More than the sum of the parts

By: Laura Graham-Clare, Tue Dec 8 2020

A post by Andrea Taroni, Chief Editor of Nature Physics and Iulia Georgescu, Chief editor of Nature Reviews Physics

Laura Graham-Clare

Author: Laura Graham-Clare

To many of our authors and readers the relation between Nature Physics and Nature Reviews Physics may not be very clear. In this blog post, the chief editors of the two journals explain how the two titles complement each other.

What sets the journals apart?

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Nature Physics is a well-established research journal publishing mainly primary research, whereas Nature Reviews Physics is a newer journal which only publishes review and commentary articles. The majority of articles in Nature Physics are submitted directly by researchers whereas the majority of articles in Nature Reviews Physics are commissioned by the editors.

Both journals cover all areas of physics, fundamental and applied, and share some article types such as: Review, Perspective, Comment and Editorial. Other article types are specific to each journal for example News & Views or Measure for Measure in Nature Physics or Roadmap, Technical Reviews, Expert Recommendation in Nature Reviews Physics. Both journals have in-house editorial teams and adhere to the high editorial standards of Nature research. Some of the editorial processes are explained in Why we edit and How it’s made.

Aligning focus to advance all areas of physics

Traditionally, Nature Physics has been seeking new physical insight or unexpected connections in the articles it publishes. (In its 15 years anniversary Feature past and present editors explain what are the things that excite them in their favourite papers.) Nature Reviews Physics focused from the very beginning on methods and instruments, on the tools that enable new discoveries. These different focuses do not mean that Nature Physics will not publish methods or technical advances or that Nature Reviews Physics will not include reviews with physical insight. The different focuses mean that the two journals together can better cover all aspects of physics methodology, instrumentation, mechanistic insight and forward-looking perspectives. The two journals, with their variety of article types, ensure a better coverage of the entire physics landscape.

Mapping research at every stage of its development

The two journals can cover research at every stage of its development, not only the final results. For example, for a long-term big project such as a particle accelerator or a telescope, the science case could be made in a Comment piece, the vision would be developed in a Roadmap and the construction documented in Technical Reviews. The first technical breakthroughs will be reported in primary research articles, the methodology for data analysis detailed in an Expert Recommendation, then the scientific discoveries will be again reported in primary research articles. The entire output of the project might be summarized in a Review.

Working together for a holistic overview of key developments

Nature Physics and Nature Reviews Physics are editorially independent, but work together to ensure that the readers get the best and the most out of the latest developments in physics. The two journals may cover the same topics from different angles to provide the readers with more context. Here are some of illustrative examples.

An important result in condensed matter physics in 2020 was the experimental evidence for the existence of anyons. One important primary research paper was published in Nature Physics (Direct observation of anyonic braiding statistics) and was accompanied by an explanatory News & Views piece (Braided anyons). The result was discussed in a broader context in a Year in Review piece in Nature Reviews Physics (From anyons to Majoranas). Also in condensed matter, the two journals joined forces to celebrate 40 years of the quantum Hall effect with a special collection.

In particle physics, Nature Reviews Physics published Focus on Future particle accelerators in 2019. This is an important ongoing discussion topic for the particle physics community so Nature Physics continued the coverage with a Focus on the European Strategy for Particle Physics in 2020.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the two journals discussed the challenges of epidemics modelling in a number of opinion pieces such as Tail risk of contagious diseases in Nature Physics and Modelling COVID-19 and How you can help with COVID-19 modelling in Nature Reviews Physics.

These examples only begin to showcase the extent to which these two titles complement each other and create more value together. We are just at the start of the journey and in the coming years we hope to demonstrate how in many ways 1+1 can sometimes be more than 2.

Find out more about adding these titles to your library here.

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Laura Graham-Clare

Author: Laura Graham-Clare

Laura Graham-Clare is Head of Community Content, based in London. Working between our publishing, sales and marketing teams, she is focused on thought leadership trends, content creation, and developing insights and information resources for staff, librarians, researchers and information professionals.