Content Types

To submit one of the following content types, please read the formatting details below, then follow the submission guidelines:

  • Article
  • Analysis
  • Brief Communication
  • Correspondence*
  • Review*
  • Perspective*
  • Comment*
  • Matters Arising – see specialist submission process here.

For more information on these content types, please contact Nature Sustainability:

  • News & Views*    
  • Book Review*
  • Feature*

*These content types should not include original (previously unpublished) research findings and may only contain minimal new supporting data. As they are non-primary articles they are not eligible for Open Access and can only be published using the subscription-based publishing route.

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Article

An Article is a substantial novel research study, with a complex story often involving several techniques or approaches. 

Format

  • Main text – up to 3,500 words, excluding abstract, Methods, references and figure legends.
  • Abstract – up to 150 words, unreferenced. 
  • Display items – up to 6 items (figures and/or tables). 
  • Article should be divided as follows: 
    • Introduction (without heading)
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Methods. ​
  • Results, Discussion and Methods should be divided by topical subheadings.
  • References – as a guideline, we typically recommend up to 50.
  • Articles include received/accepted dates. 
  • Articles may be accompanied by supplementary information. 
  • Articles are peer reviewed.

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Analysis

An Analysis is a new analysis of existing data or describes new data obtained in a comparative analysis that leads to novel and arresting conclusions of importance to a broad audience. 

Format

  • Main text – up to 3,500 words excluding abstract, Methods, references and figure legends.
  • Abstract – up to 150 words, unreferenced. 
  • Display items – up to 6 items (figures and/or tables). 
  • Anaylses should be divided as follows: 
    • Introduction (without heading)
    • Results 
    • Discussion
    • Methods. ​
  • Results, Discussion and Methods should be divided by topical subheadings.
  • References – as a guideline, we typically recommend up to 50.
  • Analyses include received/accepted dates. 
  • Analyses may be accompanied by supplementary information. 
  • Analyses are peer reviewed.

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Brief Communication

A Brief Communication reports a concise study of high quality and broad interest. 

Format

  • Brief unreferenced abstract – 3 sentences, up to 70 words.
  • Title – up to 10 words (or 90 characters). 
  • Main text – up to 1,500 words, including abstract, references and figure legends, and contains no headings. 
  • Display items – up to 2 items, although this may be flexible at the discretion of the editor, provided the page limit is observed. 
  • Methods section should be included and do not exceed 500 words.
  • References – as a guideline, we typically recommend up to 20. 
  • Brief Communications should include received/accepted dates. 
  • Brief Communications may be accompanied by supplementary information. 
  • Brief Communications are peer reviewed.

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Correspondence

The Correspondence section provides a forum for comment on issues relevant to the journal’s community. This format may not be used for presentation of research data or analysis. 

Format

  • Correspondence – between 300-800 words.
  • Display items – 1 item.
  • References – up to 10 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list. 
  • Correspondence may be peer-reviewed at the editors’ discretion. 

Note that Correspondence pieces are not technical comments on peer-reviewed research papers; these should be submitted as Matters Arising.

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Review

A Review is an authoritative, balanced and scholarly survey of recent developments in a research field. The requirement for balance need not prevent authors from proposing a specific viewpoint, but if there are controversies in the field, the authors must treat them in an even-handed way. 

The scope of a Review should be broad enough that it is not dominated by the work of a single laboratory, and particularly not by the authors' own work. Most Review Articles are invited by the editors, though we are open to consider proposals. Authors wishing to propose an unsolicited Review article are encouraged to submit a brief synopsis through our online submission system (selecting the article type Review) before preparing a manuscript for formal submission. The synopsis should outline the topics that will be covered, how the material will be organized, include an example of figure (even in sketch form), list any recent, key publications in the area, and state the last time the topic was reviewed (if it has been reviewed previously).

If the study is based on a structured, replicable method to extract and analyse the relevant sample of articles from the literature, it will be considered as original research: it should follow the formatting guidelines of Articles and Analyses and be submitted as such.

