Content Types

To submit one of the following content types, please read the formatting details below, then follow the submission guidelines:

  • Article
  • Review*
  • Perspective*
  • Correspondence*
  • Comment*
  • News & Views*
  • Matters Arising – see specialist submission process here.

For more information on these content types, please contact Nature Astronomy:

  • Meeting Report*    
  • Books & Arts Review*
  • Feature*
  • Q&A*
  • Obituary*
  • World View*
  • Mission Control*

*These content types should not include original (previously unpublished) research findings and may only contain minimal new supporting data. These non-primary articles are not eligible for Open Access and can only be published using the subscription-based publishing route.

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Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study, with a complex story often involving several techniques or approaches. 

Format

  • Main text – up to 3,000 words, excluding abstract, Methods, references and figure legends.
  • Abstract – up to 150 words, unreferenced. 
  • Display items – up to 6 items (figures and/or tables). 
  • Article should be divided as follows: 
    • Introduction (without heading) 
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Online Methods. ​
  • Results and Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion does not contain subheadings.
  • References – as a guideline, we typically recommend up to 50.
  • Articles include received/accepted dates. 
  • Articles may be accompanied by supplementary information. 
  • Articles are peer reviewed.

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Review

A Review is an authoritative, balanced and scholarly survey of recent developments in a research field. The requirement for balance need not prevent authors from proposing a specific viewpoint, but if there are controversies in the field, the authors must treat them in an even-handed way. 

The scope of a Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single laboratory, and particularly not by the authors' own work.

Format

  • Main text – 3,000 - 4,000 words.
  • Illustrations are strongly encouraged.
  • References – up to 100 (exceptions are possible in special cases). 
  • Citations – these should be selective and, in the case of particularly important studies (≤ 10% of all the references), we encourage authors to provide short annotations explaining why these are key contributions.
  • Reviews include received/accepted dates. 
  • Reviews are peer reviewed.

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Perspective

A Perspective is a format for scholarly reviews and discussions of the primary research literature that are too technical for a Comment but do not meet the criteria for a Review—either because the scope is too narrow, or because the author is advocating a controversial position or a speculative hypothesis or discussing work primarily from one group. Two reviews advocating opposite sides in a research controversy are normally published as Perspectives. 

The related format Historical Perspective is a more technical account of a particular scientific development. Like other Perspectives, and in contrast to Historical Comment, Historical Perspectives are scholarly reviews, including citation of key references, aiming to present a balanced account of the historical events, not merely personal opinions or reminiscences.

Format

  • Length – up to 3000 words. 
  • References – up to 50.
  • Perspectives include received/accepted dates.
  • Perspectives are peer reviewed.

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Correspondence

The Correspondence section provides a forum for comment on issues relevant to the journal’s community. This format may not be used for presentation of research data or analysis. 

Format

  • Correspondence – between 300-800 words.
  • Display items – 1 item.
  • References – up to 10 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list. 
  • Correspondence may be peer-reviewed at the editors’ discretion. 

Note that Correspondence pieces are not technical comments on peer-reviewed research papers; these should be submitted as Matters Arising.

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Comment

A Comment is a very flexible format, focusing on the scientific, commercial, ethical, legal, societal, or political issues surrounding research. Commentary articles should be topical, readable, provocative and introduce new concepts/points of view, providing a personal perspective on a matter of public or scientific importance. The main criteria are that they should be of immediate interest to a broad readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. 

The related format ‘Historical Comment’ is a journalistic treatment of the history of a particular discovery or technical development. These pieces may be a personal account by one of the participants or may present strong personal opinions. This format does not necessarily seek scholarly balance, and it should be journalistic and accessible rather than scholarly in style.

Q&A and World View are specific Comment types of a more personal flavour. They are normally commissioned by the editors, though unsolicited contributions will be considered.

Format

  • Length – varies but typically 1-3 pages.
  • There are no specific structural guidelines.
  • Comments do not normally contain primary research data, although they may present 'sociological' data (funding trends, demographics, bibliographic data, etc.). 
  • References should be used sparingly, usually between 10-25.
  • Article titles are omitted from the reference list.
  • Peer review is at the editors' discretion.

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News & Views

News & Views articles inform readers about the latest advances in astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science, as reported in recently published papers or at scientific meetings.  They may be linked to articles in , or they may focus on papers of exceptional significance that are published elsewhere. Unsolicited contributions will not normally be considered, although prospective authors are welcome to make proposals.

News & Views are not peer reviewed.

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Matters Arising

Matters Arising are exceptionally interesting and timely scientific comments and clarifications on original research papers published in Nature Astronomy. These comments should ideally be based on contemporary knowledge rather than subsequent scientific developments.

For detailed information on how to submit a Matters Arising, please follow instructions here.

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Meeting Reports

Meeting Reports inform readers about the latest developments in astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science, as reported at scientific conferences or meetings. 

Most articles are commissioned, but proposals for meetings to be covered in this section can be made to the editorial team—although suggestions must be received in advance of the meeting taking place to ensure our coverage is as timely as possible. Meeting Reports may not be written by anyone involved in the conference organization, but rather by an independent speaker or attendee of the meeting.

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Books & Arts

The Books & Arts section comprises timely reviews of books and other cultural and pedagogical resources of interest to the astronomy community. They are usually commissioned, though unsolicited contributions will be considered.

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Feature

A Feature encompasses both the technical and commercial aspects of any topic relevant to our readership. This format is intended to complement the emerging scientific developments reported in the research section, and also to provide a forum for regulatory and business topics that would otherwise not be covered in the journal. 

Nature Astronomy welcomes ideas for future topics.

Format

  • Length – up to 3,000 words.
  • Use of tables and figures is strongly encouraged.
  • Written in a journalistic style, accessible to a wide range of non-specialist readers.

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Obituary

Obituaries are by prior arrangement only, although suggestions are welcome. Obituaries are not peer reviewed.

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Mission Control

The Mission Control column is a single-page article that focuses on the technical aspects of an astronomical instrument, mission or telescope. They are normally commissioned, and written by the Principal Investigator or Instrument or Mission Scientist. While Mission Control articles usually feature new instruments or missions, for the purposes of highlighting their availability and technical capabilities to the community, they can also be retrospective.

Format

  • Length – a single typset page (typically 700-750 words of text).
  • One figure (landscape orientation preferred).
  • Up to 10 references, but to be uses judiciously.
  • Written in a technical style, focusing on instrumentation rather than science.