Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Reviews Cancer. Who hasn’t dreamt of publishing in one of these journals?

And which are the secrets behind them?

As part of our MSCA-ESR training on complementary skills we got to leave the wet lab to explore what happens on the other side of the bench and to learn what it means to be a scientific editor. This is our story.

For a whole week we had the chance to virtually sit with senior, chief and associate editors of the Springer Nature Journals. In particular, we could closely observe the work of the Nature Reviews Cancer team and learn what happens behind the pages. Sarah Seton-Rogers, their Chief Editor, walked us through their jobs, teaching us the main fundaments and the important tasks that an editor has to administrate. Together with her fantastic team, she guided us through their daily routine and gave us the possibility to experience what it means to read and, especially, to write as an editor. Did you know that the job of an editor from a Nature Reviews journal is not only reading manuscripts and papers? It also involves a lot of writing as well.

As a matter of fact, they greatly help authors during their writing process, but they also regularly scan through the papers in their field selecting the top picks for the Research Highlights (short article summaries). Look for them on their website!

Throughout the week, we also had the possibility to talk with editors of primary research journals, like Nature Medicine, Nature Communications, Nature Genetics, as well as BMC Cancer and Scientific Reports (yes, they all belong to the same group) and we discovered how they accomplish their job on a daily basis and what is the secret formula to publish with them (do you want to know it? We suggest you to get a training with them, they are all amazing people!)

There are a lot of interesting facts that we learnt from this experience and that would be worth mentioning. For example, did you know that BMC has a journal in which you can publish negative results? And do you know how many papers does Scientific Reports publish every year? It is around 12,000! Moreover, we discovered that there is a whole team behind the Masterclasses of Nature as well as a team of graphic designers that take care of the beautiful figures that we see in all of the Nature Reviews journals.  One more story, have you ever thought that a non-native English speaker could be an official editor of a Nature journal?

If you ask us if this week was worth it, we will surely say yes and suggest anyone with the opportunity to join one of their trainings to attend it.


Francesca and Federica

P.S. Due to the actual health situation this training was fully virtual, however we hope to have the chance to visit the Springer Nature offices in London at some point.

Picture from @SpringerNature Twitter account

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