Editorial & publishing policies

General publishing policies

Please see authors & referees @ npg for detailed information about author and referee services and publication policies of the Nature family of journals. These journals, including Nature Communications, share a number of common policies including the following:

Author responsibilities
Licence agreement and author copyright
Embargo policy and press releases
Use of experimental animals and human subjects
Competing financial interests
Availability of materials and data
Digital image integrity and standards
Biosecurity concerns
Refutations, complaints and corrections
Duplicate publication
Confidentiality and pre-publicity
Plagiarism and fabrication

Manuscript submission policies

Life sciences reporting guidelines

Authors of life sciences research papers that are sent for external review must include in their manuscripts relevant details about several elements of experimental and analytical design. These requirements aim to improve the transparency of reporting and the reproducibility of published results. They focus on elements of methodological information that are frequently poorly reported (see more details on these elements here). During peer review, authors may be asked to confirm that these elements are included in the manuscript by filling out a checklist that will be made available to the editors and reviewers.

Photovoltaics reporting checklist

Authors of photovoltaic research papers that are sent for external review must include in their manuscripts relevant details about technical and statistical information about the characterization procedure adopted, and will be asked to confirm that these elements are included in the manuscript by filling out a photovoltaics checklist. These requirements aim to improve the transparency and the reproducibility of published results and were designed in consultation with experts of the photovoltaic research community. More details can be found here.

Characterization of chemical and biomolecular materials

Nature Communications is committed to publishing the highest-quality research. Manuscripts submitted to the journal will be held to rigorous standards with respect to experimental methods and characterization of new compounds. Authors must provide adequate data to support their assignment of identity and purity for each new compound described in the manuscript. Authors should provide a statement confirming the source, identity and purity of known compounds that are central to the scientific study, even if they are purchased or resynthesized using published methods.

1. Chemical identity
Chemical identity for organic and organometallic compounds should be established through spectroscopic analysis. Standard peak listings (see formatting guidelines below) for 1H NMR and proton-decoupled 13C NMR should be provided for all new compounds. Other NMR data should be reported (31P NMR, 19F NMR, etc.) when appropriate. For new materials, authors should also provide mass spectral data to support molecular weight identity. High-resolution mass spectral (HRMS) data are preferred. UV or IR spectral data may be reported for the identification of characteristic functional groups, when appropriate. Melting-point ranges should be provided for crystalline materials. Specific rotations may be reported for chiral compounds. Authors should provide references, rather than detailed procedures, for known compounds, unless their protocols represent a departure from or improvement on published methods.

2. Combinatorial compound libraries
Authors describing the preparation of combinatorial libraries should include standard characterization data for a diverse panel of library components.

3. Biomolecular identity
For new biopolymeric materials (oligosaccharides, peptides, nucleic acids, etc.), direct structural analysis by NMR spectroscopic methods may not be possible. In these cases, authors must provide evidence of identity based on sequence (when appropriate) and mass spectral characterization.

4. Biological constructs
Authors should provide sequencing or functional data that validates the identity of their biological constructs (plasmids, fusion proteins, site-directed mutants, etc.) either in the manuscript text or the Methods section, as appropriate.

5. Sample purity
Evidence of sample purity is requested for each new compound. Methods for purity analysis depend on the compound class. For most organic and organometallic compounds, purity may be demonstrated by high-field1H NMR or 13C NMR data, although elemental analysis (±0.4%) is encouraged for small molecules. Quantitative analytical methods including chromatographic (GC, HPLC, etc.) or electrophoretic analyses may be used to demonstrate purity for small molecules and polymeric materials.

6. Spectral data
Detailed spectral data for new compounds should be provided in list form (see below) in the Methods section. Figures containing spectra generally will not be published as a manuscript figure unless the data are directly relevant to the central conclusions of the paper. Authors are encouraged to include high-quality images of spectral data for key compounds in the Supplementary Information. Specific NMR assignments should be listed after integration values only if they were unambiguously determined by multidimensional NMR or decoupling experiments. Authors should provide information about how assignments were made in a general Methods section.

Example format for compound characterization data. mp: 100–102 °C (lit.ref 99–101 °C); TLC (CHCl3:MeOH, 98:2 v/v): Rf = 0.23; [α]D = -21.5 (0.1 M in n-hexane); 1H NMR (400 MHz, CDCl3): δ 9.30 (s, 1H), 7.55–7.41 (m, 6H), 5.61 (d, J = 5.5 Hz, 1H), 5.40 (d, J = 5.5 Hz, 1H), 4.93 (m, 1H), 4.20 (q, J = 8.5 Hz, 2H), 2.11 (s, 3H), 1.25 (t, J = 8.5 Hz, 3H); 13C NMR (125 MHz, CDCl3): δ 165.4, 165.0, 140.5, 138.7, 131.5, 129.2, 118.6, 84.2, 75.8, 66.7, 37.9, 20.1; IR (Nujol): 1765 cm-1; UV/Vis: λmax 267 nm; HRMS (m/z): [M]+ calcd. for C20H15Cl2NO5, 420.0406; found, 420.0412; analysis (calcd., found for C20H15Cl2NO5): C (57.16, 57.22), H (3.60, 3.61), Cl (16.87, 16.88), N (3.33, 3.33), O (19.04, 19.09).

7. Crystallographic data for small molecules
Manuscripts reporting new three-dimensional structures of small molecules from crystallographic analysis should include a .cif file and a structural figure with probability ellipsoids for publication as Supplementary Information. These must have been checked using the IUCR's CheckCIF routine, and a PDF copy of the output must be included with the submission, together with a justification for any alerts reported. Crystallographic data for small molecules should be submitted to the Cambridge Structural Database and the deposition number referenced appropriately in the manuscript. Full access must be provided on publication.

8. Macromolecular structural data
Manuscripts reporting new structures should contain a table summarizing structural and refinement statistics. Templates for such tables describing cryo-EMNMR and X-ray crystallography data are available here. To facilitate assessment of the quality of the structural data, a stereo image of a portion of the electron density map (for crystallography papers) or of the superimposed lowest energy structures (>10; for NMR papers) should be provided with the submitted manuscript. If the reported structure represents a novel overall fold, a stereo image of the entire structure (as a backbone trace) should also be provided.

Competing financial interests

A competing financial interests statement is required for all content of the journal. This statement will be published at the end of all papers, whether or not a competing financial interest is reported.