Insider perspectives: What authors really think about publishing in Nature Reviews

The Source
By: Mina Razzak, Mon Apr 15 2024
Mina Razzak

Author: Mina Razzak

From experienced researchers to students, readers turn to Nature Reviews journals when they need to get up to speed on new areas. If you’re one of those researchers or students, I’m sure you’re familiar with the work my team does on these journals. But: what’s it really like to write a review for Nature Reviews? The best way to find out is from authors who’ve done it. So, we asked them in a formal survey. Here’s what our authors had to say.

In short, authors are overwhelmingly satisfied with their publishing experience. Review articles are essential in the ever-expanding scientific literature landscape in which research papers are constantly published, making it challenging to stay up to date with new developments. Nature Reviews journals – a portfolio of more than 20 journals – are the premier source of reviews and commentaries in their respective fields, covering the life, clinical and physical sciences. They are a must-read resource for highly curated, significant and timely content. And because our content also aims to highlight gaps in knowledge and where the field needs to focus on, the journals are widely used by researchers and clinicians to progress their science. 

Optimizing content and author experience for success

When authors contribute a review to a Nature Reviews journal, they work with my team of professional editors, who provide guidance and support throughout the entire process, from suggestions on topics, to help with shaping the review. External scientific experts apply the highest peer review standards to ensure balance and accuracy.

An in-house team of very talented art editors then help create visual summaries to complement the reviews and help explain some of the complex details of the science (these are also useful for teaching and presentations). Next, professional copy and production editors apply the highest standards to composition and layout.

This substantial and collaborative undertaking ensures that authors get the best experience as well as the best output. I’m personally proud of how my team aims to produce the highest quality publications, while providing our authors with the most support throughout the process. And it shows. I’m honoured that the 2023 author satisfaction survey showed just how happy these authors are working with us.

99% author satisfaction in Nature Reviews  

The survey asked how supported they felt throughout the process. A whopping 99% of survey respondents were satisfied with the overall publishing experience in Nature Reviews journals, rating their overall publishing experience as “Excellent” or “Good”.

99% author satisfaction in Nature Reviews © springernature 2024

Overwhelming appreciation of editorial feedback

Editorial support and guidance are a particular focus in the Nature Reviews portfolio, and certainly a substantial contributing factor to our authors’ overall satisfaction with the publication experience. Indeed, nearly all surveyed authors indicated satisfaction with the editorial feedback they received: 95% rated the clarity of editors’ feedback letters as “excellent”, and 87% rated as “excellent”' how the editors’ feedback influenced their paper.

Overwhelming appreciation of editorial feedback  © springernature 2024

What did authors think about the editorial support they received? Respondents noted their appreciation of editors’ promptness in providing feedback, the high and constructive quality of the feedback, the collaborative, positive and enjoyable working environment with the editors, and editors’ general support, problem solving and patience throughout the process.

“The editor's feedback and suggestions helped a lot in shaping the content and structuring the article, which made the flow of concepts more consistent.” 

Review process: satisfaction with feedback and advice

And what did these authors think about the peer review process for their review articles? Surveyed authors most highly appreciated the editor’s advice, with 88% rating it as “excellent”. 96% of authors were very pleased with the suitability and expertise of the reviewers, rating this aspect as “excellent” or “good”.  In their comments, authors expressed appreciation for the editors as well as the constructive feedback from reviewers.

“The reviewer comments were excellent. The comments were appropriate, clear to address, and each reviewer identified areas we could expand on or include within the review.”

satisfaction with feedback and advice © springernature 2024

Successfully crafting the right ‘look and feel’

The final look of a published article includes its layout and proofing as well as the artwork. Readers appreciated the Nature Reviews journals for their artwork, which illustrates complex concepts or processes, summarises findings and visually communicates key messages. Surveyed authors were very pleased with their article’s artwork and proofing. 95% rated the quality of the final artwork as “excellent” or “good”, and 99% rated the article layout as “excellent” or “good”

“The quality of the artwork was excellent, and changes needed were made efficiently.”

Producing the best review articles to serve a wide range of research communities © springernature 2024

Producing the best review articles to serve a wide range of research communities

In their comments, authors highlighted the high-quality work and input of the Nature Reviews editors, the efficiency and timeliness of the process and prompt communication.

“Writing for Nature Reviews provides, compared to other journals, a much more rewarding experience in terms of feedback, particularly by the editors.”

The 2023 Nature Reviews author satisfaction survey overwhelmingly showed that these authors appreciate the unique Nature Reviews approach, with 93% of surveyed authors saying they were likely to recommend writing for Nature Reviews to a colleague. We’re delighted to receive this feedback as it motivates us to continue with our mission: to provide the best-in-class service to authors. In doing so, we’re also able to fulfil our aim to produce the most impactful and meaningful review and commentary articles across the research space.

On behalf of all the editorial team, we look forward to another year of creating impactful content for the communities we serve, and meaningful experiences for our authors.

Learn more about Nature Reviews journals and explore the portfolio of over 20 journals, from across the clinical, life, and physical sciences.

Mina Razzak

Author: Mina Razzak

Mina is the Editorial Director of Nature Reviews. With a biomedical science degree from Victoria University of Wellington and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Cambridge, she leads editorial operations for all the Nature Reviews journals, previously overseeing the launch of Nature Reviews Disease Primers as its chief editor.