4 nature nature was launched on 4 Nov 1869 The world’s foremost weekly scientific journalFor 2006, nature’s impact factor isA flagship journal of Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
5 nature A weekly print copy (>65,000) An anytime-anywhere electronic rendition of an item or of a print copy (>3 million users of nature.com per month)A gateway to a seamless flow of relevant and timely information and opinion
7 Nature Nanotechnology NPG’s Physical Sciences DivisionNature MaterialsLaunched in 2002Impact factorNature PhysicsLaunched in Oct 2005Impact factorNature NanotechnologyLaunched in Oct 2006Nature PhotonicsLaunched in Jan 2007& Nature Chemistry will be launched in Jan 2009Nature GeoscienceLaunched in Jan 2008
9 What makes Nature titles distinct? Highly selectiveFocus is on quality rather than volumeHigh impactFull-time professional editorial staffNo external editorial board or affiliationsEditorially independent of each otherShare general policies but not submissionsPass on manuscripts only at request of authors
12 Myth of Editors’ BiasEver since Nature’s foundation in 1869, Nature’s editors and editors of all Nature journals have been 100% responsible for selection of papers – no editorial boards.Editors read and assess papers in a way that is independent of country of origin.Editors are of many nationalities, including Asian.Editors visit many countries, including China.There is no bias against countries by the editors of Nature or Nature journals.A great paper is not only dependent on how incredible your results are. If you don’t know how to present and explain them to the readers, the paper is not as great. Nature believes that in order to write a good paper to capture the attention, thoughtful research, thorough preparation and logical exposition are important steps. You need to know the motive and the reason behind the research, what you should do to achieve the objectives of the research, how the observation leads to a significant conclusion and how to explain it to readers in a logical way.
14 Steps to a great paper Thoughtful research 深思/周道的研究 Thorough preparation彻底的准备Logical exposition逻辑的说明A great paper is not only dependent on how incredible your results are. If you don’t know how to present and explain them to the readers, the paper is not as great. Nature believes that in order to write a good paper to capture the attention, thoughtful research, thorough preparation and logical exposition are important steps. You need to know the motive and the reason behind the research, what you should do to achieve the objectives of the research, how the observation leads to a significant conclusion and how to explain it to readers in a logical way.Plan your papersWhen you plan your researchAgain before you start writing the draft
15 Before writing a paper Why does the topic interest YOU? What are the key findings of your work?What was thought/known/done before this work?What’s the main message for your readers?Re-evaluate the original data, not only the ‘for publication’ figuresHow does new data change thinking, or support current approach, or open new avenues or research?So, before writing a paper, there are some questions that you need to answer to yourselves.Why does the topic interest you? Is it because nobody has done it before? Is it an important problem that is worth exploring to bring great impact to the way we live, communicate and think?What are the key findings of your work? Have you found a new way of solving a problem? Have you improved tremendously the performance of a technology or the resolution of a measurement technique?What was thought/known/done before this work? Has anybody explored in the area before? If so, what have been achieved to date?What is the main message for your readers? What are you trying to tell to the world? Have you just proposed something that is novel, creative or more advance than before? Are you trying to share with them that your findings can also be adapted to wide-ranging research areas?Have you reevaluated your original data thoroughly? Are there any results that are conflicting with the “for publication” results? Have you checked over and over again to make sure that?How does your work change the thinking of researchers, or support current approach? Does it provide a better alternative and more efficient approach to solve a problem? Or does it open new avenues or research in the field?These are the important things that you need to think about before you write a paper.
16 孙子兵法: 知己知彼 百战百胜 孙子曰 yue: 知zhi己知彼 才能百战百胜sheng Historically, this well-known saying by Sunzi is about an art of combating. It means “by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy as well as of yourself, the victory is always yours”. In the modern world, we can put it in our context today, it’s not enough if you only know what the best you can offer. You also need to know what Nature journals want from you and the things that you need to take care of when you are doing, writing and reporting about your work. What is the best strategy to achieve the goal of reporting a great paper?
17 What editors seek High degree of novelty or innovation 高度新奇或创新的主题 Interesting to a broad range of readers能引起广泛的读者感兴趣Significant step forward值得注意的的进步Breakthrough in performance突破的表现High impact in the field重大的影响Important advance in scientific understanding that provides new directions for research在科学理论上有显著, 优越的进展为研究提供新的方向Data persuasively supports conclusions可说服性地支持结论的数据Well, the first thing that you need to know is what editors are seeking for when we are reading the manuscripts from you.Basically, editors are looking for papers with high degree of novelty or innovation, manuscripts that report work no one has done before. As Nature journals are read by readers with different backgrounds, editors want to make sure that the papers are interesting not just to a specific group of researchers but a wider range of readerships. Papers with significant step forward, breakthrough in performance and high impact in the field always capture the attention of editors in which we believe that these kinds of papers will help progress the research in the world, not only in the specific area but also in other related fields. Editors also fall for papers with important advance in scientific understanding that provides new directions for research. We look for papers that would stimulate new ideas not only in conceptual understanding but also experimental approach. And of course, we have to make sure that the papers provide sufficient data that support the conclusions made by authors.If you think your work falls in one or two of these criteria, then you should send your paper to us without delay.Speaking about this, from my personal experience, sometimes just when I start to get excited by a particular paper, I find out that the authors have just published something similar in other journals. That said, the novelty of the work is being compromised by previous publication done by the authors themselves. The thing that I would like to say here is that, you may be the first one who report such findings, but you are not reporting the findings for the first time. This undermines the degree of novelty of your paper which is one of the important ingredients of editorial criteria.So, the advice here is that while preparing for your work and manuscript, you should have a strategic plan in my mind. Which journal are you planning to submit? Do you want to share your findings to others through Nature journals that have great impact in scientific communications or journals that report progressive work? If Nature journals are your choice, then you should not do things that may discount the impact of your work, for example, do not publish piecemeal reports.
