1917, USA.

For further information on the review process and how editors make decisions, please see the manuscript decisions page.

A high priority of Nature Neuroscience is that all papers be accessible to nonspecialists. Manuscripts are subject to substantial editing to achieve this goal. After acceptance, a copy editor may make further changes so that the text and figures are readable and clear to those outside the field, and so that papers conform to our style. Contributors are sent proofs and are welcome to discuss proposed changes with the editors, but Nature Neuroscience reserves the right to make the final decision about matters of style and the size of figures.

The editors also reserve the right to reject a paper even after it has been accepted if it becomes apparent that there are serious problems with the scientific content or with violations of our publishing policies.

Additional editorial policies can be found on the Nature journals joint policies page. This page includes information on manuscripts reviewed at other Nature journals, competing financial interests declarations, pre-publication publicity, deposition of data as a condition of publication, availability of data and reagents after publication, human and animal subjects, digital image integrity, biosecurity, refutations, complaints, and correction of mistakes in the journal, duplicate publication, confidentiality and plagiarism.

Submission of a signed Competing Financial Interests Statement is required for all content of the journal. This statement will be published at the end of all papers, whether or not a competing financial interest is reported. In cases where the authors declare a competing financial interest, a short statement to that effect is published at the end of article, which is linked to a more detailed version available online.

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COSTS

There is a charge of $584.85 for the first color figure and $292.43 for each additional color figure. Otherwise, there are no submission fees or page charges.

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ADVANCE ONLINE PUBLICATION

Nature Neuroscience provides Advance Online Publication (AOP) of research articles, which benefits authors with an earlier publication date and allows our readers access to accepted papers several weeks before they appear in print. Note that papers published online are definitive and may be altered only through the publication of a print corrigendum or erratum, so authors should make every effort to ensure that the page proofs are correct. All AOP articles are given a unique digital object identifier (DOI) number, which can be used to cite the paper before print publication. For details, please see about advance online publication.

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COVERS AND OTHER ARTWORK

Authors of accepted papers are encouraged to submit images for consideration as a cover. Cover images are normally linked to a specific paper in that issue, but we may also be able to use other images elsewhere in the journal, such as on the table of contents. Illustrations are selected for their scientific interest and aesthetic appeal. Please send prints or electronic files (rather than slides) in the first instance. Please also include a clear and concise legend explaining the image.

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PREPARING THE MANUSCRIPT

Nature Neuroscience is read by scientists from diverse backgrounds. In addition, many are not native English speakers. Authors should therefore give careful thought to how their findings may be communicated clearly. Although a shared basic knowledge of biology may be assumed, please bear in mind that the language and concepts that are standard in one subfield may be unfamiliar to nonspecialists. Thus, technical jargon should be avoided as far as possible and clearly explained where its use is unavoidable. Abbreviations, particularly those that are not standard, should also be kept to a minimum. 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 scientist.

No paper will be rejected for poor language. However, if you would like assistance with writing your manuscript, you can consider asking a colleague whose native language is English 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.

The content types page describes the types of contributions that may be submitted to the journal, along with their length and figure limits. The journal's format requirements are described below.

Manuscripts reporting new structures should contain a table summarizing structural and refinement statistics. Templates for such tables describing NMR and X-ray crystallography data are available here. To facilitate assessment of the quality of the structural data, a stereo image of a portion of the electron density map (for crystallography papers) or of the superimposed lowest energy structures (>10; for NMR papers) should be provided with the submitted manuscript. If the reported structure represents a novel overall fold, a stereo image of the entire structure (as a backbone trace) should also be provided.

Please use American English spelling throughout.

Acknowledgments should be brief and should not include thanks to anonymous referees and editors, or effusive comments. Grant or contribution numbers may be acknowledged. Nature Neuroscience requires an Author Contribution statement as described in the Authorship section of our joint Editorial policies.

The Methods section should be written as concisely as possible but should contain all elements necessary to allow interpretation and replication of the results. As a guideline, Methods sections typically do not exceed 3,000 words. The Methods sections of all original research papers will appear in all online versions of the article.

