With the publication of the first Nature Nanotechnology Insight, we also introduce the concept of Analysis as an article type to our journal.
The goal of Nature Nanotechnology has always been to publish the most significant research advances in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology. In a manuscript, we look for fundamental advance or strong indication of potential for technological development. We have no intention of changing this goal in the future. We are also aware, however, that the use of nanomaterials for applications that address societal challenges requires studies that address issues like efficiency, cost and potential damage to the environment or human health and we feel that we should increase coverage of such studies in our journal.
In the Insight included in this issue we publish or first Analysis. This article type has been used by some of our sister journals including Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Biotechnology and more recently Nature Energy. The main purpose of such articles is to provide new analyses of existing data to obtain insights that would help formulate strategies for the solution of large-scale problems. The Analysis by Linda Ager-Wick Ellingsen and co-authors (page 1039) provides little new scientific insight into the properties of nanomaterials. Rather, by digging out data from existing literature, they screen a range of nanomaterials currently used for batteries and fuel-cell applications and carry out an early-stage life-cycle analysis in an attempt to identify the nanomaterials that can best contribute to CO2 emission reduction.
We should clarify that because the Analysis by Ellingsen and co-authors is part of a special issue, we allowed it a special format. Thus it includes a box and the main text is very long. Our model format for future Analyses is that of research Articles, though we'll evaluate the possibility of allowing longer text on a case-by-case basis. Most importantly, like Articles, Analyses will be properly peer reviewed. They will also be subject to selective assessment criteria and evaluation for their editorial suitability for our journal: the results and conclusions should be important enough to be appreciated by a wide audience including non-experts in the specific field reported.
In the future it will be possible to select Analysis as the manuscript type during the submission process. In the meantime, we shall evaluate after submission whether a manuscript should be considered an Analysis, but feel free to indicate this as your preference in your cover letter.