Policies

On this page: Competing interests | Authorship | ORCID | Plagiarism | Patient consent and confidentialityData sharing | Biosecurity | Materials from third parties | Permissions | Copyright | Preprint policy | Self-archiving | Reviewer information | ECR peer review initiative

As part of Nature Research, the Nature Reviews journals follow common policies as detailed in the Nature Research authors and referees policy pages, and we request that our authors and prospective authors abide by all of them. However, we want to draw your attention to the following policies and guidelines.

Competing interests

In the interests of transparency, any financial and non-financial competing interests must be declared both within the text of the article and via our online submission system upon submission. A detailed explanation can be found in the Nature Research journals’ policy on competing interests. Authors can decline to disclose their competing interests if they are bound by confidentiality agreements, but we will publish the fact that they have declined to provide information. Competing interests will be disclosed to referees and will be published online and in print.

Authorship

All authors are expected to have substantially contributed to at least one of the following: researching the literature, discussions of the article content, writing and/or substantial editing or reviewing of the draft manuscript. Authorship should be agreed with the editor during the commissioning stage and any changes should be discussed with the editor. Unless otherwise agreed with the editor, we expect the commissioned author to remain as the corresponding author. If the author list changes after initial submission, all co authors must sign a change of authorship form; please discuss with the editor. Please note that Nature Reviews Microbiology reserves the right not to consider manuscripts that have contributions from medical writers and prefers all authors to have primary academic affiliations. Writing assistance should be acknowledged in the article. More information on authorship including the responsibilities of the corresponding authors and co-authors is outlined here.

ORCID for corresponding authors

As part of our efforts to improve transparency in authorship, we request that all corresponding authors on published papers provide their Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID) before resubmitting the final version of the manuscript. ORCID helps the scientific community achieve unambiguous attribution of all scholarly contributions. For guidance on how to link your ORCID idea to your profile, please refer to these instructions

Non-corresponding authors do not have to link their ORCID but are encouraged to do so. Please note that it will not be possible to add or modify ORCID details once the article has been formally accepted.

Plagiarism

The Nature Reviews journals aim to publish articles that provide originality and fresh insight and will not knowingly publish an article containing text copied from previously published work, including the author’s own. The Nature Reviews journals are part of CrossCheck, an initiative to help editors verify the originality of submitted manuscripts. As part of this process, submitted manuscripts are scanned and compared with the CrossCheck database. Further details on the Nature journals’ policy on plagiarism can be found here

Patient consent and confidentiality

For all articles that include information or clinical photographs that could in any way lead to a patient or patients being identified by readers, written and signed consent to publish must be obtained from each patient concerned before submission. Informed consent requires that  the patient or guardian grants consent via a Nature consent form (or any alternative form, provided it meets our requirements). In some instances, we require that research participants (or the guardian) are given the manuscript and are able to see the images of research participants in context as they would be published  The image must be removed if authors have not obtained informed consent and/or a human research participant cannot be traced. A standard statement affirming that the authors have obtained written informed consent from the human research participants will be included in the published manuscript. Further details can be found in the Nature journals’ policy on bio­ethics.

Data sharing

A condition of publication in a Nature-branded journal is that authors are required to make materials, data, code and associated protocols promptly available to readers without undue qualifications. The inclusion of unpublished materials, data or code in a Nature Reviews article should be avoided and the authors should make it sufficiently clear that the material has not been published before and a data availability statement must be included. In addition, any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the editors at the time of submission. Any restrictions must also be disclosed in the submitted manuscript. Where code is discussed or published datasets are used for further analysis, a code availability or data availability statement, respectively, should be included in the manuscript. Further details on the Nature journals’ policy on availability of data, material and methods can be found here

Biosecurity issues

Nature Reviews editors might seek advice on any aspect of a submitted paper that raises concerns. These might occasionally include security issues such as the threat posed by bioweapons. Advice might be sought on such issues as part of the refereeing process. As is the case for all publishing decisions, the ultimate decision of whether to publish an article is the responsibility of the Chief Editor of the journal concerned. Further details can be found in the Nature journals’ policy on bio­security.

Materials from third parties

We prefer to avoid reproducing material (for example, figures, tables, boxes and videos) directly from other publications unless it is exceptionally informative. However, we recognize that to illustrate some concepts the use of published data is required and the reuse of previously published display items might be necessary. If you do not own the item, or wish to reuse items from previously published or copyrighted material, you must declare this; the corresponding author will be provided with a Third Party Rights Table to make these declarations, which should be completed and returned to the editorial office as early as possible. If we are unable to obtain the necessary rights for display items to be reproduced or adapted, we will contact you to discuss the sourcing of alternative material.

Permissions

Springer Nature grants permission for authors, readers and third parties to reproduce material from its journals and online products as part of another publication or entity. This includes, for example, the use of a figure in a presentation, the posting of an abstract on a web site, or the reproduction of a full article within another journal. Certain permissions can be granted free of charge; others incur a fee. Find out more on our policy website.

Copyright for most content in Nature Reviews journals is assigned to Springer Nature Limited, unless authors are contractually unable to assign copyright, for example, if they are government employees, in which case they should grant a Licence to Publish, or for some article types. The corresponding author will be provided with a copy­right assignment form, which should be completed and returned to the editorial office as early as possible following the accept-in-principle stage. If a Licence to Publish form is required, please inform the editor.

Preprint policy

Although Nature Research encourages posting of preprints on preprint servers, authors’ or institutional websites, please do note that this policy only applies to primary research manuscripts. Preprints are defined as an author’s version of a manuscript prior to formal peer review. Please check Nature Research’s preprint policy for further details. 

Self-archiving

Authors can self-archive the Author's Accepted Manuscript of their Nature Reviews article with a release date of 6 months post publication. They cannot self-archive the published PDF or HTML versions of their articles. The Author's Accepted Manuscript is the version that is accepted for publication, after peer-review, but prior to final detailed line-edits, copyediting and typesetting. Note that some editorial input in the form of feedback on scope, flow, scientific content, language and display items might already have been provided to this version of the manuscript. Any boxes, figures and tables drawn by the publisher, or originally published elsewhere, for which the authors do not possess copyright cannot be made available. Nature Reviews does not provide a manuscript deposition service for articles. We also offer readers a shareable, view-only Readcube link to the full text, which will help your article to be read as widely as possible. More information here.

Reviewer information

In recognition of the time and expertise our reviewers provide to the editorial process, all Nature Reviews journals formally acknowledge their contribution to the external peer review of published articles. For manuscripts submitted from the 6th of January 2020 onwards, we will include a statement of thanks on all peer-reviewed content published in the Nature Reviews journals including on articles where reviewers choose to remain anonymous and we will leave the choice to be named solely to the reviewer. For manuscripts submitted prior to the 6th of January 2020, publication of the reviewer’s names and the statement is conditional on the authors opting in. We will NOT be publishing any of the submitted peer review comments nor add names of reviewers to the peer review reports sent to the authors. Please refer to this page for more information and the complete policy of Reviewer information at Nature Reviews.

ECR peer review initiative

The Nature Reviews journals are committed to facilitating training in peer review and to ensuring that everyone involved in our peer-review process is appropriately recognised. We have therefore started an initiative to encourage established referees to involve an early-career researcher (ECR) in our peer review process on some Nature Reviews journals. The review that they compile together will be considered a co-review, meaning that both receive recognition for their contributions. We will send instructions to the early-career researcher and ensure that their referee activity is logged on our systems so that they are recognised for their review activity.