General principles & guidelines
Sponsor Features offer you the opportunity to publish informative content on our platforms or in our publications alongside relevant editorial articles. A Sponsor Feature should highlight your research and development work that aligns with the topic of the supplement.
The goal of Sponsor Features is to demonstrate your thought leadership and build trust and loyalty with a target audience. The most effective Sponsor Features provoke discussion. For all Sponsor Features, particularly those with Scientific American distribution, we advise that they are written with a generalist audience in mind. Avoid using Sponsor Features to promote your products or services. Display advertisements tend to perform better for that goal.
We welcome Sponsor Features that support the integrity of Nature Research brands, and are consistent with the broadly accepted principles of scientific accuracy and integrity. We cannot accept Sponsor Features that could be mistaken for research papers or literature reviews. Sponsor Features cannot be used as a vehicle to report unpublished data, or give a subjective review of research accomplishments. To this end, Sponsor Features cannot be written by academics from research institutions. Where Sponsor Features are from universities or research institutions, the Sponsor Feature must be written by Nature Research Custom Media (who are separate from Nature’s editorial team) in collaboration with the partner.
Sponsor Features on our platforms and in our publications will be clearly labelled with ‘SPONSOR FEATURE’ and ‘SPONSOR RETAINS SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONTENT’, as will any related marketing. They will also include the name or logo of the partner organization in a clear and transparent fashion.
All submissions must be in English.
All partner-supplied content will be reviewed. For Nature Research, this will be by Nature Research Custom Media editors to ensure the content complies with these guidelines. Nature Research has the right to veto Sponsor Features, or remove them from our platform after publication, if the content is deemed to be in breach of these guidelines or otherwise unsuitable for our audiences. If Scientific American distribution is included, the Sponsor Feature will additionally be checked by an editor to ensure it meets the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) guidelines. ASME guidelines also require that the Sponsor Feature is separated from editorial content by at least 2 flip-over pages in Scientific American.
Structure of Sponsor Features
- Must not exceed 13 words.
- All authors must be employed by the sponsor.
- Authors’ names and job titles should be listed in full, and will appear at the end of the article.
- Authors’ mailing address at their place of work must be provided.
- Sponsor Features cannot be written by academics at universities or research institutions.
- The opening must make specific reference to your organisation, and include a description of your interest in the field. The final section must contain reference to your organisation’s future objectives.
- Sponsor Features must not resemble research papers, review articles or commentary articles. Do not use subheads for Results, Discussion, etc.
- Do not include original research findings; discuss your work in a summary form.
- Sponsor Features discussing medicinal products should not be promotional (see ‘Medical and pharmaceutical content’ below).
- Background scientific information should be kept to the minimum of necessary detail.
- All claims, results and data should be referenced from peer-reviewed papers or other reputable sources such as government policy documents.
Length & formatting
- Length must not exceed 800 words per page. This includes any figures, figure legends, tables, boxes and references (we use a minimal reference style).
- A maximum of 4 references per page is allowed (e.g. a 5 page sponsor feature can have 20 references in total). These should be numbered in the order cited.
- Cite figure panels or tables in sequential order in the text.
- The text will be copy-edited for grammar, spelling and typographical errors.
Figures & logos
- Sponsor Features can include a maximum of 1 figure per page.
- One figure equals: one image, diagram, chart or table.
- Please provide figures in EPS or PostScript (PS) file format. Photos should be provided as TIFFs or JPEGs in CMYK and at 300dpi at the final published size.
- Text-based figures should be provided at 600dpi at the final published size.
- All submissions must be accompanied by your organization’s logo, sent as an EPS or a PS format file, preferably in CMYK format and at 300dpi at the final published size.
- Each legend should start with a brief title that summarizes the main point of the figure.
- The legend should describe the panel completely. All abbreviations, symbols, etc. should be defined or explained in the legend. Do not repeat information in the text.
Medical & pharmaceutical content
Your Sponsor Feature should promote your research and development capabilities, and not promote prescription-only medicines or unapproved drugs that are still in clinical trials. A Sponsor Feature should not be an advertisement for a medicinal product.
As a UK publisher, we follow guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Here is some advice to help you prepare your Sponsor Feature.
These guidelines are not intended to be a definitive summary of the law or a substitution for understanding the legal and regulatory framework that applies to medicines and medical devices. It is your responsibility to have the Sponsor Feature reviewed by your medical-legal team before it is published.
- Do not use trade names
- Do not make product claims, even ones that can be substantiated by the literature.
- Do not make comparisons with competitor products; but do acknowledge if there are equivalent agents.
- Use neutral language. No embellishments or opinions.
- Reference to ongoing clinical trials should be factual, with no assumption of achieving positive results. Include the clinical trial registration number.
These are the steps that your Sponsor Feature will go through. Your project manager will be on hand to help at each stage. The creation of your Sponsor Feature typically takes 14 weeks. If you miss any of these deadlines, there is a risk the Sponsor Feature will miss the publication date.
- The project manager shares a schedule for the creation of your Sponsor Feature.
- You submit your Sponsor Feature by email to the project manager as an editable file (Microsoft Word, Google Doc) complete with print-ready figures, photos and your organisation’s logo.
- An editor will check the Sponsor Feature meets these guidelines.
- The project manager will send you the editor’s feedback, with any required amendments in track changes. If you have queries about them, we can arrange a call with the editor.
- You address the comments and re-supply the Sponsor Feature to the project manager.
- The editor will either approve the revised draft or request further changes.
- You sign off the approved version of the text. If necessary, this is the appropriate stage for your legal team to review the Sponsor Feature.
- Nature Research will copy-edit the Sponsor Feature to check for factual inaccuracies, spelling or grammatical errors, and to format references.
- The project manager returns the copy-edited Sponsor Feature with required edits indicated in tracked changes. Note: you can only make minor amends to the Sponsor Feature from this stage forward.
- You sign off changes to the text.
- Nature Research lays out the Sponsor Feature, using our standard design template, and shares a PDF proof with you.
- You approve the Sponsor Feature for print publication.
- Nature Research produces a digital preview of the Sponsor Feature.
- You approve the Sponsor Feature for digital publication.
Last updated November 2020