Prior to submission

Can I get in touch with an editor prior to submitting my paper to Nature Astronomy?

Yes. Please write to us at natureastro@nature.com if you are unsure about our scope or have any questions that are not addressed below or online here.

What is a presubmission enquiry?

If you would like to receive a quick assessment as to the suitability of your paper, you can use our online submission system to make a presubmission enquiry. Please include a brief cover letter that places your work in a wider context, an abstract and possibly one or two figures.

Do you take LaTeX?

Yes. Authors are welcome to submit in either LaTeX or Word. The journal will be typeset in LaTeX. We do not provide a template as we are flexible about formatting during the initial stages. As long as you submit a self-contained .tex file (no style files such as .bib or .bst or .cls) we will be able to process it.

What are your formatting requirements?

As stated above, we are flexible with regard to the format of initial submissions. Within reason, style and length will not influence the editorial decision of your manuscript. Hence, you are welcome to use templates from other journals. That said, reference lists that include article titles are useful for editors when conducting literature searches.

Wider dissemination

Can I post my paper to arXiv?

Yes. The Nature journals support the posting of submitted manuscripts on community preprint servers such as arXiv, and posting will not affect consideration of your paper. We do, however, ask you to respect the following summary of our policies:

  • The original submitted version may be posted at any time.
  • The published PDF version—copyedited and in Nature journal format—may not be posted on a preprint server or other website.

But, please be aware that once your paper is posted on arXiv, journalists are free to write whatever they want based upon the posting. Posting to arXiv can affect subsequent publicity, because journalists do check astro-ph regularly, looking for stories, so we strongly encourage authors to consult with their local public affairs office before posting. If the data come from a NASA or other publicly funded facility, please check with their public affairs office.

What is a press embargo, and how does it affect me?

A press embargo means that the paper should not be discussed with journalists until just before publication. Accredited journalists get information on the publication of your paper about a week in advance of publication. The intent is to give the journalists time to prepare a thoughtful story and not disadvantage a person or organization that cannot react to a story in a few hours. The embargo is lifted when the paper is published online. Public affairs officers can distribute papers to trusted journalists from six days in advance of online publication.

What should I do if a journalist contacts me regarding a paper under consideration?

Nature journal authors must not discuss contributions with the media (including journalists with other scientific journals) until the publication date; advertising the contents of any contribution to the media may lead to rejection. The only exception is in the week before publication, during which contributions may be discussed with the media if authors and their representatives (institutions, funders) clearly indicate to journalists that their contents must not be publicized until the journal's press embargo has elapsed. Authors will be informed of embargo dates and timings after acceptance for publication of their articles.

Can I present a result at a conference?

Yes, there are no restrictions on conference presentations. If a journalist is in the audience, he/she is free to write whatever they want about the presentation, but we ask authors not to give interviews, provide copies of the paper to journalists, participate in press conferences or issue press releases until publication. Please note that anybody can tweet about your results.

What if am subject to an open access policy?

The answer is twofold. We also believe that the wide dissemination of knowledge is critical to the advancement of science. We encourage posting papers to arXiv, and to your own institution’s archive pending the self-archiving embargo of 6 months (see full policy). The published PDF version—copyedited and in Nature journal format—may not be posted online. If you are at an institution that has an open access policy, we are legally required to collect from you a waiver of that policy in order to satisfy the terms of the license to publish.

In addition to authors being allowed to upload their original submission on arXiv, Nature Astronomy also participates in the SharedIt scheme of Springer Nature. All articles published in Nature Astronomy can be shared, free of charge, by subscribers with nonsubscribers through a SharedIt link (visit SharedIt for more information).

For more information on our publishing policies, please click here.

Editorial Process

Are there any charges associated with publication in Nature Astronomy?

No, none at all.

How many referees do you use?

We aim for 2–3 referees, and occasionally bring in more if we feel that different aspects need to be examined.

I submitted my paper to Nature and was rejected. Does this mean that I cannot submit it to Nature Astronomy?

No. Nature Astronomy is editorially independent of Nature and the other Nature research journals. As such, each submission will be evaluated independently of previous submissions to other Springer Nature journals. Please note that you may include referee reviews from your previous submission if you wish, in which case we will consider them in our decision.

What is the manuscript transfer system?

If your paper is not accepted for publication by a Springer Nature journal, you can transfer the manuscript files, author information and referee reports (if applicable) to any other Springer Nature journal at the touch of a button. For more information, see the manuscript transfer FAQs.

How quickly will my paper appear online after acceptance?

Because we do a substantial amount of copy editing and figure preparation, it will be 4-6 weeks before it appears online.

How far in advance will I be notified about the date of publication?

Normally, two weeks.

When should I contact my public affairs office about an upcoming publication?

As soon as possible, but immediately upon acceptance of your paper.


We have just commissioned the next amazing telescope instrument that will solve any and all open questions in astronomy. Can I submit a paper about it to Nature Astronomy? How about cutting-edge code?

Definitely yes. We acknowledge the importance of instrumentation and software development that underpin all major scientific breakthroughs in our field. As such we are happy to publish instrumentation and software papers that report clear advancements in astronomical technical capabilities.

Citing a Nature Astronomy article

The journal has changed from article numbers to page numbers midway through Volume 1. How do I cite your papers?

Nature Astronomy has moved to a new production platform. We have switched from article numbers to page numbers. But to cite a paper published on or before 1 August 2017, please continue to use the article number. As an example, one of our early publications should appear as: Leloudas, G. et al. The superluminous transient ASASSN-15lh as a tidal disruption event from a Kerr black hole. Nat. Astron. 1, 0002 (2016). Then for articles appearing in the September 2017 issue onwards, the first and final page numbers should be used. An example will appear here after the next issue is published.

Note also that our digital object identifiers (DOIs) have gained a hyphen and a character at the end, for example, from s41550-017-xxxx to s41550-017-xxxx-y.