Peer review process

Peer review at Nature Portfolio

The following types of contribution to Communications Biology are peer-reviewed: Articles, Reviews, Perspectives, and Matters Arising. Comments may be peer-reviewed at the editors' discretion. Full policy details for peer review at Nature Portfolio can be found here.

Double anonymized peer review

All Nature Portfolio journals, including Communications Biology, offer a double anonymized peer review option. Authors may choose this option at submission to remain anonymous to referees prior to publication. Authors are responsible for anonymizing their manuscirpt accordingly. See our double anonymized peer review guidelines for more details on anonymizing your manuscript.

Transparent peer review

Communications Biology uses a transparent peer review system, where for manuscripts submitted from January 2019 we are publishing the reviewer comments to the authors and author rebuttal letters of revised versions of our published research articles. Authors are provided the opportunity to opt out of transparent peer review at the completion of the peer review process, before the paper is accepted. If the manuscript was transferred to us from another journal, we will not publish reviewer reports or author rebuttals of versions of the manuscript under consideration at the originating journal. The peer review file is published online as a supplementary PDF. Although we hope that the peer review files will provide a detailed and useful view into our peer review process, it is important to note that these files will not contain all the information considered in the editorial decision making process, such as the discussions between editors, editorial decision letters, or any confidential comments made by reviewers or authors to the editors.

We are committed to maintaining the anonymity of our peer reviewers. Reviewer names will only be published in the peer reviewer files if the reviewer's comments to the authors are signed by the reviewer, or if reviewers explicitly agree to release their name.

In some cases, the editors may redact information from the reviewer reports if they are deemed to contain confidential data. Authors may request redactions on the basis of protecting specific confidential information. Please note that we cannot incorporate redactions for other reasons.

Transparent peer review applies to all peer-reviewed content, except for Matters Arising.

For more information, please refer to our FAQ page.

Portable peer review

As part of our commitment to providing best-in-class service to the research community, we offer authors the option to transfer their reviews and (where reviewers agree) the reviewers' identities to journals outside of Springer Nature. We know that peer review represents a significant time commitment by the scientific community: reviewers spend time that would otherwise be dedicated to their own research activities in order to help advance their field by providing critical feedback to authors. On the other hand, authors may wait months for reviews, only to have the paper rejected. Portable peer review allows authors to save time by avoiding unnecessary rounds of peer review and minimizes the time that reviewers must dedicate to a given manuscript.

Submitting manuscripts with reports from other journals

Manuscripts transferred to Communications Biology from another Nature journal after review will be transferred along with the reviewer reports and identities. If your manuscript was previously reviewed at a journal outside of the Nature Portfolio, the editors at Communications Biology will consider the original reviews when making their decision, provided they are able to verify the reports with the previous journal. Manuscripts submitted to Communications Biology with outside reviewer reports must be the revised version which has been updated in response to the reviewers' comments. When submitting your revised manuscript, please state in the manuscript comment section of the submission form (and optionally in the cover letter) that you wish to transfer your reports from another journal. You must provide your point-by-point response to reviewers along with the revised manuscript, as well as the name of the journal at which the original version of the manuscript was reviewed.

If the Communications Biology editors determine that the manuscript is suitable for the journal, they will contact the prior journal to verify the reviewer reports and to request the reviewers' identities. If the prior journal is able to disclose the reviewers' identities, the editors at Communications Biology will make every effort to contact the original reviewers to comment on the revised manuscript. In the event that the prior journal is unable to disclose the reviewers' identities, the in-house editors may consult with an Editorial Board Member and/or contact new reviewers to evaluate the reviews and the authors' responses to them.

Transferring your Communications Biology reviews to another journal

Within Nature Portfolio
If your manuscript is rejected from Communications Biology following peer review, you have the option to use the transfer link provided in the decision letter to send your manuscript and reviewer reports to another journal within the Nature Portfolio. The reviewer reports for manuscripts transferred using the transfer link are automatically sent to the receiving journal. In the case of manuscript transfers between Nature Portfolio journals with in-house editors, referee identities are also transferred automatically. More information about the Nature Portfolio transfer service can be found here.

Outside of Nature Portfolio
The editors at Communications Biology can facilitate transfers to journals outside of Nature Portfolio and Springer Nature at the authors' request. To take advantage of portable peer review, authors should ask the editors at the receiving journal to contact us at Please be sure to provide the receiving journal with your manuscript tracking number from Communications Biology to help expedite the transfer process. Once we are contacted by the receiving journal, we will provide them with the full reviewer reports and, if the reviewers have agreed, the reviewers' names and contact information. As of 24 June 2020, reviewers can indicate whether or not they consent to share their identities when they submit their review. For reviews received prior to this date, the editors will contact the reviewer to ask for their consent.