Nature Research journals recognize the importance of post-publication commentary on published research as necessary to advancing scientific discourse. Formal post-publication commentary on published papers can involve either challenges or clarifications of the published work and may, after peer review, be published online as Matters Arising, usually alongside a Reply from the authors of the published paper. Matters Arising are scientifically relevant and timely critical comments and clarifications on published research papers. These comments should ideally be based on scientific knowledge contemporaneous with the original paper, rather than on subsequent scientific developments.
If the Matters Arising contribution serves only to identify an important error or mistake in the published paper, it will usually lead to the publication of a clarification statement (a correction or a retraction). Please contact nBME@nature.com for these cases.
In all cases, Nature Biomedical Engineering strongly encourages the authors of a Matters Arising contribution that is critical of the published work to contact the authors of the paper directly prior to submission, as this can often resolve matters that may arise from misunderstanding.
Matters Arising and Replies are bi-directionally linked with the original published paper.
Nature Biomedical Engineering does not consider Matters Arising on papers published in other journals.
- All contributions should be measured in tone, and should not contain inflammatory or intemperate language.
- Critical contributions to Matters Arising should ideally have been sent to the authors of the criticized Article before submission to Nature Biomedical Engineering, so that disputes can be resolved directly whenever possible, and points on which both parties agree removed from the submitted contribution. If an attempt to contact the original authors has been unsuccessful (as a guideline, no response received after two weeks), this should be indicated at submission.
- Any correspondence with the criticized authors should accompany the submission as an attachment, labelled as ‘Correspondence with the Nature Biomedical Engineering authors'.
Submissions of both Matters Arising and Replies should be formatted as follows:
- The main text should ideally not exceed 1,200 words. Methods and additional information can be provided as Supplementary Information.
- The main text should start with a brief paragraph that summarizes the message of the published Article.
- A maximum of two display items (figures or tables) can be included along the main text. Additional figures or tables, and complex multipanel figures, can be included as Supplementary Information.
- As a guideline, up to 15 references are allowed.
- A Competing interests statement is required.
- An Author contributions statement is required.
- For contributions that include new data must provide details about elements of experimental and analytical design in a reporting summary that will be made available to editors and any reviewers during manuscript assessment. If the contribution is published, the reporting summary will be included. The corresponding author of a contribution must also complete an editorial policy checklist to ensure compliance with Nature Research editorial policies. Please note that, because of advanced features used in these forms, Adobe Reader must be used to open the documents and fill them out.
The editors will decide how to proceed on the basis of the scientific relevance, significance and timeliness of the contribution.
Matters Arising submissions that meet Nature Biomedical Engineering's criteria for further consideration are sent to the authors of the original paper, who are asked for a formal response (a Reply). The Matters Arising contribution and the formal response may then be sent to independent referees.
A Reply is published only when it adds to the debate, and not when it reiterates points already published. It should be confined to replying to the specific issues raised.
Authors of the original Nature Biomedical Engineering paper must keep the information provided in Matters Arising confidential and must not use it for their own research or for any other purpose apart from replying to the contribution, nor can they distribute it without first obtaining permission from the Editor of Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Nature Biomedical Engineering will consider appeals against decisions not to publish a Matters Arising contribution only when relevant and significant scientific points have been overlooked. Authors who have had a submission declined can post it on an appropriate preprint server.