Frequently Asked Questions about submitting and publishing behavioural and social sciences research in Nature journals, and our peer review process.

We will be updating this post regularly. Do you have any questions you'd like to see answered? Let us know by posting a Comment below.

What are the different journal options for behavioural and social sciences?

At Nature Research, we offer many publication options. Nature, our flagship journal, seeks to publish the highest-quality research from across the scientific spectrum.

Nature Climate Change, Nature Energy, Nature Plants, Nature Sustainability, and Nature Human Behaviour are multidisciplinary journals spanning the natural and social sciences that aim to publish the most significant advances and landmark papers that will be of interest to their broad readerships. Read more about the scopes of these journals, all of which have dedicated editors with social and behavioural sciences backgrounds to handle these submissions.

Nature Communications is an open access journal that publishes high-quality research from all areas of the natural and social sciences. Papers published by the journal represent important advances of significance to specialists within each field. The social sciences editorial team at Nature Communications is growing, and can provide you with expert handling of your submission.

Learn more about our social science editors here.

Is there an open access option?

Nature Communications is our fully open-access journal.

Although NatureNature Climate Change, Nature Energy, Nature Plants, Nature Sustainability, and Nature Human Behaviour are not open access, our policies allow authors to self-archive the final author version (author's accepted version of their manuscript), with a release date of 6 months post-publication (green open access). To facilitate self-archiving, we deposit manuscripts in PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central on behalf of authors who opt in to this free service during submission. We also provide authors with a link to a view-only version of their paper that may be publicly shared without restrictions immediately upon publication. 

In some instances, we do make content in our subscription titles freely available (with no article processing charge), at the editor's discretion. Such cases include articles describing reporting or experimental standards, consensus statements and white papers presenting the roadmap of large community initiatives, and, under exceptional circumstances, articles addressing important public health needs.


How do the journals weight the theoretical and practical importance of social/behavioral research? Is one weighted more heavily than the other?

The papers we publish can make many different kinds of scientific contributions – a paper might ask a new question that leads to conceptual or theoretical advance, present results with clear societal or policy relevance, use innovative methods that foster new insights, or provide empirical evidence of sufficient scale and rigor to provide a definitive answer to a key research question.

Few individual papers meets all of these criteria (but if you have one, we’d love to see it!), and we have no set formula by which we weigh these factors against each other.


Does having a pre-print hurt the chances that my paper will be considered?

No. We do not consider pre-prints as prior publications, and so they do not factor in to our evaluations of novelty. Read more about our pre-print policy here.


Does my paper need to be formatted in Nature style at initial submission?

No. We do not require the initial submission to be in Nature style (or comply with our word limits, within reason – please don’t submit a 15,000 word paper!). At initial submission you should focus on getting your main message across, and clearly reporting all methodological and analytic details.

We start asking for formatting changes once it appears likely that the paper will ultimately be accepted, and our editors provide extensive feedback on how to meet these requirements.

Read more about our primary research formats here.


Are you willing to publish qualitative research?

Yes! In fact, we’ve published several qualitative papers across our journals. You can see some examples here and here


Will I need to submit my data?

We treat peer review and publication as two separate processes with respect to data. 

Data for peer review: Authors should aim to supply any data necessary for evaluating the manuscript at submission, and provide anything additional that is requested by editors or reviewers. While we understand that different types of data are subject to different considerations, and, for instance, that authors may not be able to publicly share their data for reasons of participant privacy and confidentiality, we ask that authors work with our editors or consult their IRB to determine how to comply with further requests to the best of their ability.

Data sharing: We encourage data sharing (ideally via a permanent repository) once a paper is published, and all published papers must include a Data Availability Statement. Importantly, our data sharing policy is not about mandating data sharing, but about transparency - tell us what data are available and how they can be accessed. Are there restrictions on data you can share? Tell us what those are.

Are reviewers also likely to be behavioural and social scientists, or are they drawn more broadly?

We select reviewers that are relevant to the manuscript - if your research doesn't involve physics, you won't get a physicist as a reviewer. But, you may get more disciplinary spread within behavioural and social science than at other outlets. 

Our aim is to seek experts who, collectively, have the necessary understanding to evaluate all aspects of the work, from the technical dimensions to the implications of the findings. So for instance, if you are a psychologist studying a topic that is also of interest in political science using methods drawn from behavioural economics, this may be reflected in the reviewers.

Please sign in or register for FREE

If you are a registered user on Social Sciences Community, please sign in