Content Types

On this page: Article | Letter | Technical Report | Brief Communication | Analysis | Correspondence | News and Views | Book Review | Review | Commentary | Perspective

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 2,000-4,000 words. The abstract is typically 100 words, unreferenced. Articles have a maximum of 8 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.

Articles include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Articles are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

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 1500 words, excluding the introductory paragraph, online Methods, references and figure legends. Letters should have no more than 6 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, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Technical Report

A Technical Report presents primary research data on a new technique that is likely to be influential. This format is not a review of technology but its primary report in the literature. It may involve a new biological discovery to prove the usefulness of the technique, but this is not a requirement. Technical Reports have a format broadly similar to that of Articles, though many Technical Reports are shorter than a typical Article. They begin with an unreferenced abstract (typically 150 words) followed by separate sections for introduction, Results, Discussion (with optional subheadings) and online Methods. There is no strict limit on the number of display items. As a guideline, Technical Report allow up to 30 references, but this can be flexible at the editor's discretion.

Technical Reports include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Technical Reports are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

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 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 Communication allow up 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, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

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 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, Methods, references and figure legends) is approximately 3,000 words. 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, Analysis allow up to 50 references.

Analyses include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Analyses are peer reviewed, and authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Correspondence

A Correspondence (formerly Letters to the Editor) is a flexible format that may include anything of interest to the journal's readers, from policy debates to announcements to 'matters arising' from research papers. A Correspondence may describe primary research data, but only in summary form; this format is not intended for full presentation of data. Correspondence should never be more than one printed page, and usually much less. The number of references should not exceed 10 for either the Correspondence or its Reply, and article titles are omitted from the reference list. Titles for correspondence are supplied by the editors.

Authors must submit a competing financial interests statement, which is printed only if they declare that they have competing interests. In cases where a correspondence is critical of a previous research paper, the authors are normally given the option of publishing a brief reply. Criticism of opinions or other secondary matter does not involve an automatic right of reply.

Refutations are always peer reviewed. Other types of Correspondence may be peer reviewed at the editors' discretion.

News and Views

News and Views are by prior arrangement only. They may be linked to articles in Nature Genetics, 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. Authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Book Review

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

Authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

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.

Review 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.

Commentary

Commentary is a very flexible format; Commentaries may be on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues. 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.). As a guideline, Commentary allow up to 30 references 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.

Commentary authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. 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.

Perspective authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Perspectives are always peer reviewed and include received/accepted dates.