Authors can deposit the step-by-step protocols used in their study to Protocol Exchange, an open resource maintained by NPG. Protocols deposited by the authors will be linked to the Online Methods section upon publication.

The Methods section should be subdivided by short bold headings referring to methods used and we encourage the inclusion of specific subsections for statistics, reagents and animal models. If further references are included in this section, the numbering should continue from the end of the last reference number in the rest of the paper and the list should accompany the additional Methods at the end of the paper.

Only one publication is given for each number, and footnotes are not used. Only papers that have been published or accepted by a named publication should be in the numbered list; meeting abstracts that are not published and papers in preparation should be mentioned in the text with a list of authors (or initials if any of the authors are co-authors of the present contribution). URLs for web sites should be cited parenthetically in the text, not in the reference list; articles in formal, peer-reviewed online journals should be included in the reference list. Published conference abstracts, numbered patents and research datasets that have been assigned a digital object identifier may be included in the reference list. Grant details and acknowledgments are not permitted as numbered references. Footnotes are not used.

All authors should be included in reference lists unless there are more than five, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by 'et al.'. Authors should be listed last name first, followed by a comma and initials of given names. Titles of cited articles are required for Articles, Perspectives and Reviews, but not for Commentaries, Brief Communications or News and Views. Titles of articles should be in Roman text and titles of books in italics; the first word of the title is capitalized, the title written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a period. Journal names are italicized and abbreviated (with periods) according to common usage; refer to Index Medicus for details. Volume numbers appear in bold. For book citations, the publisher and city of publication are required (e.g., John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, 2003). Research datasets may be cited in the reference list if they have been assigned digital object identifiers (DOIs) and include authors, title, publisher (repository name), identifier (DOI expressed as a URL). Example: Hao, Z., AghaKouchak, A., Nakhjiri, N. & Farahmand, A. Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System (GIDMaPS) data sets. figshare http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.853801 (2014).

Figure legends for Articles begin with a brief title for the whole figure and continue with a short description of each panel and the symbols used, focusing on describing what is shown in the figure and de-emphasizing methodological details. Each legend should total no more than 250 words. Brief Communications have short figure legends (generally less than 100 words), which may include details of methods.

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GENE NOMENCLATURE

Authors should use approved nomenclature for gene symbols, and use symbols rather than italicized full names (Ttn, not titin). Please consult the appropriate nomenclature databases for correct gene names and symbols. A useful resource is LocusLink. Approved human gene symbols are provided by HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), e-mail: hgnc@genenames.org; see also http://www.genenames.org. Approved mouse symbols are provided by The Jackson Laboratory, e-mail: nomen@informatics.jax.org; see also http://www.informatics.jax.org/mgihome/nomen.

For proposed gene names that are not already approved, please submit the gene symbols to the appropriate nomenclature committees as soon as possible, as these must be deposited and approved before publication of an article.

Avoid listing multiple names of genes (or proteins) separated by a slash, as in 'Oct4/Pou5f1', as this is ambiguous (it could mean a ratio, a complex, alternative names or different subunits). Use one name throughout and include the other at first mention: 'Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1)'.

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Life sciences reporting guidelines

Authors of life sciences research papers that are sent for external review must include in their manuscripts relevant details about several elements of experimental and analytical design. These requirements aim to improve the transparency of reporting and the reproducibility of published results. They focus on elements of methodological information that are frequently poorly reported (see more details on these elements here). During peer review, authors will be asked to confirm that these elements are included in the manuscript by filling out a checklist that will be made available to the editors and reviewers.

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PREPARING THE FIGURES

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. The journal cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.

Figures should be uploaded upon submission via our online submission system, in one of our preferred formats, if possible. Please use the smallest file size that provides sufficient resolution, preferably less than 1 MB, so that referees do not have to download extremely large files. When a paper is accepted, the editors will request high-resolution files suitable for publication.

Unnecessary figures and parts (panels) of figures and tables should be avoided: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced on the printed page at the smallest size at which essential details are visible. When a manuscript is accepted for publication, we will ask for high-resolution figure files, possibly in a different electronic format. This information will be included in the acceptance letter.

