Content Types

On this page: ArticleBrief Communication | Review | Perspective | News & Views | Correspondence | Matters Arising | Comment | Books & Arts


An Article is a substantial novel research study of high quality and general interest to the geoscience community. The main text (including introductory paragraph, but excluding Methods, references and figure legends) is usually no longer than 2,200 words, with 4 display items (figures or tables). We have some flexibility and can offer up to 3,000 words and 6 display items where required, at the editor's discretion. As a guideline, Articles allow up to 50 references; footnotes are not used. The maximum title length is 90 characters (including spaces). The introductory paragraph is typically 180 words and is unreferenced; it contains a brief account of the background and rationale of the work, followed by a statement of the main conclusions introduced by the phrase "Here we show" or some equivalent. An introduction (without heading) of up to 500 words of referenced text expands on the background of the work, followed by a concise, focused account of the findings, subdivided by 3-4 brief subheadings. Articles end with one or two short paragraphs of discussion.

Articles include received/accepted dates and may be accompanied by an online-only Methods section (up to 3,000 words) and/or Supplementary Information. They are always peer-reviewed.

Brief Communication

A Brief Communication reports a concise research study of high quality and general interest to the geoscience community. Brief Communications begin with a brief unreferenced abstract (3 sentences, no more than 70 words), which will appear on abstracting services. The main text is no longer than 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 editor's discretion, provided the page limit is observed. As a guideline, Brief Communications allow up to 20 references; footnotes are not used.  

Brief Communications include received/accepted dates and may be accompanied by an online-only Methods section (up to 500 words) and/or Supplementary Information. They are always peer reviewed.


A Review is an authoritative, balanced 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 nonspecialist readers. Thus, reviews should be presented using simple prose, avoiding excessive jargon and technical detail. Reviews are approximately 3,000—4,000 words and typically include 4—6 display items (figures, tables or boxes). As a guideline, Reviews allow up to 100 references; citations should be selective. Footnotes are not used. The scope of a Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single research institution, and particularly not by the authors' own work.


When a literature synthesis is in a developing field and contains an element of opinion, a Perspective is the best format. Perspective articles are usually up to 2,000 words in length, with up to 4 display items (figures, tables or boxes). As a guideline, Perspective articles allow up to 50 references.

Reviews and Perspective articles are commissioned by the editors, but proposals including a short synopsis are welcome.

Reviews and Perspective articles are always peer-reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance.

News & Views

News & Views articles inform readers about the latest advances in the geosciences, as reported in recently published papers (in Nature Geoscience or elsewhere) or at scientific meetings. Most articles are commissioned, but proposals can be made to the editor in advance of publication of the paper or well before the meeting is held. News & Views articles are not usually peer-reviewed, but undergo editing in consultation with the author.


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 Geoscience. 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.


Comment articles focus on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues related to the geosciences. Single-author articles are preferred as this is an 'opinion' section of the journal. Comments are usually commissioned by the editors, but proposals are welcome. They should be of immediate interest to a broad readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Figures and diagrams are encouraged, but are not a requirement. Comments are typically no longer than 1,500 words and typically include up to 15 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list.

Comments may be peer-reviewed at the editors' discretion.

Books & Arts

The Books & Arts section publishes timely reviews of books and other technological or cultural resources of interest to geoscientists. These pieces are generally limited to one page in the journal. Reviews and articles in this section are commissioned, and unsolicited contributions are not accepted, though suggestions for appropriate books are welcome.