Nature Communications publishes original research in one format, Articles, which may range in length from short communications through to more in-depth studies. Regardless of the length, an Article is a novel and important research study of high quality and of interest to that specific research community. Articles can be up to 12 pages in length.
The main text (not including abstract, Methods, References and figure legends) is limited to 5,000 words. The maximum title length is 15 words. The abstract — which should be no more than 150 words long and contain no references — should serve both as a general introduction to the topic and as a brief, non-technical summary of the main results and their implications.
The main text of an Article should begin with an introduction (without heading) of referenced text that expands on the background of the work (some overlap with the abstract is acceptable), followed by sections headed Results, Discussion (if appropriate) and Methods (if appropriate). The Results and Methods sections may be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion should be succinct and may not contain subheadings. Methods are typically less than 3000 words. Figure legends are limited to 350 words each. References are limited to 70. Footnotes are not used.
Depending on the word count, Articles may have up to 10 display items (figures and/or tables). In addition, a limited number of uncaptioned molecular structure graphics and numbered mathematical equations may be included if necessary. To enable typesetting of papers, the number of display items should be commensurate with the word length — those with word counts less than 2,000 should have no more than 4 figures/tables. Please note that schemes are not used; these should be presented as figures.
A Review is an authoritative, balanced and scholarly survey of recent developments in a research field. Although Reviews should be recognized as scholarly by specialists in the field, they should be written with a view to informing non-specialist readers. Thus, Reviews should be presented using simple prose, avoiding excessive jargon and technical detail.
Reviews typically occupy no more than 10 pages and begin with a title of up to 15 words and a preface of less than 100 words written for a general audience. The main text should be less than 6,000 words. Reviews can include up to 8 display items (figures, tables and/or boxes). Figure legends are limited to 350 words and boxes to 750 words. References should not exceed 100 in number, so citations should be selective. Footnotes are not used. Review articles should typically have no more than three authors.
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. Unpublished primary research data are not permitted in Reviews.
Authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Reviews include received/accepted dates. Reviews are always peer reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance, and they are edited in consultation with the editorial team.
Important scientific comments and clarifications on peer-reviewed articles published in Nature Communications may be submitted as Correspondence. The guidelines for Correspondences are outlined on this page.