Content Types

On this page: Article | Letter | Brief Communication | Resource | Analysis | Correspondence | Matters Arising | News and Views | Book Review | Review | Commentary | Perspective | Feature | Patent Article | Careers and Recruitment | Primer

Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study, with a complex story often involving several techniques or approaches. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is 3000 words. The abstract is typically 150 words, unreferenced. Articles have 6 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings;the Discussion does not contain subheadings. As a guideline, Articles allow up to 50 references.

Articles include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Articles are peer reviewed.

Letter

A Letter reports an important novel research result, but is less substantial than an Article. This format begins with an introductory paragraph (not abstract) of approximately 150 words, summarizing the background, rationale, main results and implications. This paragraph should be referenced, as in Nature style, and should be considered part of main text, so that any subsequent introductory material avoids too much redundancy with the introductory paragraph. The text is limited to 2000 words, excluding the introductory paragraph, online Methods, references and figure legends. As a guideline, Letters allow up to 30 references. Letters should have no more than 2-3 display items (figures and/or tables). Letters are not divided by headings, except for the online Methods headings.

Letters include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Letters are peer reviewed.

Brief Communication

A Brief Communication reports a concise study of high quality and broad interest. This format may not exceed 3 printed pages. Brief Communications begin with a brief unreferenced abstract (3 sentences, no more than 70 words), which will appear on Medline. The title is limited to 10 words (or 90 characters). The main text is typically 1,000-1,500 words, including abstract, references and figure legends, and contains no headings. Brief Communications normally have no more than 2 display items, although this may be flexible at the discretion of the editor, provided the page limit is observed. Brief Communications include an online Methods section. As a guideline, Brief Communications allow up to to 20 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list.

Brief Communications include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Brief Communications are peer reviewed.

Resource

A Resource presents a large data set (such as a comprehensive list of proteins in an organelle or tissue, a genome-wide antibody library, coordinated analysis of cells or reagents by several different laboratories) of broad utility, interest and significance to the community. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is approximately 3,000 words. The abstract is typically 100-150 words, unreferenced. Resources have no more than 6 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion does not contain subheadings. As a guideline, Reseources allow up to 50 references.

Resources include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Resources are peer reviewed.

Analysis

An Analysis is a new analysis of existing data (typically large genomic, transcriptomic or proteomic data sets from arrays or other high-throughput platforms) or describe new data obtained in a comparative analysis of technologies that lead to novel and arresting conclusions of importance to a broad audience. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is approximately 3,000. The abstract is typically 100-150 words, unreferenced. Analyses have no more than 6 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion does not contain subheadings. As a guideline, Analyses allow up to 50 references.

Analyses include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Resources are peer reviewed.

Correspondence

The Correspondence section provides a forum for comment on issues relevant to the journal’s community. This format may not be used for presentation of research data or analysis. A Correspondence should not exceed more than two printed pages and can range from 300-800 words; it is limited to one display item and up to 10 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list. Correspondence may be peer-reviewed at the editors’ discretion. Note that Correspondence pieces are not technical comments on peer-reviewed research papers which would be considered Matters Arising.

Matters Arising

Matters Arising are exceptionally interesting and timely scientific comments and clarifications on original research papers published in Nature Biotechnology. These comments should ideally be based on knowledge contemporaneous with the original paper, rather than subsequent scientific developments.

For detailed information on how to submit a Matters Arising, please follow instructions here.

News and Views

News and Views are by prior arrangement only. They may be linked to articles in Nature Biotechnology, or they may focus on papers of exceptional significance that are published elsewhere. Unsolicited contributions will not normally be considered, although prospective authors are welcome to make proposals.

News and Views are not peer reviewed.

Book Review

Book Reviews are by prior arrangement only, although suggestions are welcome. Book reviews are not peer reviewed.

Review

A Review is an authoritative, balanced and scholarly survey of recent developments in a research field. The requirement for balance need not prevent authors from proposing a specific viewpoint, but if there are controversies in the field, the authors must treat them in an even-handed way. Reviews are normally 3,000-4,000 words, and illustrations are strongly encouraged. As a guideline, Reviews allow up to 100 references, with exceptions possible in special cases. Citations should be selective and, in the case of particularly important studies (≤ 10% of all the references), we encourage authors to provide short annotations explaining why these are key contributions. The scope of a Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single laboratory, and particularly not by the authors' own work.

Reviews include received/accepted dates. Reviews are always peer reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance.

Commentary

Commentary is a very flexible format, focusing on the scientific, commercial, ethical, legal, societal, or political issues surrounding biotechnology research. Commentary articles should be topical, readable, provocative and introduce new concepts/points of view, providing a personal perspective on a biotechnology-based matter of public or scientific importance. The main criteria are that they should be of immediate interest to a broad readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Their length is typically 1-4 pages, although some may be longer. Because the content is variable, the format is also flexible. Commentaries do not normally contain primary research data, although they may present 'sociological' data (funding trends, demographics, bibliographic data, etc.). References should be used sparingly (10-25), and article titles are omitted from the reference list.

The related format Historical Commentary is a journalistic treatment of the history of a particular discovery or technical development. These pieces may be a personal account by one of the participants or may present strong personal opinions. This format does not necessarily seek scholarly balance, and it should be journalistic and accessible rather than scholarly in style.

Commentaries may be peer reviewed at the editors' discretion.

Perspective

Perspective is a new format for scholarly reviews and discussions of the primary research literature that are too technical for a Commentary but do not meet the criteria for a Review—either because the scope is too narrow, or because the author is advocating a controversial position or a speculative hypothesis or discussing work primarily from one group. Two reviews advocating opposite sides in a research controversy are normally published as Perspectives. The text should not normally exceed 3000 words. As a guideline, Perspectives allow up to 50 references.

The related format Historical Perspective is a more technical account of a particular scientific development. Like other Perspectives, and in contrast to Historical Commentary, Historical Perspectives are scholarly reviews, including citation of key references, aiming to present a balanced account of the historical events, not merely personal opinions or reminiscences.

Perspectives include received/accepted dates and are always peer reviewed.

Feature

A Feature encompasses both the technical and commercial aspects of biotechnology. This format is intended not only to complement the emerging scientific developments reported in the research section, but also to provide a forum for regulatory and business topics that would otherwise not be covered in the journal. Articles are generally no more than 3,000 words, should be well illustrated with tables and figures, and are written in a journalistic style accessible to a wide range of nonspecialist readers. Nature Biotechnology welcomes submissions of ideas for future feature topics.

Patent Article

A Patent Article offers Nature Biotechnology's readership an expert insight and analysis of the legal issues that pertain to biotechnology, including patenting, licensing, and technology transfer. Written by specialists in the field, patent articles are an informative guide to the legal aspects of biotechnology research and industry. Nature Biotechnology welcomes submissions of ideas for future feature topics.

Careers and Recruitment

A Careers and Recruitment article provides a view on training, career development, or hiring issues and information on the biotechnology job market. Nature Biotechnology welcomes submissions of ideas for future topics.

Primer

A Primer describes an approach to computational analysis in simple terms for a biological researcher. The article briefly describes the approach in a historical context and in the context of other computational approaches, the principles underlying the analysis, and how it can be applied to contemporary problems in biology.