The recent branching of Nature in Nature Communications and all the Nature subject journals is confusing.

What is the difference between Nature, Nature Communications, etc. The only clear difference I see is that the subject journals are specific while the other two are not and they all have their specific IF and metrics.

Does submission to one of them preclude the submission to the others? And is Nature still seen as the most prestigious of this group or has it lost some of its appeal/importance after the creation of all these new journals. It seems that this branching would lead to 'watering down' what Nature was like.

  • "And is Nature still seen as the most prestigious..." Nature was never the most prestigious publication venue for many fields. That being said, I am aware of a couple of fields where Nature was (ca. 1990) and still is considered top publication venue, together with Nature Communications, Nature Methods, etc. Jan 4, 2018 at 15:35
  • @101010111100 I have corrected the wording, that's not what I meant. Jan 4, 2018 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


It's weird to me that this question has no answers even though it is a bit old now. I have a friend in STEM who talks about these journals in a way that seems fairly straightforward to me.

  • A publication in Nature itself is obviously the most prestigious and is roughly equivalent with publishing in the most respected journal in your field.
  • Nature subject journals are a tier below Nature, but are also extremely prestigious and can allow young PhD students and postdocs to break into permanent research positions.
  • Nature Communications is a respectable "megajournal" a tier below the subject journals. It accepts a larger number of publications.
  • Scientific Reports accepts a very large number of publications and most any good science can be published there. Its impact factor is half of Nature Communications.

Generally you only submit to one of these tiers, and if you are a student your advisor would be able to tell you which is the correct one to aim for.

Again, I don't do STEM research and this is based purely on the way my friend talks about these journals. If this is wrong or too judgmental please post a comment.

  • I think that's a good description of the different tiers. Although you can submit to any of them the same paper, often is up to the editor to send it in review. Oct 23, 2019 at 12:37

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