Matters Arising

General information

Nature Research journals recognize the importance of post-publication commentary on published research as necessary to advancing scientific discourse. Formal post-publication commentary on published papers can involve either challenges, clarifications or in some cases, replication of the published work and may, after peer review, be published online as Matters Arising, usually alongside a Reply from the original Nature Communications authors.

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

If the submission serves only to identify an important error or mistake in the published paper, it will usually lead to the publication of a clarification statement (correction or retraction, for example). Please contact naturecommunications@nature.com for these cases. Comments can also be posted on the journal’s website, under the full-text online version of the paper. Online posted comments can make reference to citable materials such as a preprint if necessary.

In all cases, Nature Communications strongly encourages correspondents to first contact the authors of the paper directly as this can often resolve matters if it is a simple misunderstanding.

Matters Arising and Replies are bidirectionally linked with the original published paper. Nature Communications does not consider Matters Arising on papers published in other journals. Contributions that do not comply with our submission criteria (see sections below) will not be considered.

Manuscript preparation and formatting

Before submission, correspondents may wish to read some previous contributions to see whether their contribution seems appropriate.

Manuscripts (both Matters Arising and Replies) should be formatted according to these instructions.

  • The main text should be as concise as possible, and ideally not exceed 1,200 words.
  • Contributions should start with a brief paragraph that summarizes the message of the article without specialized terminology, for a non-specialist readership. This paragraph should be used as the abstract for submission purposes.
  • Contributions should have a simple message that ideally requires only one or two small figures or tables.
  • At submission, figures should be of sufficient quality to be assessed by referees, ideally as JPEGs.
  • As a guideline, contributions may have up to 15 references; reference style is as for Articles.
  • Supplementary Information is permitted at the editor's discretion.
  • A competing interests statement is required.
  • An author contributions statement is required.
  • To improve the transparency of reporting and the reproducibility of published results in certain other research areas, authors in certain disciplines may be asked to complete a reporting summary and provide the requested information prior to peer review. Further details on this can be found here.

Submissions

Contributions should be submitted using the online submission service.

Before submitting, all contributors must agree to all Nature Research publication policies.

In addition:

  • All contributions should be measured in tone, and should not contain inflammatory or otherwise intemperate language.
  • Comments should ideally have been sent to the authors of the paper under discussion before submission to Nature Communications, so that disputes can be resolved directly whenever possible and points on which both parties agree removed from the submitted contribution. If an attempt to contact the original authors has been unsuccessful (for example, no response received after two weeks), this should be indicated at submission.
  • Any correspondence should accompany the submission as an attachment clearly labelled as ‘Correspondence with the Nature Communications authors’.

Editorial Process

The editors will decide how to proceed on the basis of the potential interest to readers, importance and timeliness of the contribution.

Matters Arising submissions that meet Nature Communications’ initial selection criteria are sent to the authors of the original paper for a formal response. The comments and formal response may then be sent to independent referees.

A Reply is published only when it adds to the debate, and not when it reiterates points already published. It should be confined to replying to the specific issue raised about the published paper.

Authors of the original Nature Communications publication must keep the information provided in Matters Arising confidential and must not use it for their own research or for any other purpose apart from replying to the comment.

We will not consider appeals against decisions not to publish Matters Arising unless the grounds for appeal consist of a previously overlooked and important scientific point and are clearly explained in these terms. Authors who have had a submission declined are encouraged to post it as an online comment to the paper concerned at the journal’s website and/or on an appropriate preprint server.

Matters Arising and their Replies are not subject to article processing charges.