19 Results Several possibilities: Accept, with or without editorial revisionsInvite the authors to revise their manuscript to addressspecific concernsReject, but indicate to the authors that further work mightjustify a resubmissionReject outright, typically on grounds of specialist interest,lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance ortechnical/interpretational problems
20 How to make an appeal?Write (not phone) to us and explain why you believe we (referees and editors) have overlooked or misunderstood somethingRevised manuscripts normally go back to the same referees; need a strong case to replace a referee as they normally come back with new set of pointsThe paper must not be submitted for publication elsewhere during this timeIt is likely that some time will elapse before we can respond
21 Manuscript preparation How to get your point across…HINT: Write for both the beginner and the expert
22 Which journal? … Nature is for broadest or deepest impact Research journals overlapDepends on the editorial scope of the journal and your target audience…
23 Presubmission enquiry Ask us!All Nature journals have a presubmission enquiry procedure on the submissions pageIt is not compulsorySimply send in a fully referenced summary with a cover letter and we’ll tell you within 2–3 working days if it’s suitableEditors cannot make an absolute commitment to have a contribution refereed before seeing the entire paper
24 Manuscript Transfer System All Nature journals including Nature are editorially independentA rejection from one does not mean a rejection from the othersManuscripts rejected from one journal can be automatically transferred to any of the othersEliminates need for author to re-input a manuscriptAuthor’s choice if they wish to do full transfer or just partial transferTransfer link can be found at the end of the rejection letter
25 Types of submission Letter usual format for research findings, up to 1500wArticlemore detailed study, around 2000 – 3000wReview articleoverviews of an up and coming topic, 4000 – 5000wCommentariesopinion articles on topics that are considered of wide-ranging appeal and timelyNews & Viewsshort articles explaining the significance of a recent piece of research (not your own)
26 General format for Letters and Articles Double-spacedNormal A4 paper, single column in word or Latex formatEnglish as in Oxford English dictionaryTitle, text, methods, references, end notes (Supplementary Information, Acknowledgements, author contributions (optional)), tables and figure legends
27 Title Clear and attractive Not too general or vague Not too long, less than 90 characters for Letters & less than 75 characters for Articles (incl. spaces)Does not normally include numbers, acronyms, abbreviations or punctuationInstead of:“Record electro-optic coefficient of 170 pm/V and V of 1V at 1.55 μm in hybrid crosslinkable polymer/sol-gel waveguide modulators”,why not:“Hybrid polymer/sol-gel waveguide modulators with exceptionally large electro-optic coefficient”?
28 ArticlesOriginal reports with substantial advance in understanding of an important problem and have immediate, far-reaching implicationsDo not normally exceed 5 pagesSummary of up to 150 wordsIntroduction of about 500 words2 Headings: Results and Discussions 6 subheadings in ResultsMain Text of typically 3000 words (excl. summary, incl. Introduction)5-6 displays (figures or tables)Up to 50 References
30 Articles Summary 150 words equivalent to Abstract in many journals separate from main textno references, numbers, abbreviations, acronyms or measurementsaimed at readers outside the discipline2-3 sentences of basic-level introductiona brief account of the background and motivation of the worka statement of main conclusions (introduced by “Here we show…”)2-3 sentences putting the main findings into general context
31 LettersShort reports of original research focused on an outstanding finding that will be of interest to scientists in other fieldsDo not normally exceed 4 pagesNo summary or introduction sectionsIntroductory paragraph of about 200 wordsMain text of not more than 1500 words (excl. introductory paragraph)No subheadingsDiscussion does not repeat previous introductory paragraph, briefly conveys the general relevance of the work3-4 displays (figures and tables)No more than 30 references
