Press and embargo policies

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Communication with the media

We strongly discourage authors and potential authors from direct solicitation of media coverage of material they have submitted to Nature and the Nature Portfolio journals. Accepted contributions can be discussed with the media only once the publication date has been confirmed and no more than a week before the publication date under our embargo conditions. Please refer to the "Communications between scientists" section for more information about our embargo policy as it pertains to conference presentations and preprints.

We produce and distribute press releases summarizing upcoming content to a list of registered journalists.  Journalists are encouraged to read the full version of any papers they wish to cover, and are given the names and contact details of corresponding authors. They receive access to the full text of papers about a week before publication on a password-protected website, together with other relevant material (for example, an accompanying News and Views article, and any extra images provided by the authors). The content of the press release and papers is embargoed until the time and date clearly stated on the press release.

Papers that are deemed especially newsworthy are highlighted by a brief summary on the press release for that journal, written by the editors and the press office. Authors may therefore receive calls or emails from the media during this time; we encourage them to cooperate with journalists so that media coverage of their work is accurate and balanced. Authors whose papers are scheduled for publication may also arrange their own publicity (for instance through their institutional press offices), but they must strictly adhere to our media embargo and are advised to coordinate their own publicity with our press office.

The Nature Portfolio journals believe that their media embargo serves scientists, authors, journalists and the public. Our policy is to release information about our content in a way that provides fair and equal access to the media, allowing it to provide informed comment based on the complete and final version of the paper that is to be published. Authors and their institutions' press offices are able then to interact with the media ahead of publication, and benefit from the subsequent coverage.

The benefits of peer review as a means of giving journalists confidence in new work published in journals are self-evident. Premature release to the media denies journalists that confidence. It also removes journalists' ability to obtain informed reactions about the work from independent researchers in the field.

Journalists who break our embargoes have been removed from the press-release circulation list, and we shall continue to use this sanction when appropriate.

Nature Portfolio journals' editorials:

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Communication between scientists

Nature Portfolio journals do not wish to hinder communication among researchers. We support open communications between researchers whether on a recognised community preprint server or preprint commenting platforms, through discussions at research meetings or online collaborative sites such as wikis or the author's blog. Neither conference presentations nor posting on recognized preprint servers constitute prior publication. More information about our policies on preprints can be found here.

Researchers may respond to requests from the media in response to a preprint or conference presentation, by providing explanation or clarification of the work, or information about its context. In these circumstances, media coverage will not hinder editorial handling of the submission. Researchers should be aware however that such coverage may reduce or pre-empt coverage by other media at the time of publication. We also advise that researchers approached by reporters in response to a preprint make it clear that the paper has not yet undergone peer review, that the findings are provisional and that the conclusions may change. Authors are expected to keep the details of the peer review and editorial process confidential.

We believe it important that the peer-reviewed and published version of a paper should be available when the work is discussed in the public media, allowing the press to provide informed comment based on this version. For that reason, we strongly discourage the direct soliciting of media coverage to appear ahead of publication of the final version of a paper.

We also recommend that reporters who cover preprints clearly indicate that the study has not been peer reviewed and that the claims may change.

If further clarification is required, please contact the Nature Portfolio press office by e-mail.

Nature Portfolio journals' editorials:

  • Nature Portfolio journals announce updates to their policy on preprints. Nature. Springer Nature journals unify their policy to encourage preprint sharing, May 2019

  • Nature Neuroscience clarifies policies on overlapping or concurrent submissions and embargo. Nature Neuroscience. Navigating issues of related submission and embargo, July 2014
  • The growing popularity of preprint servers is enriching the landscape of scientific communication. Nature Photonics. Celebrating the arXiv,January 2012.
  • Press embargoes of research articles can serve journals, researchers and journalists—as long as everyone plays by, and understands, the rules. Nature Chemistry. Stop press, October 2010.
  • More researchers should engage with the blogosphere, including authors of papers in press. Nature. It's good to blog, 26 February 2009.
  • Scientists may display drafts of their research papers on an established preprint server before or during submission to Nature or any Nature journal. Nature. Nature respects preprint servers, 17 March 2005.
  • Exposure of preprints on servers does not preempt their submission. Nature. Preprints and Nature,4 December 1997.

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