At a time when the number of primary-research articles continues to increase, the Nature Reviews journals aim to maintain their standing as the premier source of reviews and commentaries for the research communities they serve. They are unique resources and teaching tools, widely used by students and faculty. Dedicated to filtering and condensing the latest advances in their respective fields, the Reviews journals play an increasingly important part in improving the accessibility of original research and facilitating collaboration across scientific disciplines.
Written by Mina Razzak, Editorial Director of the Nature Reviews portfolio of journals
The Nature Reviews journals are run by professional editors who support authors throughout the editorial process: from commissioning thought-leaders to write about the most important and timely topics, to helping authors develop the scope of the article. Expert peer reviewers are selected to provide guidance. The articles are edited for clarity, balance and accessibility, and editors work together with art editors to turn complex concepts into clear figures that complement the text.
Throughout 2019, Springer Nature collected and surveyed responses from Nature Reviews authors to gauge their experience. The editorial team was encouraged to learn that overall author satisfaction is the highest of all Springer Nature journals; 97% of authors rated their experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
"Editorial oversight was rigorous and ultimately rewarding, and was good to have such in depth oversight on such a monster job.” -Nature Reviews Rheumatology
“I have been extremely impressed by the attention to details during the editing process and the amount of dedication demonstrated by the editorial team from Nature Reviews Cancer” -Nature Reviews Cancer
“I found the editorial support especially good, we were given clear guidance from the start on what was expected and receiving constructive comments on our outline proposal also helped us to stay in remit.” -Nature Reviews Immunology
At Nature Reviews, the editors provide feedback to authors on the scope, structure and content of an article. This editorial feedback was one of the highest-rated aspects of the author experience:
Many respondents went on to praise editors for their attentiveness, timely responses, and in-depth insight:
“There was a very good collaboration and exchange with the editor regarding scientific discussion and feedback to the general setup of the review. His fast responses and scientifically profound comments were highly appreciated. In general, the whole editing process went very smoothly.” -Nature Reviews Chemistry
“I wish I would be able to work with the editorial staff at NRG always! This was a wonderful process, which not only helped us improve the delivery of information but also made us think more clearly about what information we wanted to share.” -Nature Reviews Genetics
“The Editor was highly instrumental in turning our paper into a high-quality production which I would have been quite time-constrained to do. I greatly valued her input and painstaking editing.” -Nature Reviews Drug Discovery
The authors also commended the editors for selecting expert reviewers and for their guidance on how to address the reviewer comments. 92% rated the expertise of the reviewers selected by the editors as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
85% rated the advice by the editors as ‘excellent’, and 13% as ‘good’.
“It was a very difficult paper and the Reviewers provided constructive, qualified and inspiring comments. In fact, the Reviews helped tremendously” -Nature Reviews Microbiology
“This was the only journal I have written for where the reviewers’ comments were first contextualized for me by the editor - outstanding” -Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology
In addition to editorial guidance, authors generally commented that the artwork was to a very high standard (74% rated the quality of the artwork as ‘excellent’ and 21% as ‘good’), even in cases where their proposed ideas were vague or complicated. Artists were noted as being patient with author feedback and inquiries.
The layout of the article was the highest-rated aspect relating to production, followed by interactions with the production department (98% and 93% of authors were satisfied, respectively):
“The job that was done on the figures was superb. I requested a few modifications (and some suggestions were admittedly a little vague) and they were brilliantly incorporated.” -Nature Reviews Cardiology
“The figures were of a very high quality and were continuously modified with a lot of endurance." -Nature Reviews Nephrology
“The editor and the art editor helped a lot in transforming our sketch to a lovely picture, very different in style, but fit our paper well.”-Nature Reviews Physics
When asked how the publishing experience at Nature Reviews journals compared to the experience of writing review articles at other journals, authors continued to offer positive feedback:
“Hands down ... the quality, substance, professionalism and speed of feedback and communication makes all of my previous publishing experiences pale in comparison. In fact, the entire editorial experience was so positive that it simultaneously inspired and further propelled us in the process. Overall, all of our interactions with the Editor were genuinely motivational and appreciated experiences.” -Nature Reviews Urology
“Very good. The attention to detail, including copyediting of text and professional preparation of figures was higher than for other journals for which I've contributed reviews.” -Nature Reviews Materials
“As noted earlier, best experience of my career and i'm 57 yo with more than 130 papers." -Nature Reviews Microbiology
The overwhelmingly positive feedback from this survey attests to our unique in-house editorial model and standards. The Nature Reviews journals are carefully shaped by professional editors who focus exclusively on producing the best review content. We are the must-read resource for highly-curated, significant and timely content.
About Mina Razzak