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Filtering the field

Scientific literature is ever-expanding. The need for a filter to keep up-to-date with the key information from this onslaught of data is increasingly important.

The Nature Reviews journals’ mission is to be the premier source of reviews and commentaries for the scientific communities we serve, and to publish authoritative, accessible and high-quality articles for our readers. For 15 years, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology has been doing just that. But are Reviews journals still relevant, and what is our place in the changing world of scientific publishing?

Whether it be preprints, social media, education sites, databases or platforms, the way we consume new scientific information is evolving beyond the traditional research article. But this broadening of our scientific horizons comes with its own issue — the overwhelming onslaught of information. Increasingly, we live in a world that is always ‘on’: constant notifications, an overload of new updates. And it is here where a Reviews journal can help: we can act as a filter to help busy clinicians and researchers keep up with the latest scientific and clinical literature with carefully curated summary content. At Nature Reviews we publish a range of content, of varying lengths, for readers of every level.

Credit: Laura Marshall/Springer Nature Limited

Short for time? Our editorial team of three professional editors scans the gastroenterology and hepatology literature, and the wider medical and multidisciplinary scientific journals, weekly to select research from hundreds of new papers to feature in Research Highlights (short news pieces written by the editors) and News & Views (commissioned expert commentaries). Each week, we highlight interesting new research as #GastroEdPicks on our journal Twitter account (@NatRevGastroHep); moreover, editors tweet live updates from the conferences that we attend year-round. This snapshot of the scientific literature and progress in different topics (including controversies) provides inspiration for short agenda-setting Comment articles and our annual Year-in-Review summaries.

New to the field, or want to explore a topic in more detail? Our longer-form articles include Consensus Statements (comprehensive analyses by a panel of experts), more-opinionated discussions in Perspectives and, of course, Reviews (detailed, authoritative and balanced overviews of a topic). The editors also curate special Collections (including collaborations with journals across Nature Research) of related content, brought together to provide broader overviews of a given subject, a timely resource.

The filtration process also occurs within each article. Figures, tables and other display items enhance and improve the accessibility of our articles to help crystallize the take-home messages and key points. Our talented Art Editor helps to develop and transform figures to improve clarity, flow, presentation and visual appeal. Each manuscript is thoroughly edited, including both a detailed line-by-line developmental edit that helps refine the content and structure of our articles and a copy edit for consistency and house style, to ensure that we continue to produce the same high-quality and trusted content.

Increasingly, the journal is covering topics that are multidisciplinary, highlighting information from other scientific disciplines that might be relevant to our readers. Although always rooted in gastroenterology and hepatology, the journal’s scope is broad and encompasses basic, translational and clinical sciences, ranging from fundamental biological mechanisms to therapeutic management of disease, to technological advances in medicine.

Our ambition is to filter the large and fast-flowing volume of scientific and medical information and turn it into a slower drip feed that is both easier to digest and accessible to those working in any biological or medical discipline. So in this always-on world, hit pause by exploring our filtered, curated, ‘slow science’ as we hope to enable our readers to take a moment to read, to think, to catch up, and to be inspired.

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Filtering the field. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 16, 643 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-019-0218-7

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