As I was reading today an article from Nature I was wondering: Does anybody know what's the difference between article and letter in the Nature Journal?

The blog of Nature points out the following:

Articles are original reports whose conclusions represent a substantial advance in understanding of an important problem and have immediate, far-reaching implications.

Letters are short reports of original research focused on an outstanding finding whose importance means that it will be of interest to scientists in other fields.

Source: http://blogs.nature.com/nautilus/2009/12/difference_between_nature_arti.html

2 Answers 2


They have a difference in the allowed length, and the importance of the results. Articles are longer and supposed to have "far-reaching implications". In other words, no chance to get an article unless you revealed that the moon is actually made of cheese or the like.

Letters are shorter, yet still very prestigious.

  • How is prestigiousness measured? Is the impact factor of Nature letters higher that Nature article? I cannot find any information in the website
    – Millemila
    Dec 2, 2019 at 1:34
  • 1
    @Millemila prestigiousness is a subjective factor and cannot be objectively measured. Both letters and articles are considered as publications in Nature and feature the same IF.
    – Ran G.
    Dec 2, 2019 at 7:28
  • Thank you. Should I choose if it is a letter or article at time of submission? Should I format it as a letter? Or will the editor decide after a first inspection if it will suit a letter or an article? I cannot really find anything about it in the Nature website.
    – Millemila
    Dec 3, 2019 at 15:11
  • @Millemila as I remember you decide yourself and edit the manuscript accordingly. There should be guidelines for authors on their submission website.
    – Ran G.
    Dec 4, 2019 at 6:18
  • As per another answer, this one is now outdated. You may want to update.
    – Tommi
    Sep 17, 2020 at 7:11

In case anyone like me is trying to find information about this now, Nature has retired the shorter letter format (though they may still have it for their subsidiary journals e.g. Nature Astronomy).

For more information see doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03167-2.

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