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From Nature's "Getting Published with Nature" guidelines:

Nature has space to publish only 8% or so of the 200 papers submitted each week, hence its selection criteria are rigorous. Many submissions are declined without being sent for review.

This leads me to the question:

Question: What proportion of the papers submitted to Nature actually get sent for review?

It'd be nice to know if, in general, the "biggest hurdle" in getting a paper published in Nature would be simply getting it to the reviewers.

  • Also, what are the reasons to reject a submission before reviewing? – seteropere Mar 20 '13 at 14:28
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    @seteropere that is a completely different question, which you should ask separately! – F'x Mar 20 '13 at 14:32
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    @seteropere: I can't speak for Nature, but this is ACM TISSEC's reviewing process, a top journal in computer security. Basically, it can be rejected before reviewing for being off-topic, or if the substance is wrong. – user102 Mar 20 '13 at 14:32
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    Related, but does not directly answer your question: see this post by Philip Ball and the paper it is based on. (Also, this one) – F'x Mar 20 '13 at 14:35
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Edited: I found a better answer to the question, the original indicative answer is left below.

Here, we have a statement from December 2006 regarding the number of submissions, rate of editor rejections and ultimate acceptance number. While slightly outdated, the acceptance rate of Nature journal does not seem to fluctuate widely between 2006 and 2012 (always around 7-8% of submitted articles), hence I believe the number is significant and valid:

Nature receives approximately 10,000 papers every year and our editors reject about 60% of them without review. ... ... In the end we publish about 7% of our submissions.

From that we have, that in 2006 about 40% of submissions were sent out for peer-review.


The original indicative answer:
Not a precise answer, but can be indicative also for Nature journal itself: here is a statistics of a decade 2002-2012 of publishing in Nature Materials in numbers, various stats are presented. Specifically this graph shows that the ratio of peer-reviewed vs. submitted manuscripts is floating around 13%. Out of peer-reviewed, about 60% get accepted. This shows that their first filter, the editorial decision whether to review at all, is extremely aggressive and in fact is the filter in the publishing process.

According to a note here, Nature Neuroscience sends about 30-35% papers for peer-review.

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    It would seem that the editor would have to be very familiar with you and the significance of your work ahead of time to get published in Nature. – Paul Mar 20 '13 at 17:29
  • @DouglasS.Stones: I found an answer for Nature journal itself. See my edited answer. – walkmanyi Mar 21 '13 at 8:06

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