Writing your report
On this page: Criteria for publication | Elements of a reviewer report | Providing constructive feedback | Confidential comments to editors | Submitting your report
Thank you for agreeing to review for a Nature Reviews journal. Your feedback will be very valuable, and we thank you in advance for your time.
If you are interested, please see our overview of the editorial process.
Criteria for publication
Your report is vital in helping our editors decide if the manuscript meets the journal’s criteria for publication, and we ask you to keep the following factors in mind when you write your report:
- Clarity of scope and aim of the article
- Logical presentation and discussion of ideas
- New insight into recent advances
- Accessibility of the article to a wide audience, including readers who are not specialists in the field
- Fair and accurate discussion of the literature
- Clarity and accuracy of display items
- References that are appropriate, well-curated, up-to-date and fit the scope of the article
Nature Reviews journals publish a range of peer-reviewed articles, including Reviews, Evidence-Based Guidelines, Consensus Statements, Primers and Perspectives pieces. Not all Nature Reviews journals publish all article types, and some journals have unique article types. When the article is sent out for peer review, reviewers will receive more specific information about the format of the article, which they need to take into account during peer-review. For example, a Review article should provide a balanced overview and authoritative discussion of the literature, whereas some Perspectives articles should clearly express the opinions of the author, while remaining fair, accurate, and not ignoring alternative points of view.
Please consult the instructions provided directly by the editor, which may provide more detail or specific instructions for the manuscript under consideration.
The primary purpose of your review is to provide feedback on the soundness of the manuscript. This will help authors to improve their manuscript and editors to reach a decision. We do not ask that you make a recommendation regarding publication, but you can set out the arguments for and against publication if you so wish.
Elements of a reviewer report
In your report, please comment on the following aspects of the manuscript.
Your overview of the key messages of the article, in your own words, highlighting what you find significant or notable. Usually, this can be summarized in a short paragraph.
Your evaluation of the interpretation of recent advances and the level of insight given by the authors. If you feel there are flaws that prohibit the manuscript’s publication, please describe them in detail.
Your view on the potential significance of the article and its conclusions for the field. If you think that other findings in the published literature compromise the manuscript’s significance, please provide relevant references.
Clarity and context
Your view on the clarity and accessibility of the text, and whether the discussion has been provided with sufficient context and consideration of previous work. Note that we are not asking for you to comment on language issues such as spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Your view on whether the manuscript references the literature appropriately. Please be mindful of balance and of ensuring that important studies within the scope of the article are fairly represented.
Your opinion on the suitability and usefulness of display items in the manuscript, including boxes, figures and tables. As figures will be redrawn at a later stage, please focus on the science rather than the quality.
Your suggestions for additional discussion that could help strengthen the work and make it suitable for publication in the journal. Suggestions should be limited to the present scope of the manuscript; that is, they should only include what can be reasonably addressed in a revision and exclude what would significantly change the scope of the work. The editor will assess all the suggestions received and provide additional guidance to the authors.
Please indicate any particular part of the manuscript that you feel is outside the scope of your expertise, or that you were unable to assess fully.
Providing constructive feedback
We ask reviewers to approach peer review with a sincere intention to help the authors improve their manuscripts. Nearly all submissions have weaknesses to be addressed: the best and most constructive reports suggest specific improvements; such feedback can be used by authors to improve their manuscript to the point where it might be suitable for acceptance. Even in instances where manuscripts are rejected, your report will help authors interpret the editor’s decision and improve their work prior to submission elsewhere.
You should be direct in your report, but you should also maintain a respectful tone. As a matter of policy, we do not censor the content of reviewer reports; any comments that were intended for the authors are transmitted, regardless of what we may think of the content. On rare occasions, we may edit a report to remove offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information about other matters.
Confidential comments to editors
Your comments to the authors should contain all feedback pertaining to the scientific evaluation of the manuscript, as detailed above. Confidential comments to the editor may be the appropriate place to discuss sensitive information or opinions, including any potential ethical issues with the work, or information that cannot be shared with other reviewers, such as any previous interaction with the manuscript at another journal, but should in no way contradict the comments to the authors.
Submitting your report
Please submit your report using the link we provided in the emails containing the instructions. If you experience any issues, please contact us.