Content Types

Primary research formats:

Letter

A Letter reports an important novel research study.  The text is limited to 2,000 words, including the introductory paragraph, but excluding Methods, references and figure legends. Letters should have no more than 4 display items (figures and/or tables). References are limited to 30 (excluding those cited exclusively in Methods). This format begins with a title of, at most, 90 characters (including spaces), followed by an introductory paragraph (not abstract) of approximately 200 words, summarizing the background, rationale, main results (introduced by "Here we show" or some equivalent phrase) and implications of the study. This paragraph should be fully referenced and should be considered part of the main text, so that any subsequent introductory material avoids too much redundancy with the introductory paragraph. Letters are not divided by headings, except for the online Methods heading.

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

Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study of high quality and general interest to the plant community, which often draws on several techniques or approaches. The main text (excluding the abstract, Methods section, references and figure legends) is 3,000—4,000 words. Articles can have 6—8 display items (figures and/or tables). References are limited to 50 (excluding those cited exclusively in Methods). The maximum title length is 90 characters (including spaces). The abstract is no more than 150 words and is unreferenced. An introduction (without heading) of up to 500 words of referenced text expands on the background of the work (some overlap with the summary is acceptable), and is followed by a concise, focused account of the findings (headed 'Results'), and one or two short paragraphs of discussion (headed 'Discussion').

Articles include received/accepted dates and may be accompanied by supplementary information. Articles 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. 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 typically 1,000—1,500 words (excluding the abstract, Methods section, 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. References are limited to 20. Article titles are omitted from the reference list.

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

Other formats:

Review

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 non-specialist readers. Thus, reviews should be presented using simple prose, avoiding excessive jargon and technical detail. Reviews are approximately 3,000—4,000 words long and typically include 4—6 display items (figures, tables or boxes). References are limited to 100; 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.

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.

Perspective

A Perspective is intended to provide a forum for authors to discuss models and ideas from a personal viewpoint. They are more forward looking and/or speculative than Review Articles and may take a narrower field of view. They may be opinionated but should remain balanced and are intended to stimulate discussion and new experimental approaches. Perspectives follow the same formatting guidelines as Reviews. As with Review Articles, many Perspectives are invited by the editors, so it is advisable to send a pre-submission enquiry including a synopsis before preparing a manuscript for formal submission.

Perspective authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Perspectives include received/accepted dates. Perspectives are always peer reviewed and edited by the editors in consultation with the author.

News and Views

News and Views articles inform readers about the latest advances in plant research, as reported in recently published papers (in Nature Plants or elsewhere) or at scientific meetings. Unsolicited contributions will not normally be considered, although prospective authors are welcome to make proposals. News and Views are not peer reviewed, but undergo editing in consultation with the author. Authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Correspondence

The Correspondence section provides readers with a forum for comment on papers published in a previous issue of the journal, or to discuss issues relevant to plants research. A Correspondence should not exceed more than one printed page and is typically 250—500 words; it is limited to one display item and 10 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list. Titles for correspondences are supplied by the editors.

In cases where a correspondence is critical of a previous research paper, the authors of the criticized paper are given the opportunity to publish a brief reply. The criticism of opinions or other secondary matter does not involve an automatic right of reply. Critical comments should be sent to the authors of the paper under discussion before submission to Nature Plants, so that disputes can be resolved directly whenever possible and points where both parties agree removed from the submitted contribution. If after 2 weeks the original authors have not responded, this should be indicated at submission. Otherwise, when the contribution is submitted to Nature Plants, copies of the correspondence with the original authors should be enclosed for the editor’s information.

Refutations of previous publications are always peer-reviewed. Other types of Correspondence may be peer-reviewed at the editors' discretion. Authors must submit a competing financial interests statement.

Comment

Comment articles can focus on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues related to plants research. 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 include up to 15 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list.

Comment authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication. Comments may be peer-reviewed at the editors' discretion.

Books & Arts

The Books & Arts section comprises timely reviews of books and other cultural and pedagogical resources of interest to microbiologists. The pieces are limited to one page. They are usually commissioned, though unsolicited contributions will be considered.

Authors must provide a competing financial interests statement before publication.

Features and News Features

These sections are written and commissioned by the journal editors. They do not contain unsolicited material. We are, however, keen to accept freelance pitches of exclusive stories, particularly conference coverage from locations where we do not have staff, or reports from interesting field work.

All of our features are written with a lively, proactive tone, using language that is clear even to readers for whom English is not their native tongue. Stories should be accessible to those with a general interest and background in science.

For details on how to pitch to Nature Plants, contact the editor at plants@nature.com