Content Types

On this page: Article | Technical Report | Brief Communication | Resource | Analysis | Correspondence | Matters Arising | News and Views | Book Review | Review | Commentary | Perspective

Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study, with a complex story often involving several techniques or approaches. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is typically no more than 4,000-4,500 words; The abstract is typically 140 words (10 lines in print), unreferenced. Articles have up to 8 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion may contain subheadings at the editors' discretion. As a guideline, Articles allow up to 60 references.

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

Technical Report

A Technical Report presents primary research data on a new technique that is likely to be influential. This format is not a review of technology but its primary report in the literature. It may involve a new biological discovery to prove the usefulness of the technique, but this is not a requirement. Technical Reports have a format broadly similar to that of Articles, although many Technical Reports are shorter than a typical Article. They begin with an unreferenced abstract (typically 140 words) followed by separate sections for introduction, Results, Discussion. Up to 8 display items are allowed. As a guideline, Technical Report allow up to 60 references.

Technical Reports include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Technical Reports are peer reviewed.

Brief Communication

A Brief Communication reports a concise study of high quality and broad interest. This format is 2-3 printed pages. Brief Communications begin with a brief unreferenced abstract (3 sentences, no more than 70 words), which will appear on Medline. The main text is typically 1,000-1,500 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 discretion of the editor, provided the page limit is observed. Brief Communications include an online Methods section. As a guideline, Brief Communication allow up to 20 references.

Brief Communications include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Brief Communications are peer reviewed.

Resource

A Resource presents a large data set (such as a comprehensive list of proteins in an organelle or tissue, a genome-wide antibody library, coordinated analysis of cells or reagents by several different laboratories) of broad utility, interest and significance to the community. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is approximately 3,000 words. The abstract is typically 100-150 words, unreferenced. Resources have no more than 6 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion does not contain subheadings. As a guideline, Resource allow up to 50 references.

Resources include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Resources are peer reviewed.

Analysis

An Analysis is a new analysis of existing data (typically large genomic, transcriptomic or proteomic data sets from arrays or other high-throughput platforms) or describe new data obtained in a comparative analysis of technologies that lead to novel and arresting conclusions of importance to a broad audience. The main text (excluding abstract, online Methods, references and figure legends) is approximately 3,000. The abstract is typically 100-150 words, unreferenced. Analyses have no more than 6 display items (figures and/or tables). An introduction (without heading) is followed by sections headed Results, Discussion and online Methods. The Results and online Methods should be divided by topical subheadings; the Discussion does not contain subheadings. As a guideline, Analysis allow up to 50 references.

Analyses include received/accepted dates. They may be accompanied by supplementary information. Resources 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 Structural & Molecular Biology. 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.

News and Views

News and Views are by prior arrangement only. They may be linked to articles in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, or they may focus on papers of exceptional significance that are published elsewhere. Unsolicited contributions will not normally be considered, although prospective authors are welcome to make proposals. News and Views are not peer reviewed.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews are by prior arrangement only, although suggestions are welcome. Book reviews 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 3,000-4,000 words, and illustrations are strongly encouraged. References are limited to 100, with exceptions possible in special cases. Citations should be selective and, in the case of particularly important studies (≤ 10% of all the references), we encourage authors to provide short annotations explaining why these are key contributions. 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.

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

Commentary

Commentary is a very flexible format; Commentaries may be on policy, science and society or purely scientific issues. The main criteria are that they should be of immediate interest to a broad readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Their length is typically 1-4 pages, although some may be longer. Because the content is variable, the format is also flexible. 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 related format Historical Commentary is a journalistic treatment of the history of a particular discovery or technical development. These pieces may be a personal account by one of the participants or may present strong personal opinions. This format does not necessarily seek scholarly balance, and it should be journalistic and accessible rather than scholarly in style.

Commentaries may be peer reviewed at the editors' discretion.

Perspective

Perspective is a new format for scholarly reviews and discussions of the primary research literature that are too technical for a Commentary but do not meet the criteria for a Review—either because the scope is too narrow, or because the author is advocating a controversial position or a speculative hypothesis or discussing work primarily from one group. Two reviews advocating opposite sides in a research controversy are normally published as Perspectives. The text should not normally exceed 3000 words. As a guideline, Perspective allow up to 70 references.

The related format Historical Perspective is a more technical account of a particular scientific development. Like other Perspectives, and in contrast to Historical Commentary, Historical Perspectives are scholarly reviews, including citation of key references, aiming to present a balanced account of the historical events, not merely personal opinions or reminiscences.

Perspectives are always peer reviewed and include received/accepted dates.