Editorial process

General information

Communications Materials is an open access journal from Nature Portfolio publishing high-quality research, reviews and commentary in all areas of materials sciences. Research papers published by the journal represent significant advances for a specialized area of research. The journal is equally interested in publishing fundamental and applied research.

Editorial decisions at Communications Materials may be made either by in-house editors or Editorial Board Members. Authors may request that a specific editor be considered for handling the review process of their paper. However, the assignment of manuscripts to editors is at the discretion of the chief editor. All manuscripts received with reviewer comments from another Nature Portfolio journal via the manuscript transfer service will be handled only by our in-house editors.

Initial submission

Manuscripts should be submitted via the online submission system. The corresponding author should indicate whether the work described in the manuscript has been discussed with a specific Communications Materials editor before submission. Copies of any papers containing related work that are under consideration or in-press at other journals should be included with the submission as additional supplementary information.

Manuscripts submitted to Communications Materials do not need to adhere to our formatting requirements at the point of initial submission; formatting requirements only apply at the time of acceptance.

Each new submission is assigned to a primary editor, who may be either one of our in-house editors or an Editorial Board Member. The primary editor reads the paper, consults with other members of the editorial team, and then evaluates the novelty and potential impact of the work, the appropriateness for the journal's editorial scope, the conceptual or methodological advances described in the paper, and its potential interest to the readership of Communications Materials. Manuscripts that meet these editorial criteria are sent out to external referees for further assessment.

The novelty of a submitted paper is considered to be compromised if it has significant conceptual overlap with a published paper or one accepted for publication by Communications Materials. Preprint archives do not compromise novelty.

If a paper was previously reviewed at another Nature Portfolio journal, the authors can use an automated manuscript transfer service to transfer the referees' reports to Communications Materials via a link sent by the editor who handled the manuscript. Manuscripts received by Communications Materials via the transfer service that have associated referee comments from the transferring journal are only handled by our in-house editors. The editors at Communications Materials will take the previous reviews into account when making their decision, although in some cases the editors may choose to take advice from additional 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. However, this decision must be made at the time of initial submission and cannot be changed later.

If the authors ask the editors to consider the previous reviews, they should include a note explaining the relationship between the submitted manuscript and the previous submission and (assuming it has been revised in light of the referees' criticisms) give a point-by-point response to the referees. In cases where the work was felt to be of high quality, papers can sometimes be accepted without further review, but if there were serious criticisms, the editors will consider them in making the decision. In the event of publication, the received date is the date of submission to Communications Materials. More details are available on the manuscript transfer service.


If your paper has been previously submitted to another Nature Portfolio journal, you can use our automated manuscript transfer service to submit the paper to Communications Materials. Alternatively, you may choose to submit afresh, in which case you should not use the automated transfer link, and your paper will be evaluated without reference to the previous decision process.

Communications Materials is editorially independent, and our in-house editors and Editorial Board Members make decisions independently from other Nature Portfolio journals. It is for authors alone to decide where to submit their manuscripts. For papers that satisfy the scope of more than one Nature Portfolio journal, the choice of which journal to submit to first lies with the authors.


Guest Edited Collections include original primary research articles, Reviews, Perspectives, and other content types published by the journal. Collections are published open access and online only.

All manuscripts submitted to a Collection are assessed according to the standard Communications Materials editorial criteria and are subject to all standard journal policies, including the payment of an the Article Processing Charge when appropriate.

All Collections are open for submissions from all authors and are not by invitation only. Manuscripts must fall within the scope of the Collection and of Communications Materials, which is at the discretion of the editors.

Manuscripts submitted to a Collection may be considered unsuitable for inclusion, particularly if they fall outside the scope of the Collection. In such cases, the authors will be notified by the editorial office and their manuscript can be considered as a regular Communications Materials submission.

Collection Guest Editors may be members of the Communications Materials Editorial Board or external Guest Editors. Collection Guest Editors are involved in soliciting papers, and in writing an introductory Editorial. In addition, they may manage some or all of the submissions to the Collection through the peer review process, as long as Communications Materials' standard competing interests conditions are met.

Communications Materials' in-house editors reserve the right to assume responsibility for the management of a Collection at any stage.

Peer review

Communications Materials is guided by the Nature Portfolio editorial peer review policy. 

The following types of contribution to this journal are peer-reviewed: Articles, Comment, Matters Arising, Perspective, and Reviews. All forms of published correction may also be peer-reviewed at the discretion of the editors. Other contributed articles are not usually peer-reviewed but, particularly if they present technical information, may be peer-reviewed at the discretion of the editors.

