Other submitted material

Information Sheets for Downloading

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As well as publishing original research as Articles and Letters, Nature publishes other submitted material as detailed below.

Authors intending to contribute to any of these sections are advised to read the relevant section of published issues of Nature to gain an idea of which section is most suitable and how to present their work, and, if they have not published in one of these sections before, they must read the appropriate section guidelines below, before submission.

All articles for all sections of Nature are considered according to our usual conditions of publication, including being subject to our embargo. All material is considered for publication on the understanding that it is original and that any similar or related material submitted or in press elsewhere is disclosed to Nature at submission.

Authors of material submitted to any section of Nature must provide a current full postal address, phone, fax and email address. It is helpful if authors note their surname and the section of Nature for which the article is being considered in the subject line of any emails they send to Nature.

Table of contents

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1. News, News Features, News in Brief, Opinion (Editorial)

These sections are written and commissioned by Nature's editors. They do not contain unsolicited material. Information for use by Nature for these sections can be sent via email, with the title of the section in the subject line. Please provide full address and contact details.

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2. Correspondence

These items are �letters to the Editor�: short comments on topical issues of public and political interest, anecdotal material, or readers� reactions to informal material published in Nature (for example News, Books & Arts reviews, Commentary).

Correspondence items are no more than 300 words long. Submissions about material published in Nature should cite the article�s title, volume, page number and year of publication. Submissions without authors� names, postal and e-mail addresses will not be considered. Correspondence pieces are not technical comments, which should be submitted to Brief Communications Arising.

Submissions should be by e-mail (with accents on names and places clearly indicated). They do not usually have figures, tables or references. Contributions are not usually peer-reviewed, but Nature will seek the informal advice of independent reviewers when necessary.

Nature prefers to consider submission of a complete letter rather than to answer presubmission enquiries, as Correspondence is an informal, fast-turnaround section. A Correspondence can be signed by no more than three authors; one is preferable as Correspondence is a forum for readers' reactions, not for statements by organizations or groups of individuals.

Contributors should ensure that they provide a full postal address, e-mail, phone and fax number, including full current contact details if the author is not at his or her usual address after submission. Proofs are sent by e-mail.

All accepted contributions are edited for publication. Occasionally, letters have to be cut after proofs have been sent. Nature will endeavour to ensure authors see these changes, but cannot guarantee to do so. Titles of letters are chosen by Nature.

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3. Commentary

These articles are journalistic, persuasive, stimulating and often controversial comments on topical issues of public interest that have some bearing on scientific research. They are written at a level accessible to readers who are not researchers themselves but who are interested in research.

Unsolicited manuscripts are considered, but short proposals in the form of a one-paragraph synopsis are preferred, made to the Commentary editor by email, with "Commentary proposal" and the author's name as the subject.

Single-author articles are preferred as this is an "opinion" section of the journal. Further details of format and editorial advice will be provided by the Commentary editor after submission of the synopsis.

The ideal Commentary conveys a sense of immediacy; be relevant to an issue of current international concern; will present a novel, arresting perspective on topical events; and will make specific, practical proposals, either setting an agenda or proposing better alternatives to a perceived negative state of affairs. Key points are:

  • Articles should begin with the "news", starting with a short paragraph containing the message of the article in simple language.
  • Articles should not contain specialist terminology, and should be written at the level of an article in a good newspaper.
  • Controversial articles are welcomed, but the text should make explicit that a particular argument is controversial, and refer to the generally accepted view for nonspecialist readers' information.
  • Commentaries fit an integral number of Nature pages, generally one page (900 words plus one small figure) or two pages (1,800 words plus two small figures).
  • Figures or other types of illustration are desirable. Nature can obtain pictures from photo libraries if necessary, or can use authors' own artwork. Authors' colour artwork can be reproduced free of charge.
  • References should be kept to a minimum, ideally fewer than 10. Reference style is as for Letters and Articles, but titles of cited articles are not required.

All articles are considered and published subject to Nature's usual conditions of publication and embargo conditions.

