Our Code Policy

At Springer Nature we advance discovery by publishing trusted research, supporting the development of new ideas and championing open science. We also aim to facilitate compliance with research funder and institution requirements to share data and code.

To help accomplish this we have established a standard research code policy for our journals and books, based on transparency and public sharing of newly developed code. This policy applies to all new computer programming code, software programs, macros etc that are developed as part of the research, and are necessary to interpret and replicate the conclusions reported in a research article, chapter or book.

For Books

We strongly encourage that all code used to generate results or support claims for primary research covered in the book/chapter (e.g. computer programming code, software programs, macros, etc.) are made publicly available at the time of publication. We encourage authors to deposit their supporting code in publicly available repositories.

For Journals

We require a Code Availability Statement in all original research articles for which new code is developed that is necessary to interpret and replicate the conclusions reported.

  • Code availability statements should include information on what code is available, where these can be found, and any applicable access terms. See examples of Code Availability Statements in two of our Nature Portfolio journals here and here.

We strongly encourage all new code that is necessary to interpret and replicate the conclusions to be made publicly available at the time of publication, and some journals may mandate sharing of the code during peer review. 

  • We encourage authors to deposit their newly-developed code in publicly available repositories, or failing this within the manuscript or additional supporting files. 
  • Code should be deposited in a repository that assigns a permanent identifier, such as Code Ocean or Zenodo, and cited in the reference list. Note that providing a GitHub link only is not sufficient as it does not assign a permanent identifier to the code.
  • Authors are encouraged to manage subsequent code versions and to use a license approved by the open source initiative. 
  • A submission to a Springer Nature journal implies that all relevant new code will be made freely available to any researcher wishing to use them, without breaching participant confidentiality.

Peer reviewers are entitled to request access to underlying code when needed to perform their evaluation of a manuscript. Some journals (such as the Nature journals, listed here) require the submission of code for peer review. 

We recognise it is not always possible to share research code publicly, for instance when it requires simultaneous sharing of data in which the privacy of research participants could be compromised, and in such instances code availability should still be stated in the manuscript along with any conditions for access. 

A large number of our journals already support this policy, including Nature Portfolio, BMC and many Springer and Palgrave titles. We are in the process of implementing this policy across the remainder of our portfolio in stages. For information on a journal’s specific policies, please consult the journal submission guidelines.