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  • By: Francis Sedgemore
  • Graphene Flagship
  • Publishing date: 07 July 2015
  • By: Francis Sedgemore
  • Graphene Flagship
  • Publishing date: 07 July 2015

Graphene Week 2015 – publishing 2d materials research

Two of the fringe sessions at the recent conference in Manchester were devoted to the publishing of scientific research. The first of these was organised by Institute of Physics Publishing, which produces a number of academic journals, other periodicals and books. Another session was hosted by editors from Nature Publishing Group, responsible for Nature and a large number of thematic journals, some of which are used extensively by graphene researchers.

​2D Materials

Published by the Institute of Physics, 2D Materials is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal devoted to both fundamental and applied science research. Edited by Lancaster University-based physicist Vladimir Fal’ko, 2DM is a recent addition to the materials science literature. At the Graphene Week fringe session, 2DM was introduced by Fal’ko and IoP publisher Ceri-Wyn Thomas.

2DM is designed to bridge fundamental science and applications, covering among other things advances in materials synthesis and fabrication. It is a quarterly publication, online-only, with a rapid approval and publication cycle. 2DM is hybrid open-access. That is, some of the articles are open-access, with publication costs borne by the authors. In addition to research papers and review articles, 2DM also publishes videos and online seminars. The journal is now indexed in the Web of Science and Scopus.

“It’s fantastic to be a part of Graphene Week,” said 2D Materials publisher Ceri-Wyn Thomas. “The event captures the science, applications and industrialisation of 2D materials. We are delighted to be working closely with organisations such as the Graphene Flagship to highlight the latest developments in this fast-moving field, and keep the wider scientific community updated through our journals such as 2D Materials and Translational Materials Research, and their sister titles in the IoP Materials portfolio.”

Nature journals

As well as the weekly science news magazine and peer-reviewed journal Nature, the Nature Publishing Group is responsible for a number of specialist journals, among them three covering 2d materials research. At the Graphene Week session, editors from Nature PhysicsNature Nanotechnology and Nature Materials introduced the journals, and, in a combined presentation aimed largely at early career researchers, detailed the paper submission, review and publication process.

Luke Fleet, Associate Editor at Nature Physics, spoke first, outlining the mission of Nature, which is to communicate scientific research and commentary to scientists and the public. Fleet referenced the mission statement of Nature, expanding to cover the portfolio of Nature journals.

Elisa de Ranieri, Associate Editor at Nature Nanotechnology, focused on the editorial criteria by which submitted papers are assessed. Author identity and affiliation are irrelevant, she stressed, as is citation potential. Nature journal editors do not operate a shared database of submitted papers, and each editor deals with on average two papers per week. Papers are never rejected for poor quality English prose, which can always be fixed at a later stage. De Ranieri strongly advised authors to familiarise themselves with Nature‘s publication guidelines and journal policies.

The aim of all Nature editors is to make an initial decision within 10 days, following which around 15% of submitted papers are sent for peer review. Editorial decisions range from acceptance-in-principle to rejection with the door closed.

Maria Maragkou, Associate Editor at Nature Materials, advised authors on how to communicate effectively with reviewers. In short, they should be diplomatic and professional, providing point-by-point responses to criticisms. There are typically two rounds of reviews until a final decision is made, and it is the editor who makes that call, with no reviewer voting on acceptance or rejection. The 10% of papers accepted for publication are then sent to copy editors and the journal production team.

Editorial decisions are difficult to overturn, said Maragkou, but differences over technical issues can often be resolved in the authors’ favour, especially when new data is made available. What authors should avoid is displays of pique along the lines of “But you published worse papers than mine!”. That never goes down well. Transfers of papers to other journals in the hope of a positive decision are possible. In this case, the original reviews will be bundled along with the manuscripts.

On the subject of preprints and author self-dissemination, Maragkou outlined Nature‘s policy. Preprints published online are great, she said, but authors must wait at least six months before self-publishing the accepted version of their paper. Also, they must never post online the copy- and production-edited version. Maragkou also advised authors against discussing their work with journalists prior to publication.

At the end of the Graphene Week fringe session, mention was made of open-access journals. Nature Communications is currently the only open-access publication in the Nature portfolio, but the group is looking at how to develop its contribution to this rapidly growing business model of science publishing. For example, the Nature-produced Scientific Reports is also open-access. It is part of a new series of open-access publications known as Nature Partner Journals. For authors wishing to publish in Nature Communications, the cost is US$5,000, but some countries are exempt from the charge.

Photo: copyright © 2015 Christine Twigg/University of Manchester.

Author bio

Francis Sedgemore