Authors of published articles are sent a complimentary copy of the issue in which their article is published with a reprint order form. Authors of articles containing colour pictures can order reprints containing black-and-white versions at the black-and-white price.

Essays, theories, hypotheses, models, philosophical articles, timeless accounts and unfocused arguments are not considered for the Commentary section, nor are reviews and analyses of published material.

When Nature is unable to consider a submitted Commentary or synopsis, detailed reasons cannot be given in view of the many received, although the Commentary editor tries to answer all such enquires promptly so that authors may seek publication elsewhere without delay.

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4. Books and Arts

Unsolicited contributions are not considered. Reviews are commissioned by Nature's book review editor. Publishers wishing to submit books for consideration for review can send them to any of Nature's editorial offices, marked for the attention of the Book Review Editor.

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5. Essays and Futures

Essays Nature publishes commissioned essays, including Concepts. Nature does not usually publish unsolicited contributions for these sections, but enquiries in the form of a one-paragraph synopsis can be made with �Essays� as the subject. Hypotheses and theories are not considered.

Futures is the award-winning science-fiction section of Nature. Contributions are usually commissioned, but unsolicited articles are welcome. Each Future should be an entirely fictional, self-contained story between 850-950 words in length, and the genre should, broadly speaking, be 'hard' (that is, 'scientific' SF) rather than, say, outright fantasy, slipstream or horror. Each item should be sent as a Word (.doc) attachment to futures@nature.com, including full contact details and a 30-word autobiographical note to be appended to the story if published. (Please do not send presubmission enquiries, but send the whole story.) Unsolicited artwork is not considered. Before submitting, prospective authors are advised to read earlier Futures columns in Nature and Nature Physics; selected examples are available free at http://www.concatenation.org/futuresindex.html.

Science in Culture. Suggestions of forthcoming international public scientific cultural events that Nature might wish to cover are welcomed if they are at least a month in advance. Science in Culture is published within the Books and Arts section, and should be sent to nature@nature.com (subject: Science in Culture), for the attention of the Book Review Editor.

Nature editors cannot give details when declining unsolicited suggestions or contributions for these sections. Authors of suggestions who do not receive a reply within two weeks should assume that Nature does not wish to pursue the matter.

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6. News and Views

These articles inform nonspecialist readers about new scientific advances, as reported either in recently published papers (in Nature and elsewhere) or at scientific meetings.

Most are commissioned, but proposals can be made to one of the News and Views editors via email in advance of publication of the paper or well before the meeting is held. Once a News and Views editor has said that a complete article will be considered, these guidelines should be followed in writing it:

  • Authors are not allowed to discuss work in which they are involved or work from their own or colleagues' institutions.
  • There should be no more than two authors per article.
  • Articles should be within the length limits given by the News and Views editor, usually 800-900 words.
  • Titles should contain no punctuation marks or abbreviations. News and Views articles also carry a 'strapline' of one or two words to define the general subject area of the article, and a sentence to summarize the message of the article in simple language. The title and strapline are finalized by discussion between author and editor.
  • The 'news' should be mentioned in a succinct opening paragraph to attract the attention of those who are not experts in the field. This paragraph should explicitly refer to the paper or meeting under discussion and touch on the significance of the new work.
  • More detail, background and explanation should follow, including the author's own 'views'. The text is often best rounded off with comment on the implications of the new work and on future research directions.
  • Articles should not read like textbooks: most readers will have a general scientific background but specialized terminology should be avoided.
  • Diagrams should be used to explain the new points made, or the background science to the new result. Authors' sketches can be redrawn by Nature, and can be reproduced in colour free of charge. Suggestions of other illustrative material, black-and-white or colour, informative or decorative, are welcome. Final artwork should be prepared in one of Nature's readable electronic formats.
  • References should be kept to a minimum, ideally fewer than ten. They should be given superscript numbers and cited sequentially in the text, as Nature style. If the News and Views article is to accompany a paper in the same issue of Nature, the paper should be given a formal reference and be referred to in the text in the form "... on page xxx of this issue1...". References should be listed at the end of the article in the usual Nature style but without the titles of citations.
  • Acknowledgements are not allowed, nor are grant and other numbers.
  • A modest fee is paid for all News and Views articles published. Authors who are unable to accept a fee should let the News and Views editor know so that alternative arrangements can be made.
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6.1 Meetings

A full guide to writing meeting reports is available on request (please put "News and Views request" in the subject line of the message).