32 No summary!!!IntroductoryParagraph 200 wordsNo heading!!!
33 Letters Introductory Paragraph ideally of about 200 words, definitely not more than 300 wordsaimed at readers in other disciplineswith references2-3 sentences on basic introduction to the fieldone-sentence statement of the main conclusions starting with 'Here we show…' or equivalent phrase2-3 sentences putting the main findings into general contextnote that main text will continue to describe the findings of the paper
34 Main text Materials Methods Principles Mechanisms Results with displaysDiscussion
35 Discussion Comparison to previous work Theoretical or practical implicationsConclusion regarding the significance of the workLimitationsFuture work
36 Write with the readers in mind! Focus on a single main questionPlan the content and organization with an outline especially the flow of reasoningUse simple, direct and concise wordingCheck that all parts are connected with persuasive reasoning, appropriate structure, linkage and contextExpress appropriate level of confidence:impossible implausible unlikelyplausible possible probable likelycertain
37 Paper writing tipsWrite in active voice; for example, “We demonstrate…” rather than “It is demonstrated…”State the present work in present tenseState already published work in past tenseDo not extend your conclusions beyond those that are directly supported by your resultsGive potential impact and future work
38 Paper writing tipsMake sure that you reference relevant previous literatureBe concise; format for letters is 1500 words for the main text; put lengthy method and simulation details in separate sections at the end of the paper if you need more spaceClearly put your work into context, explain the importance of your findings in relationship to previous papersRefer briefly to your results to support your discussion statements
39 MethodsIf brief (less than 200 words in total), include them in the text at an appropriate placeCite a reference to methods published before to save space; with the new addition or variation briefly statedCan also create a new section called “Methods”; 1000 words, not counted as main textFigures in “Methods” should be submitted as Supplementary Information
40 Supplementary information Supplementary information is encouragedPeer-reviewedOnline access only, not in printMaterial directly relevant to the conclusion of a paper that cannot be included in the printed version for reasons of space or medium, e.g. movie clips or sound filesNot subedited; authors should ensure that it is clearly presented
42 Cover LetterA letter that you submit together with your manuscript but in a separate file only to the editorsAuthors are encouraged to write cover letter
43 Cover Letter Restate main message and significance of paper Explain in clear and simple terms why the findings are important and what is their potential impact e.g. “first time…”, “big leap in performance…”, “will help enable applications in…”, “new level of understanding…”…Include a separate summary for non-specialist audienceList the details of the submission- submission type- number of words and figures- any supplementary information and supporting manuscripts
44 Cover Letter Can suggest referees and include their areas of expertise Can suggest exclusion list: who should NOT be approached to review the MS because of conflicts of interestStatements that experiments done comply with animal care and human subject lawsStatement that manuscript is not simultaneously being considered at another journalInclude your contact information ( , phone, address)
45 Cover Letter How not to write a cover letter: What’s wrong ? - Too briefNo explanation as to why paper is importantNo suggested list of qualified referees or exclusionsNo details of format, length
46 Cover Letter Explains paper is letter format A good example: Explains and emphasizes main important points of the paperGives a list of refereesA good example:
47 More tipsVisit Nature’s manuscript formatting guide:Visit Nature journals’ websitesRead published papersAlways run the spelling checker; no excuseFind someone you trust who is a native speaker to check your paper
48 Summary Plan your paper when you plan your research Consider the reader/listenerOrganize your material well- focus sharply- outline- provide appropriate structure, linkage and contextCarefully choose the journal and follow the guidelinesSeek and value feedback and criticism
49 Helpful websites SciDev.Net’s “How do I?” www.scidev.net/ms/howdoi/ Inter-Biotec gives free online writing course to help biomedical scientistsHuman Frontier Program’s “Websites and searching for collaborations”Element of Style by William J. Strunk is free onlineNature has one-page downloadable information sheet on “summary paragraph” and many more…
51 Summary in Articles & introductory paragraph in Letters The most-read section of any paperKey points:One or two broad general statements to orient the reader, set the stage, and provide contextConcise description of results, with mention of methodology usedMajor conclusionHow this advances the field - why this is significant for readers
52 Summary in Articles or introductory paragraph in Letters How to confuse your readers?Mix already published conclusions with claims made in this paperOverinterpret & overspeculateMisrepresent the data or conclusionsEnd with a throw-away line:“…effect on butterfly wings are discussed.”when it is better with:“The iridescent scales of the Morpho butterfly give a different optical response to different individual vapours, and that this optical response dramatically outperforms that of existing nano-engineered photonic sensors.”
53 Paper writing tips All variables should be defined Avoid ambiguous use of pronouns “this”, “that”, “these”, …Avoid jargons and the excessive use of abbreviations and acronymsDon’t make claims that you are not sure, avoid hype and speculationNever say “for various reasons”
54 References Are numbered sequentially Reference numbers are superscript Use “et al.” if more than five authorsCite only published or submitted articlesTitles are requiredReferences to websites should give authors if known, title of cited page, URL in full and year of posting in parentheses
55 Figures Figures tell the story Order is absolutely critical Strive for data-rich presentationShow as much raw data as possible. If n experiments done for each data point, then show all points, rather than the average and standard deviation
56 More on figures Label clearly Figures must accurately reflect data as gatheredChoose carefullyMain text for main dataFigures in Supplementary Information appear online onlyNo ‘data not shown’. Either put data in the Supplementary Information section, or remove reference to it altogether