We ask authors to avoid jargon and acronyms where possible.When essential, they should be defined at first use; after first use, the author should use pronouns when possible rather than using the abbreviation or acronym at every occurrence.The advice contained within this Editorial applies to all the Nature journals.
We ask authors to be aware of abstracting and indexing services when devising a title for the paper: providing one or two essential keywords within a title will be beneficial for web-search results.
Within the text of papers, Nature journals use a numbering (Vancouver) system for references, not the Harvard method whereby the authors and year of publication are included in the text in parentheses.
We also strongly recommend that authors read a few issues of the journal to which they wish to submit, to obtain a sense of the level, length and readership of the journal.
Looking at the print issue, or at PDFs in the online edition, is particularly useful for details such as presentation of figures or style of reference numbering.
However, many readers are outside the immediate discipline of the author(s), so clarity of expression is needed to achieve the goal of comprehensibility.
How To Write A Research Paper For Journal Publication
(See the section below for links to some websites that provide writing help and advice.) Nature journals prefer authors to write in the active voice ("we performed the experiment...") as experience has shown that readers find concepts and results to be conveyed more clearly if written directly.
The acronym is second-nature to the author but is not to the reader, who may have to refer to the original definition throughout the paper when an acronym is used.
Titles need to be comprehensible and enticing to a potential reader quickly scanning a table of contents or performing an online search, while at the same time not being so general or vague as to obscure what the paper is about.
Many papers submitted for publication in a Nature journal contain unnecessary technical terminology, unreadable descriptions of the work that has been done, and convoluted figure legends.
Our journal subeditors and copyeditors edit the manuscript so that it is grammatically correct, logical, clear and concise.