The corresponding author is notified by e-mail when the editor decides to send a paper for review. Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to two or three reviewers. Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer's characteristics. When selecting reviewers, we seek to avoid conflicts of interest and close associates of the authors. Springer Nature is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion; Nature Portfolio journals strive for diverse demographic representation of peer reviewers. At submission, authors may suggest referees; these suggestions are often helpful, although they are not always followed. Authors are strongly encouraged to consider geographical regions, gender identities, racial/ethnic groups, and other groups when providing such suggestions for peer reviewers. Authors may also indicate a limited number of scientists who should not review the paper. Excluded scientists must be identified by name. 

This journal operates a single-anonymized peer review process, and on request double anonymized peer review.  In line with policy, referees are not identified to the authors, except at the request of the referee.  

This journal requires potential referees to disclose any professional and commercial competing interests before undertaking to review a paper, and requires referees not to copy papers or to circulate them to un-named colleagues. All referees agree to these conditions before the journal sends them a manuscript to assess. Although our Editors go to every effort to ensure manuscripts are assessed fairly, the journal is not responsible for the conduct of its referees.

The peer review of any submissions for which the Editor has a competing interest is handled by another Editor who has no competing interests, to ensure that the evaluation of these submissions is completely objective.

The editors make a decision based on the reviewers' advice, from among several possibilities: (a) Accept “in principle”, with mainly editorial revisions; (b) Invite the authors to revise their manuscript to address specific concerns before a final decision is reached; these could be either minor or major revisions; (c) Reject outright, typically on grounds of major conceptual, technical and/or interpretational problems.

Manuscripts submitted to collections follow the standard peer review policy. 

Transparent peer review

Communications Materials uses a transparent peer review system, where for our published research articles we are publishing the reviewer comments to the authors, author rebuttal letters of revised versions, and journal decision letters to the authors. 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 Nature Portfolio journal, we will not publish reviewer reports, author rebuttals or journal decision letters of versions of the manuscript under consideration at the originating Nature Portfolio journal. The peer review file is published online as a supplementary peer review file. 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 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 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.

Decision after review and revision

In cases where the referees have requested well-defined changes to the manuscript that do not appear to require extensive further experiments, editors may request a revised manuscript that addresses the referees' concerns. The revised version is normally sent back to some or all of the original referees for re-review. The decision letter will specify a deadline (typically two months), and revisions that are returned within this period will retain their original submission date.

In cases where the referees' concerns are more wide-ranging, editors will normally reject the manuscript. If the editors feel the work is of potential interest to the journal, however, they may express interest in seeing a future resubmission. The resubmitted manuscript may be sent back to the original referees or to new referees, at the editors' discretion.

In either case, the revised manuscript should be accompanied by a cover letter explaining how the manuscript has been changed, and a separate point-by-point response to referees' comments. Ideally no more than two resubmissions will be considered for each manuscript, following which we will try to reach a final decision on publication.

An invited revision should be submitted via the revision link to the online submission system provided in the decision letter, not as a new manuscript.

Final submission and acceptance

A request for final submission is sent when the paper is nearly ready to publish, possibly requiring some changes to the text, but no revisions to the data or conclusions. These letters are usually accompanied by detailed comments on the paper's format indicating editorial concerns that must be addressed in the revision. The final submission must comply with our format requirements, which are summarized in the Communications Materials manuscript checklist.

After acceptance, our typesetters may make changes to the manuscript so that the paper conforms to our style. Communications Materials uses Oxford English spelling.

For the final revision, authors should use the revision link to the online submission system provided in the decision letter to upload a final version of the text with all the requested format changes and electronic files of the final figures at high resolution.

When all remaining editorial issues are resolved, the paper is formally accepted. The received date is the date on which the editors received the original manuscript. The accepted date is when the editor sends the acceptance letter.

Corresponding authors are sent proofs and are welcome to discuss proposed changes with the editors, but Communications Materials reserves the right to make the final decision about matters of style and the size of figures.

Appeals and Complaints

In cases where editors did not invite resubmission, authors are strongly advised to submit their paper for publication elsewhere, although it is possible for authors to ask the editors to reconsider a rejection decision. These are considered appeals, which, by policy, must take second place to the normal workload.

Decisions are reversed on appeal only if the editors are convinced that the original decision was a serious mistake, not merely a borderline call that could have gone either way. Further consideration may be merited if a referee made substantial errors of fact or showed evidence of bias, but only if a reversal of that referee's opinion would have changed the original decision. Similarly, disputes on factual issues need not be resolved unless they were critical to the outcome.

Authors who wish to appeal an editorial decision should submit a formal letter of appeal to the journal by contacting commsmat@nature.com. Include the manuscript tracking number in the email subject line and appeal letter.

If an appeal merits further consideration, the editors may send the authors' response or the revised paper to one or more referees, or they may ask one referee to comment on the concerns raised by another referee. On occasion, particularly if the editors feel that additional technical expertise is needed to make a decision, they may obtain advice from an additional referee.

For more information about our policy and procedure on Appeals and Complaints, please click here. For complaints regarding publication ethics or processes, please see our policy on complaints about publication ethics here.