How to transfer manuscripts

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Manuscript transfer frequently asked questions

The Nature journals and other journals published by Springer Nature are committed to providing the highest standards of service to authors in their submission and peer-review processes. If the editors of a journal decide that they cannot offer to publish an author’s manuscript, our redesigned manuscript transfer facility allows authors to easily resubmit their existing manuscript materials to a selection of other journals published by Springer Nature.

What are the benefits of manuscript transfer?

  • You choose: Authors have full control over whether and where to transfer their manuscript.
  • Save time: Complete the transfer with just a few clicks. No need to re-enter submission information. No reformatting required for transfers between Nature-titled journals.
  • Publish faster: Efficient use of existing materials and referee reports speeds consideration and publication.
  • Unburden referees: Existing referee comments can be used by the receiving journal, and in the case of transfers between Nature-titled journals referee identities will also be passed on to aid rapid decision making.

What journals are included in this service?

The highest level of service is provided to authors submitting to and transferring between Nature-titled journals (NatureNature Portfolio Journals and Nature Communications) and the Communications journals. A selection of academic partner journals, including the npj Series, also provides their authors with access to our manuscript transfer facility. Scientific Reports is available as a potential receiving journal for all authors using the transfer facility.

What is transferred?

The following information and materials are transferred regardless of which pair of journals you transfer between:

  • All author and manuscript information.
  • All manuscript files, including the cover letter.
  • In virtually all cases, referee comments to the author for this and all previous versions of the manuscript, but only if the manuscript was peer reviewed. This does not include referee identities, but see below.

For transfers between Nature-titled journals and between certain pairs of academic journals the following are also transferred:

  • The editor's decision letter to the authors. No other correspondence is transferred.
  • The identities of the handling editors.
  • Any formal rebuttal letter from the authors that was uploaded to the system.
  • If the manuscript was peer reviewed, all referee identities and their confidential comments to the editor. This includes both the current version of the manuscript and any previous versions.

How does manuscript transfer work?

Negative decision letters contain a link to our transfer facility at the bottom of the email. Clicking this link will open a web page displaying a list of suggested journals, determined by the subject area of the originating journal and the subject terms you assigned to your manuscript. If the editor handling your manuscript recommended transfer to a particular journal in the decision letter, this journal will be highlighted at the top of the list. Authors may also view the full list of available journals in order to choose from alternative journals that aren’t listed by default. Journal metrics and other information are provided to help guide the decision on where to transfer. The transfer process involves the following steps:

  1. Select a journal.
  2. Select a manuscript type.
  3. Review your choices.
  4. Choose whether to modify your manuscript before resubmitting it to the new journal.
  5. Transfer manuscript materials to the new journal.

Does clicking the transfer link and selecting a journal commit me to transferring my manuscript?

No. No information is transferred until you complete the process described above. Even after this process is complete you have the option of contacting the receiving journal and withdrawing your manuscript.

Will the editor handling my manuscript discuss it with editors of other journals?

It depends. In an effort to provide a more informed and rapid route to publication, all authors submitting to Nature-titled journals are asked at initial submission whether, in the event their manuscript is determined to be unsuitable for that journal, they agree to allow the editor to discuss their manuscript with an editor at another Nature journal. If you have agreed to this, the editor may consult with another Nature journal to determine whether they are interested in the manuscript. If the manuscript has been peer reviewed this consultation will likely include discussion of the concerns raised by the referees. When appropriate, the editor will often use this information to convey to you which referee concerns should to be addressed before publication could be offered in the new journal. Consultation is confidential and at the editor’s discretion; its only purpose is to provide you with an alternative recommendation and to facilitate rapid publication in an appropriate Nature journal.

Do I need to follow the editor’s recommendation of where to transfer?

No. Although the editor may recommend another journal, and in the case of Nature-titled journals may also first consult with an editor at the recommended journal, the only purpose is to provide you with a better recommendation. A recommendation is never binding; you may transfer to any journal regardless of editorial recommendation. The decision of where to resubmit a manuscript is always the author’s.

Will transfer of negative peer review comments preclude consideration at the receiving journal?

No. Editors expect to see criticism, even of work that is suitable for publication. Criticisms can often be readily addressed or a serious criticism at one journal may be less of an issue at another journal due to differences in journal scope or perceived significance of the work.

Can and should I address negative referee comments during the transfer process?

Probably. Although you have the option of transferring all materials with no changes, you may alternatively choose to modify and replace your manuscript files and update manuscript information. It is generally not advisable to take the time to add additional data or make substantial changes to a manuscript during transfer. However, the decision process at the receiving journal can be greatly accelerated if you provide a point-by-point response to the referee comments and explain what changes would or would not be made, and/or highlight what effort would be needed to address the various points.

Should I modify my manuscript even if it wasn’t peer reviewed?

Possibly. Because journals have different editorial scopes or expectations with regard to perceived significance it can sometimes be helpful to revise your materials to better reflect the expectations of the new journal. Alternatively, the transfer facility provides a comment box on the final step where you can add comments for the editors of the new journal or paste new cover letter text. Please remove any confidential information from the original cover letter that you don’t want to communicate to a different journal. Additionally, if you wish to opt into In Review at the receiving journal you can only do this if you choose to modify your manuscript during transfer. Any decision to opt into In Review at the original journal is not transferred to the new journal.

How do I modify my manuscript files after I transfer?

The transfer facility allows you to indicate that you would like to modify your files after transfer to the new journal. If you choose this option you will receive a confirmation email at the end of the transfer process telling you that you may now modify your files. A link in that email will allow you to access your submission at the new journal and replace any of your files prior to formally submitting to the new journal.

How do I opt into In Review when I transfer my manuscript?

In Review at Nature journals provides journal-integrated preprint deposition on the Research Square platform. Any decision to opt into In Review at the original journal is not transferred to the receiving journal on transfer. To opt into In Review at the receiving journal you should choose to modify your manuscript on transfer. You will receive a confirmation email with a link allowing you to access your submission at the new journal where you can opt into In Review prior to formally submitting to the new journal.

Will the receiving journal request comments from new referees?

Maybe. If referee identities are transferred every effort is made to rely solely on the referees who already evaluated the work. A new referee(s) will only be assigned if the original referees are unavailable or there is a strong editorial need.

Does manuscript transfer allow me to retain my original submission date?

No. All journals are editorially independent; in the event of publication in the receiving journal, the published 'received date' will be the date when the receiving journal receives the transferred manuscript.

May I transfer my manuscript and also appeal the decision at the original journal?

No. A manuscript may only be under consideration at one journal at a time. Authors may not appeal decisions or enter into correspondence with the journal that has declined their manuscript while simultaneously transferring the manuscript for consideration by another journal.

If my manuscript is rejected after transfer can I use the original transfer link to transfer to another journal?

No. The transfer link to the manuscript transfer facility expires upon completion of transfer to another journal. You must use the new transfer link from the second journal to transfer to a third journal. Multiple transfers will not prejudice editorial consideration at a receiving journal.

Do I need to use the transfer system to submit to another journal?

No. If you do not wish to transfer information about a previous review process, you may instead submit the manuscript directly to the second journal using the usual submission procedure. If you use the usual submission procedure, the editors will not automatically have knowledge of any prior submissions to other journals.

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Identifying an alternative journal for publication

In addition to our transfer facility that suggests alternative journals to transfer a manuscript to, Springer Nature has a site index of publications that can assist authors in deciding where to transfer their manuscript. Alternatively, our subject area page allows authors to browse or search for specific research areas covered by Springer Nature journals. Examination of subject area pages on topics most closely related to your manuscript can help you find journals publishing articles similar to your own.

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