Editorial process

Our editorial process

At Scientific Reports, we focus on ensuring that all papers we publish are of high technical quality, and let the scientific community determine the impact of your work. Our editorial process focuses on the robustness and validity of your research, from methodological, analytical, statistical and ethical perspectives, rather than making subjective decisions on your manuscripts.

To find out how to prepare your manuscript for submission, please click here. To discover what happens to your manuscript, please read on.

Stage 1: Initial quality check

After you submit your manuscript, we'll check that it complies with Nature Research editorial and publishing policies. This stage includes checks on authorship, competing interests, ethics approval and plagiarism. We oversee this process to ensure that your manuscript contains everything our editors and peer reviewers need to perform a fair and thorough assessment of your work.

Stage 2: Editorial Board Member evaluation

Once your manuscript passes our initial quality check, we assign it to a member of our Editorial Board, who is an active researcher in your field.

If the Editorial Board Member is satisfied that your work is appropriate to send out to peer review, they will then choose two or three appropriate peer reviewers to evaluate your work, taking into account several factors including expertise, experience and apparent conflicts of interest. You may suggest potential reviewers but please keep in mind that we are not obliged to follow these recommendations. You may also name a limited number of scientists who should not review your paper (up to 3 named individuals or laboratories); these exclusions will be honoured. In cases where we are finding it challenging to enlist sufficient peer reviewers, we may use the services of our publishing partner, Research Square, to help us identify suitable reviewers to avoid delays in returning the reviewer reports to you. Reviewers recruited by Research Square are paid a small honorarium for completing the review within a specified timeframe regardless of the recommendation made. By policy, reviewers are not identified to the authors, except at the request of the reviewer.

Stage 3: Peer review

Reviewers will assess the technical soundness and scientific validity of your methods, analysis and interpretation, all of which must be appropriate, properly conducted, ethically robust and fully supported by the data. The peer reviewers then submit written reports, which are delivered to the Editorial Board Member.

Stage 4: Decision

The Editorial Board Member will then decide whether to accept your work as is, request minor or major revisions, or reject the paper due to unresolvable concerns. We aim to make our first decisions on your manuscript within 45 days of submission.

If we request revisions

If you are invited to prepare a revision, we will specify the deadline and provide a revision link for submitting your revised manuscript, which should be accompanied by a point-by-point response explaining how you have responded to the issues raised in review, and the resulting changes to your manuscript. Once resubmitted, the manuscript may then be sent back to the original referees or to new referees, at the Editorial Board Member's discretion. We aim for accepted manuscripts to undergo one round of revision before being accepted for publication, so please ensure that all issues raised have been addressed in the first round of revision. Our editorial support team is on hand to assist you throughout the review process.

When your manuscript is ready for publication

Once all editorial issues have been resolved, your paper will be formally accepted and prepared for online publication. Prior to online publication, you will receive a proof of your article, which you should check carefully to ensure that scientific accuracy has been maintained during the formatting process. At this stage, only subsequent changes to the title, author list or scientific errors will be permitted, and all corrections must be approved by the publishing team. When your paper is ready, we'll let you know the publication date before it's made freely available to millions of readers.

If we reject your manuscript

A decision to reject a manuscript would occur if the Editorial Board Member feels your work would not be suitable for publication even after revision.

If you have strong evidence that the decision on your paper was influenced by scientific misunderstanding or reviewer bias, you may request that the Editorial Board reconsiders the rejection decision. As we receive a high volume of submissions and focus on ensuring quality service for all authors, appeals of rejected manuscripts must take second place to the normal workload, which means that decisions on appeals often take several weeks. Only one appeal is permitted for each manuscript, and appeals can only take place after peer review. Final decisions on appeals are made by the Editorial Board Member handling the paper. Decisions are reversed on appeal only if the Editorial Board Member is convinced that the original decision was a serious mistake, such as a referee making substantial errors of fact or showing evidence of bias — and only when the reversal of that referee's opinion would have changed the original decision. If an appeal merits further consideration, the Editorial Board Member may send the authors' response and the revised paper out for further peer review.

To read Scientific Reports’ journal policies in full, please click here.