Nature Communications Nicky Dean Associate Editor

How to get published in Nature
Communications
Nicky Dean
Associate Editor
Nature Communications
Demystifying the editorial process at
Nature journals
Nicky Dean
Associate Editor
Nature Communications
The Nature story
Nature launched 4
November 1869
Published and privately
owned by Macmillan
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Mission Statement
First, to serve scientists through prompt publication of
significant advances in any branch of science, and to
provide a forum for the reporting and discussion of
news and issues concerning science.
Second, to ensure that the results of science are rapidly
disseminated to the public throughout the world, in a
fashion that conveys their significance for knowledge,
culture and daily life.
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NPG - A global enterprise
Editorial offices in London, Washington DC, New York, Boston, San
Francisco, San Diego, Munich, Shanghai, Paris and Tokyo
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The NPG family of journals
Nature
Nature Communications
Scientific Reports
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Nature
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Famous hits at Nature
Discovery of Australopithecus (1925)
Existence of the neutron (1932)
Structure of DNA (1953)
Dolly cloned from adult cells (1997)
The human genome sequence (2001)
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Infamous misses
Krebs cycle - rejected without review.
Beta decay (Fermi) - rejected without review.
Presumably many more recent submissions…
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Nature life sciences journals
1983
1992
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1998
1999
2000
2004
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Nature physical sciences journals
2002
2005
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2011
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The NPG family of journals
Nature
Nature Communications
Scientific Reports
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Impact factor 7.396*
Online only
Open Access options
Multidisciplinary
No ‘front half’
Advisory Panel
* 2011 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition
(Thomson Reuters, 2012)
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Nature Communications
Published 701 papers in 2012
51% of papers were “biology”
38% of papers were “physics”
8% of papers were “chemistry”
Biology
Chemistry
Earth
Physics
3% of papers were “earth and environment”
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The NPG family of journals
Nature
Nature Communications
Scientific Reports
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Technically sound papers
Not assessed for impact or
novelty
External Editors
Fully Open Access
Multidisciplinary
Daily publication
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Scientific Reports
Published 797 papers in 2012
56% of papers were “biology”
33% of papers were “physics”
6% of papers were “chemistry”
Biology
Physics
Chemistry
Earth
5% of papers were “earth and environment”
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Open Access
Nature Communications offers two Creative Commons
licences:
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative
Works
www.creativecommons.org/licenses
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Open Access
Scientific Reports offers three Creative Commons
licences:
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative
Works
Attribution
www.creativecommons.org/licenses
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Meet the Nature Communications Editors
Chief Editor
Lesley Anson
Associate Editor
Nicky Dean
Managing Editor
Joerg Heber
Associate Editor
Curtis Asante
Executive Editor, China
Ed Gerstner
Associate Editor
Christoph Schmitt
Senior Editor
Katie Ridd
Associate Editor
Luke Batchelor
Senior Editor
Richard White
Assistant Editor
Giulia Cuccato
Senior Editor
Niki Scaplehorn
Assistant Editor, China
Congcong Huang
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Getting published
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Think well ahead
• Nature journals consider papers that are
conceptually novel and that do not
represent an incremental step
• Resist temptation for quick publication
• We don’t mind conference presentations or
prepublication on preprint servers
• We do mind publication of conference proceedings
in journals or other widely disseminated ventures
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Prepare well
• Self-selection:
Where does it fit into the field?
Will it represent a significant
leap forward?
• Prepare the paper well (the first time!)
clear structure, accessible, bring out the key message
• Read the guide to authors and comply with journal
policies
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Cover letters
Not helpful:
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Cover letters
• They are useful, but often overrated
• Explain appeal of your work, but don’t oversell
• We try to honour referee exclusion requests
• Identify all related in press or submitted manuscripts
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaetanlee/298178764/
• Always suggest referees, but not all your best friends
Key ingredients
• Good science
• Explain what you have done
• Link the results back to the context
in a way that convinces others you
have made significant progress
• The purpose is to communicate
results efficiently — not to impress
others with how smart you are
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http://www.flickr.com/photossantos/2252824606/
• Establish the context of the field — why should we
care?
The editorial process
• First decision within a week
• We go for impact, not impact factor
• Decision based on editor’s
expertise — we read about
500 new submissions a year
• 2-4 referees per paper; aim
at a total turnover time of
4-5 weeks for first decision
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/178565914/
• At least one editor reads a paper, although papers are
often discussed with other editors
The editorial process
Returned to author
Accept
60-85 %
Revise
The
Theory of
Everything
Editorial
decision
Peer
Review
Editorial
decision
Original submission date
Reject (big
revisions)
New submission date
Reject
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Typical editorial checks
• Novelty of claims
• Supporting data in favour of claims
• Prior related studies by the authors and others
• Cited references: completeness, important omissions
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The choice of referees
• Experience in the field
• Technical expertise
• Broad overview of current trends
and important issues
• Efficient (we ask for one week turnaround)
• History of thorough and to-the-point reports
• Fair-minded and constructive
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How our decisions are made
• Editors make decision based on arguments – we don’t
count votes
• Most papers experience two rounds of review before
publication
• For borderline decisions, a goal is to avoid multiple
rounds of review
• If we consider a work to be of interest, we can be
patient and wait for additional experiments to be
completed
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Dealing with referee reports
• If invited to resubmit, only do so after
you are able to comprehensively
address all comments
• If further experiments are requested,
don’t try to argue your way around them
• Stay professional – insults, arrogance and bullying
are counterproductive
• Referees are only human – they can make mistakes.
Don’t forget that these are colleagues in your field
and you will have to deal with them again
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Peer review is a modern tool
A paper on gravitational waves written by Einstein and Rosen was rejected by
Physical Review on 23 July 1936. Einstein’s only encounter with peer review!
His response:
Dear Sir,
We (Mr. Rosen and I) had sent you our manuscript
for publication and had not authorized you to
show it to specialists before it is printed. I see no
reason to address the — in any case erroneous —
comments of your anonymous expert. On the
basis of this incident I prefer to publish the paper
elsewhere.
Respectfully,
Albert Einstein
http://scitation.aip.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_58/iss_9/43_1.shtml/
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Unhappy?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tscarlisle/105062659/
Consider your case realistically
Papers are seen again
by the handling editor
Appeals are not given
the highest priority
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How to appeal
• Present new data to make your
point!
• Point out possible factual errors in the decision
process and argue scientifically
• Detail the specific contribution of the work to the field
as well as its possible immediate impact
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How not to appeal
• Statements about your reputation and the number of
papers published
• “Celebrity” endorsements
• General statements on the importance of a field
• Overselling your results
• Cosmetic rewriting of the paper
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/ableman/452302551/
• Unfair and unspecific attacks on referees and editors
Manuscript transfer service
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Thank you
www.nature.com/ncomms
[email protected]
@NatureComms #NCommPhys
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