Hi, can a Ph.D student contact for commissioned review papers or it's just for expert researchers?

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Zoya Iqbal on Jan 26, 2017 • 1 answer
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At the Nature Reviews journals, there are two routes to initiating our review articles. The main route, which applies to the great majority of our articles, is commissioning. This is when we, as editors, choose a topic and scope that we think would make a great Review article. We then decide who we consider to be the best qualified person to write such an article, and proceed to invite them to write for us. This will invariably be a senior lab head/clinician. The other route, which applies to a few articles per year, is an unsolicited proposal. This is where a prospective author initiates contact with us (by submitting a proposed outline for a Review article using the “online submission” link on the journal homepages). Our decision on whether to proceed with proposals is based on various factors including the timeliness/interest of the topic, whether it is a sufficiently new idea relative to other published articles (or other articles in our unpublished pipeline), as well as the suitability of the author (seniority, background in that research field, other articles they have written and any potential conflicts of interest).

Either way, whether the article is initiated as an editor-led commission or an author-led proposal, the senior author will need to be a true leader in their field and will take overall responsibility for the content of the article, they will be the main point of contact for interactions with the editorial office, and they will be corresponding author. However, we do realise that senior researchers have many demands on their time, hence with the approval of the editor they can recruit a small number of co-authors to help them write the article (such as colleagues from their lab, or other lab heads with complementary expertise). Different journals have different thresholds for the level of experience/seniority that co-authors must have (e.g. some might not allow PhD students as authors). But in my experience, I have worked with numerous PhD students who have been co-authors in articles led by their lab heads.

Hope that helps!

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Darren Burgess on Feb 06, 2017