I am interested in knowing, what are the differences between Original Paper, Review Paper, Letter and Short/ Rapid/ Brief Communication paper?

Thanks to everyone for reading and taking the time for the great responses.

  • 2
    Bear in mind that this will vary heavily between specific journals. Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 13:20
  • 2
    Most respected journals have specific authors instructions which guide you in defining these types of manuscripts. In clinical medicine there are also explicit reporting guidelines: equator-network.org Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 13:35

5 Answers 5


This will vary pretty heavily depending on the journal in question. But generally speaking, in broad strokes:

  • "Original Paper" - This is a generic term for a full-length, original research finding paper that doesn't fall into another specialized category.
  • "Review Paper" - This is a paper summarizing the state of research on a topic. These can often be somewhat long, are often but not always by invitation only, and this category can include meta-analysis, but doesn't have to. This may also be the umbrella that commentaries fall under, but again, not always.
  • "Short/Rapid/Brief Communication" - A shorter version of "Original Paper", whose methods, findings, etc. don't justify a full length paper. They still contain original findings, but are general much more straightforward.
  • Letters - Possibly even shorter original findings, field reports, single observations, etc. This can also include arguments about previously published papers, which involve either opinion pieces or snippets of contradictory or supporting research.
  • 1
    Note that for Nature, a Brief Communication Arising is not a research paper but usually critical comments on a Nature paper, typically accompanied by a response from the authors of the criticized paper. This is in contrast to a Letter, which is simply a short research paper.
    – Bitwise
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 14:15

"Original paper" is any research paper not falling into below categories. "Review paper" is that reporting a critical overview of recent articles in the field, can be very long, say, 30-40 journal pages. "Letter" is a short research paper, ca. 4 journal pages. "Communication" is essentially the same as "Letter", sporadically can contain comments (there is a specific genre called "Comments" as well) on some recently published paper in this journal.


Original research articles are detailed studies reporting original research conducted by the author. They include hypothesis, background study, methods, results, interpretation of findings, and a discussion of possible implications.

Review articles give an overview of existing literature in a field, often identifying specific problems or issues and analysing information from available published work on the topic with a balanced perspective. Review articles can be of three types, broadly speaking: literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.

Short communications are usually a concise format used to report significant improvements to existing methods, a new practical application, or a new tool or resource. These need to be reported quickly as the need to communicate such findings is very high.

Letters are usually short and flexible articles that express readers' opinion on previously published articles, or provide evidence to support/oppose an existing viewpoint.

  • Downvoter: why?
    – Andrew
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 18:30

Original papers are extracted from researches that are innovative enough and have new and important achievements. All of d etails are given in these papers. They also have high scientific value.


Original artical is under good headings ,all headings that must be present in every original paper but review sometime have some heading missed like materials and methods but not always happen this ,the main difference is that study is rational , different areas result collecting together .The size of review artical is longer than original one.the short communication have not headings properly but all aspects are clear properly it is much comprehensive.

  • 1
    I recommend you to expand your answer and provide some references... typically authors instructions of journals provide clear guidance on this issue. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 13:34

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