Format

  • Main text – up to 5,000 words.
  • Illustrations are strongly encouraged.
  • Display items – up to 6 items (figures and/or tables). 
  • References – up to 100 (exceptions are possible in special cases). 
  • Citations – these should be selective and, in the case of particularly important studies (≤ 10% of all the references), we encourage authors to provide short annotations explaining why these are key contributions.
  • Reviews include received/accepted dates. 
  • Reviews are peer reviewed.

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Perspective

A Perspective is intended to provide a forum for authors to discuss models and ideas from a personal viewpoint. They are more forward looking and/or speculative than Reviews and may take a narrower field of view. They may be opinionated but should remain balanced and are intended to stimulate discussion and new approaches. Perspectives may also advocate a controversial position or present a speculative hypothesis. Two articles advocating opposite sides in a research controversy are normally published as Perspectives.

Format

  • Length – up to 5,000 words. 
  • Display items – up to 6 items (figures and/or tables). 
  • References – up to 60.
  • Perspectives include received/accepted dates.
  • Perspectives are peer reviewed.

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Comment

Comment articles are opinionated pieces that focus on a topical issue in sustainability research, or in relevant policy and societal debates. These pieces are intended to be agenda-setting, authoritative and informed, and can be provocative articles calling for action on timely issues pertaining to the environmental, social, engineering and policy dimensions of sustainability. If so, they must road-map a proposed solution in detail, not simply snapshot a problem.

Single-author articles are preferred as this is an ‘opinion’ section of the journal. Most Comments are invited by the editors, though we are open to consider proposals. Authors wishing to propose an unsolicited Comment are encouraged to submit a brief synopsis through our online submission system (selecting the article type Comment) before preparing a manuscript for formal submission. Comments should be of immediate interest to a broad sustainability readership and should be written in an accessible, non-technical style. Figures and diagrams are encouraged, but are not a requirement. Comments are typically no longer than 1,500 words and include up to 15 references. Article titles are omitted from the reference list.

Comments may be peer-reviewed at the editors’ discretion.

Format

  • Length – up to 1,500 words.
  • There are no specific structural guidelines.
  • Commentaries do not normally contain primary research data. 
  • Figures and diagrams are encouraged, but are not a requirement. 
  • References should be used sparingly, usually up to 15.
  • Article titles are omitted from the reference list.
  • Peer review is at the editors' discretion.

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Matters Arising

Matters Arising are exceptionally interesting and timely scientific comments and clarifications on original research papers published in Nature Sustainability. These comments should ideally be based on contemporary knowledge rather than subsequent scientific developments.

For detailed information on how to submit a Matters Arising, please follow instructions here.

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News & Views

News & Views articles inform readers about the latest advances in sustainability research, as reported in recently published papers or at scientific meetings and they are by prior arrangement only. They may be linked to articles in Nature Sustainability, or they may focus on papers of exceptional significance that are published elsewhere. Unsolicited contributions will not normally be considered, although prospective authors are welcome to make proposals.

News & Views are not peer reviewed.

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Book Review

The Books & Arts section of Nature Sustainability publishes timely reviews of books and other cultural and pedagogical resources of interest to a broad sustainability audience. The pieces are generally limited to one page. Book Reviews and other articles in this section are usually invited, though unsolicited contributions from academics and journalists are welcome, as are suggestions for appropriate titles and events to review. To be considered for review, books must be sent at least 3 months prior to publication to:

The Editor
Nature Sustainability, 
Macmillan Campus, 
4 Crinan Street, 
London 
N1 9XW

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Feature

These sections are written and invited by the journal editors. They do not contain unsolicited material. We are, however, keen to accept freelance pitches of exclusive stories, particularly conference coverage from locations where we do not have staff, or reports from interesting field work.

All of our Features are written with a lively, proactive tone, using language that is clear even to readers for whom English is not their native tongue. Stories should be accessible to those with a general interest and background in academic research.

Nature Sustainability welcomes ideas for future topics.

Format

  • Length – up to 3,000 words.
  • Use of tables and figures is strongly encouraged.
  • Written in a journalistic style, accessible to a wide range of non-specialist readers.