Guide to Authors

Manuscript submission

Use the navigation bar on the left to view information about our common editorial policies, how to submit, content types, the manuscript decision process, and biographical information about the editors.

Please see our brief guide to manuscript submission in PDF format for an overview of key information on submitting primary research for publication in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Aims and scope of the journal

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology is an integrated forum for structural and molecular studies. The journal places a strong emphasis on functional and mechanistic understanding of how molecular components in a biological process work together. Structural data may provide such insights, but they are not a pre-requisite for publication in the journal.

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids and other macromolecules
  • Structure and function of multi-component complexes
  • DNA replication, repair and recombination
  • Chromatin structure and remodeling
  • Transcription
  • RNA processing
  • Translation
  • Regulation of transcription and translation
  • Functions of noncoding RNAs
  • Protein folding, processing and degradation
  • Sorting and trafficking of proteins and RNA
  • Signal transduction and intracellular signaling
  • Membrane processes
  • Cell surface proteins and cell-cell interactions
  • Molecular basis of disease

Editorial process

The overview of the journal's manuscript decision process includes submission, editorial decision on whether the paper should be reviewed, peer review, decisions after review, revision, acceptance in principle, final submission and acceptance, proofs, advance online publication, and print publication. Before submitting a paper, authors should consult our editorial policies as well as technical tips for using our online submission system.

Please also consult our general guide for manuscript preparation and submission, which includes information on article formats, journal style, and figure preparation tips. Note that procedures for initial submission, revision, and final submission are slightly different, so please consult the directions before proceeding to the online submission system. Presubmission inquiries are not a prerequisite for the regular submission process, but are intended as a mechanism for authors to receive rapid feedback on whether a manuscript in preparation is likely to be of interest to the journal. We encourage authors who have already prepared their manuscripts to bypass the presubmission inquiry process and upload their papers as a regular submission to the journal.

Journals in the Nature family no longer take copyright on the primary research articles we publish. Instead we ask authors to sign a license for us to publish their work. US government employees sign a different license.


Editors and contact information

Like the other Nature titles, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology has no external editorial board. Instead, all editorial decisions are made by a team of full-time professional editors. For information on their research backgrounds and scientific interests, see About the Editors.

Full contact information for the journal can be found here.


Relationship to other journals

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology is editorially independent, and its editors make their own decisions, independent of the other Nature journals. If a paper is rejected from one Nature journal, the authors can use an automated manuscript transfer service to submit the paper to another Nature journal via a link sent to them by the editor handling the manuscript. Authors should note that referees' comments (including any confidential comments to the editor) and identities are transferred to the editor of the second journal along with the manuscript. In that case, the journal editors will take the previous reviews into account when making their decision, although in some cases the editors may choose to take advice from additional or alternative referees. Alternatively, authors may choose to request a fresh review, in which case they should not use the automated transfer link, and the editors will evaluate the paper without reference to the previous review process. More details are available on the manuscript transfer service and the relationships between Nature titles.


Editorial and publishing policies

Please see authors and referees for detailed information about author and referee services and publication policies at the Nature family of journals. These journals, including Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, share a number of common policies including the following:

Author responsibilities

License agreement and author copyright

Compliance with open access mandates

Embargo policy and press releases

Use of experimental animals and human subjects

Competing financial interests

Availability of materials and data

Reporting requirements for life sciences articles

Digital image integrity and standards

Security concerns

Refutations, complaints and corrections

Duplicate publication

Confidentiality and pre-publicity

Plagiarism and fabrication


Journal Metrics

Article metrics such as number of downloads, citations and online attention are available from each article page, and provide an overview of the attention received by a paper.

The 2016 peer review performance metrics (as median time in calendar days) for Nature Structural and Molecular Biology are shown below:

  • Submission to first editorial decision: 5
  • Submission to first post-review decision: 37
  • Submission to Accept: 103

The 2016 journal metrics for Nature Structural and Molecular Biology are as follows:

  • 2-year Impact Factor: 12.595
  • 5-year Impact Factor: 12.170
  • Immediacy index: 3.263
  • Eigenfactor® score: 0.09287
  • Article Influence Score: 7.740
  • 2-year Median: 9

For a further description of these metrics and a summary of the metrics for all Nature journals, please visit our journal metrics page. More information underlying our approach to journal metrics may be found here.


Editorial blogs

Nature Research blogs can be found on the blog index page.



The correct abbreviation for abstracting and indexing purposes is Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol.



The international standard serial number (ISSN) for Nature Structural & Molecular Biology is 1545-9993, and the electronic international standard serial number (EISSN) is 1545-9985.

The guide for authors is available in PDF format.

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