Content Types

On this page: Article | Letter | Correspondence | Matters Arising | Commentary | News and Views | Review | Perspective | Cover Artwork

Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study that often involves several techniques or approaches. The main text (excluding abstract, Methods, references and figure legends) is 2,000–3,000 words. The abstract is 150 words maximum, and is unreferenced. Articles have 4–6 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (of up to 500 words) is followed by a concise, focused account of the findings, ending with one or two short paragraphs of discussion. The main text can be divided by headings if necessary. As a guideline, Articles allow up to 50 references. A Methods section is published online-only, immediately following the main text and figures. It should be written in such detail that experiments can be reproduced by others.

Articles include received/accepted dates and may be accompanied by supplementary information. Articles are peer reviewed.

Letter

A Letter reports an important novel research result, but is less substantial than an Article. Letters typically occupy four printed journal pages. This format begins with an introductory paragraph (not abstract) of 150 words maximum, summarizing the background, rationale, main results and implications. This paragraph should be referenced, as in Nature style, and should be considered part of the main text, so that any subsequent introductory material avoids too much repetition of the introductory paragraph. The text is limited to 2000 words, excluding the introductory paragraph, Methods, references and figure legends. As a guideline, Letters allow up to 30 references. Letters should have no more than 3–5 display items (figures and/or tables). A Methods section is published online-only, immediately following the main text and figures. It should be written in such detail that experiments can be reproduced by others.

Letters include received/accepted dates and may be accompanied by supplementary information. Letters are peer reviewed.

Correspondence

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 Materials. 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.

Commentary

Commentaries (or Comments) have a very flexible format; comments may be on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues. The main criteria are that they should be of immediate interest to the materials research community and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Their length is typically 1–3 pages, although some may be longer. Commentaries do not normally contain primary research data, although they may present 'sociological' data (funding trends, demographics, bibliographic data, etc.). References are limited to 25, and article titles are omitted from the reference list.

The best commentaries are provocative and justify a new concept or point of view. They are written at a level accessible to readers who are not researchers themselves but who are interested in materials research. Unsolicited manuscripts are sometimes considered, but short proposals in the form of a one-paragraph synopsis are preferred. Commentaries may be peer-reviewed at the editors' discretion.

News and Views

Nature Materials is committed to providing its readers with a broad and accessible overview of the most important and interesting advances in the field. Our News & Views section is specifically designed to achieve this goal: News and Views articles inform readers about the latest advances in materials research, as reported in published papers (appearing in Nature Materials or elsewhere) and at scientific meetings. Most of the articles are commissioned, but proposals can be made to the Editor at materials@nature.com. We particularly encourage News and Views suggestions not linked to our own papers, and authors need not be shy about alerting us to their own forthcoming publications in other journals or to particularly interesting meetings they may be attending.

When a News and Views article is commissioned the editors provide further guidelines about the format and content. As a general guideline, News and Views articles are always short (up to 1,000 words in length) and have as much in common with journalistic news reports as the formal scientific literature. So the central message of the News and Views must be stated clearly in the first paragraph and the piece should be written in a manner readily accessible to non-specialists. In this respect, it is essential to ask a colleague from an unrelated discipline to comment on the article before submitting it to Nature Materials. Personal opinions, viewpoints, criticisms and predictions are encouraged. The submission of figures and artwork is strongly encouraged, to illustrate both specific points made in the piece and the more general context. News and Views are not peer reviewed.

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 5,000–6,000 words, and typically include 6–8 display items (figures, tables or boxes); illustrations are strongly encouraged. As a guideline, Reviews allow up to 100 references, with exceptions possible in special cases. Citations should be selective. 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. Most reviews are commissioned, but unsolicited proposals are also welcomed.

Reviews articles are always peer-reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance. They include received/accepted dates.

Perspective

Perspectives (formerly Progress articles) are a second format for scholarly reviews and discussions of the primary research literature. They are usually commissioned, although also unsolicited proposals can be considered.

Perspectives are shorter than Reviews and may be narrower in scope. They typically present a focused review of a rapidly moving area of science, or discuss a developing field of research that is not yet mature enough to justify a full review. Perspectives may also present speculative hypotheses, new concepts or points of views.

Perspectives begin with a 100–150-word unreferenced abstract written for a general audience. The main text may be up to 4,000 words. Perspectives should include no more than 5 display items (figures, tables and/or boxes). As a guideline, Perspectives allow up to 80 references. Footnotes are not used. Perspectives should typically have no more than three authors. Unpublished primary research data are not permitted in Perspectives.

Perspectives include received/accepted dates. Perspectives are always peer-reviewed to ensure factual accuracy, appropriate citations and scholarly balance, and they are edited in consultation with the editorial team.

Cover Artwork

Authors are encouraged to submit artwork for consideration. Cover images are normally (but not necessarily) linked to specific papers in that issue, but we may also be able to use other images elsewhere in the journal. Illustrations are selected for their scientific interest and aesthetic appeal. Should you wish to submit cover artwork, please contact the Nature Materials office at materials@nature.com for further information.