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7. Insight, Review and Progress articles

Nature publishes two kinds of review, Review and Progress articles. It also publishes commissioned collections of review and other related material on one scientific theme as 'Insights' several times a year.

For further information about Insights, contact the Insights Editor

  • Review Articles survey recent developments in a topical area of scientific research or, on occasion, can be more wide-ranging. They do not generally occupy more than 6 pages of Nature.
  • Progress articles are shorter reviews of topical, fast-moving fields, and do not exceed 4 pages of Nature.

Most articles are commissioned, but authors wishing to submit an unsolicited Review or Progress must first send a brief synopsis to the Reviews editor.

  • The synopsis should outline the basic structure of the article; list the material to be covered with an indication of the proposed depth of coverage; and indicate how the material will be logically arranged.
  • The synopsis should be accompanied by a 300-500 word outline of the background to the topic which summarizes the progress made to date and should also make the case succinctly for publication in a topical, interdisciplinary journal.
  • Synopses prepared at this level of detail enable Nature's editors to provide editorial input before they commission the article, and can reduce the need for substantial editorial revisions at a later stage.
  • The synopsis should include any very recent, key publications in the area (no more than five), and state the last time the topic was reviewed (if it has been reviewed previously).

Reviews and Progress articles inform a broad readership about fields in which there have been recent, important advances.

  • They focus on one topical aspect of a field rather than providing a comprehensive literature survey.
  • They can be controversial, but in this case should briefly indicate opposing viewpoints. They should not be focused on the author's own work. Language should be simple, novel concepts defined and specialist terminology explained.
  • They are peer-reviewed, and are substantially edited by Nature's editors in consultation with the author.
  • Reviews should not generally be more than 6 pages long. There should be no more than 100 references and ideally half that number. Display items and explanatory boxes (used for explanation of technical points or background material) are welcomed.
  • Progress articles do not occupy more than 4 pages of Nature, including display items and references.
  • When writing the full article, authors should refer to the guide to authors for format, style and other instructions.

Progress articles differ from Reviews in that they focus on current papers of outstanding interest that are setting new standards in a field.

Because of their topicality, Progress articles should be written and submitted within a few weeks of Nature's editors expressing interest in a synopsis.

Authors may discuss their own work, but should make it clear in the text if they are presenting a personal, rather than a consensus, view.

Titles are brief (generally a single line) and relatively informal.

As for Reviews, Progress articles are peer-reviewed and edited substantially by Nature's editors in consultation with the author.

  • The author is responsible for ensuring that the necessary permission has been obtained for the re-use of any figures previously published elsewhere.
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8. Analysis

These articles are published only occasionally. They do not report original data, but are review-based reports including a new analysis of existing data (typically large biological datasets such as genomes, microarrays and proteomics) that lead to a novel, exciting and arresting conclusion. They are peer-reviewed.

Authors interested in submitting an Analysis should send a synopsis to the biology or physical sciences with 'Analysis' in the subject line.

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9. Hypothesis

These articles are published rarely, only about once a year. They concern issues of immense and fundamental importance. They are peer-reviewed. Enquiries should be sent to the biology or physical sciences editors with 'Hypothesis' in the subject line. If the enquiry is not answered within 2 weeks, authors should assume that Nature is not interested in considering the proposed article for publication. Nature editors cannot undertake any correspondence about unwanted Hypotheses submissions or suggestions.

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10. Naturejobs

Articles related to scientific careers and recruitment are published in the Naturejobs section and at the back of each printed issue of Nature. Proposals and information can be sent to the Naturejobs editor. Information about scientists moving to new posts is particularly welcomed for the "Movers" section.

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11. Technology features

These articles are news-style reports, and are published a few times a year to review techniques and technologies in fast-moving fields of research. For further information, contact the technology features editor