How to Write a Report

The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision. It should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable. As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision. This is secondary to the other functions, however, and referees should not feel obliged to provide detailed advice to authors of papers that do not meet the criteria for Nature.

All feedback pertaining to the scientific evaluation of the manuscript should be stated in the comments for transmission to the authors; confidential comments to the editor may be appropriate to discuss useful sensitive information or opinion but should in no way contradict the comments to the authors.

As a peer reviewer, you will be asked to provide an assessment of the following aspects of the manuscript (where relevant, and not necessarily in this order):

  1. Key results: please summarise what you consider to be the outstanding features of the work.
  2. Validity: Does the manuscript have flaws which should prohibit its publication? If so, please provide details.
  3. Originality and significance: If the conclusions are not original, please provide relevant references. On a more subjective note, do you feel that the results presented are of immediate interest to many people in your own discipline, or to people from several disciplines?
  4. Data & methodology: validity of approach, quality of data, quality of presentation. Please note that we expect our reviewers to review all data, including the supplementary information
  5. Appropriate use of statistics and treatment of uncertainties (if applicable): all error bars should be defined in the corresponding figure legends. Please include in your report a specific comment on the appropriateness of any statistical tests, and the accuracy of the description of any error bars and probability values.
  6. Conclusions: are the conclusions and data interpretation robust, valid and reliable?
  7. Suggested improvements: please list additional experiments or data that could help strengthening the work in a revision.
  8. References: does this manuscript reference previous literature appropriately?
  9. Clarity and context: Is the abstract clear, accessible? Are abstract, introduction and conclusions appropriate?
  10. Please indicate any particular part of the manuscript, data, or analyses that you feel is outside the scope of your expertise, or that you were unable to assess fully.