Lettering on figures should be in Helvetica or Arial; if possible, the same typeface in approximately the same font size should be used for all figures in a paper. Use symbol font for Greek letters. Figures should be on a white background, and should avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary color, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. The vertical axis of histograms should not be truncated to exaggerate small differences. Labeling must be of sufficient size and contrast to be readable after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. Authors will see a proof of figures. Reasonable requests to enlarge figures will be considered, but editors will make the final decision on figure size.

Figures divided into parts should be labeled with a lower-case, bold a, b, and so on, in the same typesize as used elsewhere in the figure. Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalized. Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field. Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000). Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the legend. Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined in the legend rather than on the bar itself. In general, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations, such as "open red triangles", in the legend.

Authors are encouraged to consider the needs of colorblind readers (a substantial minority of the male population) when choosing colors for figures. Many colorblind readers cannot interpret visuals that rely on discrimination of green and red, for example. Thus, we ask authors to recolor green-and-red heatmaps, graphs and schematics for which colors are chosen arbitrarily. Recoloring primary data, such as fluorescence or rainbow pseudo-colored images, to color-safe combinations such as green and magenta, turquoise and red, yellow and blue or other accessible color palettes is strongly encouraged.

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DIGITAL FIGURE GUIDELINES

Please read the digital images integrity and standards policy before preparing your figures. When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures to ensure the highest quality reproduction in the journal. When creating and submitting digital files, please follow the guidelines below.

Formats

For publication, we can only use TIFF, EPS or postscript (ps) files in PC or Macintosh format, preferably from PhotoShop or Illustrator software. We cannot accept Freehand, Canvas, PowerPoint, CorelDRAW or MacDrawPro files. These files must be converted to postscript (ps) format.

Resolution and figure quality

Figure files must be supplied at an appropriate resolution for print publication:

  • Color, 300 DPI minimum; we prefer RGB for optimal rendering online, and, if possible, recommend that authors use sRGB IEC61966- 2.1 when preparing files

  • Grayscale, 600 DPI minimum for blots and black & white photographs

  • Line art, 1200 DPI minimum for graphs and illustrations

Figures that do not meet these standards will not reproduce well and may delay publication until we receive high-resolution images or high-quality printouts. We cannot be held responsible for assuming the cost of corrected reprints should poor quality images need to be used.

Please do not scan laser printouts of figures and send them to us as digital files. The dot pattern on a laser print often creates a moire pattern when scanned.

Please remove panel letters (a, b, c, etc.) that are directly over other features of figures, especially in photographic or modeling images, from the electronic files; we will replace them later with our own font. In such cases, please indicate in a separate electronic file where panel letters should go.

Tables

Please submit tables in Word format at the end of your text document.

Stereo images

Stereo diagrams should be presented for divergent 'wall-eyed' viewing, with the two panels separated by ~5.5 cm. In the final accepted version of the manuscript, the stereo images should be submitted at their final print size.

File transfer site

We prefer to receive all production files through our electronic submission system, but you may use Nature Publishing Group's file transfer service, StingRay, to upload large or complex files. Prior to uploading, please include the corresponding author's last name and format in your filename (for example, Dr. Smith�s Figure 3 in TIFF format: Smith Fig3.tif) and then follow the instructions below:

Navigate to http://eagleray.nature.com/index.php.
Username: natneuro
Password: NN2319! (Please note that this password is case sensitive.)

You may then use the "Browse" and "Upload" links to submit your file(s). You will receive an "Upload complete" message and a list of your successfully uploaded files when completed. You may upload up to 8 files at one time, with a limit of 1.99 GB per upload.

Please contact the editorial office for further questions regarding the StingRay site.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

Nature Publishing Group recognizes the utility and value of Supplementary data. However, the proliferation of such data has in many cases made the reading of a manuscript confusing and unwieldy. In response to our authors, referees and readers, we have therefore decided to carefully control the volume of Supplementary Information, specifically Supplementary Figures in research papers. While we would encourage authors to be selective in including as other types of supplemental data, such as Supplementary tables in excel format, movies and audio files, no specific restrictions will currently apply to these data types.

