Frequently asked questions

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Why is Nature Communications doing this and what is the benefit to the community and author?

Preprint servers provide an important service by allowing scientists to share and discuss results with the research community quickly and easily before and during peer review. Journals such as Nature Communications fulfil a different role by ensuring the quality and fairness of the peer review process, and helping readers to find the most important or interesting work. We believe that preprint servers and journals serve their authors and readers most effectively when they work together. By highlighting preprints currently under review, we aim to give added visibility to potentially significant science that is being considered for publication and to encourage wider involvement in the peer review process as we anticipate that our authors will continue to take comments on preprints into account to strengthen their findings during the peer review process.

For over a year, Nature Communications has given authors the opportunity to publish referee reports to give the community more clarity on our internal review process (https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13626). To further increase the transparency of the peer review process and highlight our support of preprint servers and the value that they bring, Nature Communications is trialling this new option for authors.

Are there any drawbacks of participating?

If you are considering depositing your work in a preprint server in order to take part in the scheme, you will need to check on other journals preprint server policies should the paper be rejected – while many journals are happy to consider work previously deposited in a preprint server, not all journals allow preprints to be posted. Our journal policy on preprint servers can be found at http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/preprints.html.

While we welcome deposition of preprints, please note that it may not be possible for us to undertake media promotion of your work at publication as it may not be possible for us to apply an embargo to your paper. Further information on our pre-publicity policy is available here (http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/confidentiality.html).  This may also affect your institution’s press office.   

How do I opt in? How do I opt out?

We will contact you about the new trial if your paper is selected for peer review. If the submitted version of the paper is on a preprint server and you would like to opt in to this scheme, please email naturecommunications@nature.com indicating your manuscript number and the link to your preprinted article. Papers will only be listed if you opt in to the trial. It is possible to opt out at any stage by e-mailing the above address.

What information is made publicly available?

We will list the title, authors, abstract, the date of submission, and a link, which will take you to the preprint server from which the full paper can be downloaded. We will not be indicating what stage of the review process the paper has reached.  

Who will be able to access the information?

The information will be freely accessible to everyone, without registration.  

What happens to the listing for a paper after it is posted?

The link to the preprint remains while the paper is actively under consideration by the journal, including while the author is adding any revision. It will be removed from the list if the paper is rejected or accepted for publication, or if we are asked to remove it by the corresponding author.

Can I request that my paper be taken off the list at any time?

It is possible to opt out at any stage by e-mailing naturecommunications@nature.com.

What happens if my paper is rejected? Is there any way to prevent people from knowing it has been rejected?

We do not add any information on what stage of the review process the paper is in or what decision has been made.  All papers are removed at acceptance or rejection.

Do I have to deposit my paper on a preprint server in order to take part?

In order to make the paper freely available the version submitted to Nature Communications needs to be placed on a community-recognised preprint server.  These include:

arXiv
https://arxiv.org/

bioRxiv
http://www.biorxiv.org/

ChemRxiv
http://www.chemrxiv.org/

OSF Preprints
https://osf.io/preprints

PeerJ Preprints
https://peerj.com/preprints-search/

Preprints
https://www.preprints.org/

SSRN
https://www.ssrn.com/en/

If you need any further information or have any questions, please contact naturecommunications@nature.com.  

Where will the list be published?

The list of papers will be published at https://nature-research-under-consideration.nature.com/channels/1337-under-consideration.  This link will be placed on the journal homepage to increase visibility.

Can I publicise my inclusion on the list?

You are free to note your paper as being actively under peer review at Nature Communications. However, one should always be aware that articles on preprint servers have not been finalized by authors, might contain errors, and report information that has not yet been accepted or endorsed in any way by the scientific or medical community.

Does my decision to participate have any impact on the editorial decisions made by the journal?

Your decision about whether or not to participate in this trial will not influence editorial decisions made by the journal.

Can I discuss my manuscripts with the press?

As the research will not yet have completed peer review, we request that authors should not discuss their findings with the media.  

Will manuscripts listed be citable?  

Participating manuscripts will be cited as on the preprint server, and not Nature Communications, until the paper is accepted and published.

Will my paper be rejected by Nature Communications editors based on a comment posted on a preprint server?

We anticipate that our authors will continue to take substantive comments posted on preprint servers into account to strengthen their findings during the peer review process.

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