The following guidelines detail the creation, citation and submission of supplementary information.

When first submitting a paper, we urge all authors of Nature Neuroscience to submit one seamless paper, incorporating as much of the supplementary figures and information as possible in the main text. Authors should however clearly mark in the manuscript, the figures and text they propose to move to supplementary material in the event that the paper is accepted. Such a procedure will ensure that editors and referees are fully able to appreciate the extent of supplementary material and will allow such data to be evaluated more completely. This should also enable authors to craft a more carefully written paper, and will allow referees and editors to also help guide what figures truly belong in supplementary material.

Once a paper is accepted, authors will be asked to separate out the supplementary material from the main text prior to publication. In the event of acceptance, the final number of supplementary figures should not normally exceed 10 figures, although exceptions can be made with editor discretion. Authors should note that supplementary information is not copy-edited by Nature Neuroscience, so they should ensure that it is clearly and succinctly presented, and that the terminology style conforms with that of the rest of the paper. Where there is supplementary information to be included exclusively in the online version of a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, please follow these guidelines, or publication may be delayed. The following guidelines apply when formatting supplementary material once a paper has been accepted in principle.

Designate each item as Supplementary Table, Figure, Audio or Video. Each type of Supplemental Data should be continuously numbered (for example, Supplementary Figure 1, Supplementary Figure 2, Supplementary Table 1, Supplementary Table 2 and so on).

Please provide a title for Supplementary Tables and a title and a caption for all the other Supplementary Information types. Please note that Supplementary methods are not allowed. A supplementary note should be used only in consultation with the editors and for specific elements best presented in Supplementary Information, such as stand alone descriptions related to methods (for example algorithm description, compound synthesis and characterization).

Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word "Supplementary" each time one is mentioned. In general, only Supplementary data that supports the main conclusions of the paper should be included. Supplementary data should be presented in a logical order. Any supplementary data that extend beyond the conceptual scope of the main article may be removed at the editor's discretion.

Use the following samples as a guide (note: abbreviate "Figure" as "Fig." when in parentheses).

  • "Table 1 provides a selected subset of the most active compounds. The entire list of 96 compounds can be found as Supplementary Table 1 online."
  • "The biosynthetic pathway of L-ascorbic acid in animals involves intermediates of the D-glucuronic acid pathway (see Supplementary Fig. 2 online). Figure 2 shows..."

Figure files should be submitted as web-ready files through Nature Neuroscience's online submission system. Manuscripts will not be accepted for publication by Nature Neuroscience until supplementary information is received. Please note that modification of supplementary information after the paper is published requires a formal correction, so authors are encouraged to check their supplementary information carefully before submitting the final version.

Please submit the Supplementary Information as a single combined PDF if possible. For separate dataset, spreadsheet, audio and video files we can accept any of these formats: Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf), Audio Visual Interleave (.avi), Compressed Archive File (.zip), Encapsulated Postcript (.eps), Flash Movie (.swf), Graphics Interchange Format (.gif), HTML document (.html), JPEG image (.jpg), MPEG animation (.mpg), MS Excel spreadsheet (.xls, .xlsx), MS Power Point file (.ppt, .pptx), MS Word document (.doc, .docx), Plain ASCII text (.txt), PostScript (.ps), QuickTime movie (.mov), Rich Text Format (.rtf), Systems Biology Markup Language (.sbml, .xml, .owl), TAR archive file (.tar), TIFF image (.tif), Waveform audio file (.wav), WordPerfect document (.wpd).

File sizes should be as small as possible, with a maximum size of 30 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly. The combined total size of all files must not exceed 150 MB. Images should be just large enough to view when the screen resolution is set to 640 x 480 pixels. Audio and video files should use a frame size no larger than 320 x 240 pixels. Remember to include a brief title and legend (incorporated into the file to appear near the image) as part of every figure submitted, and a title as part of every table.

Further queries about submission and preparation of supplementary information should be directed to the editor handling the manuscript.


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