For those of you who may have missed it, on April 30th Nature and the Nature research journals — including Nature Methods — announced a change in policy regarding the duties of lead authors. The changes are explained in a Nature editorial and have been implemented in our Guide to Authors. A detailed explanation of the Nature journals’ new authorship policy can be found here.
These changes are meant to clarify the responsibilities of our authors to help ensure that the results and conclusions in Nature journal papers accurately reflect the original data, that this data is preserved, and that appropriate actions are taken to ensure the availability of materials — including algorithms — needed to replicate the work.
We will also be requiring that authors provide statements of authors’ contributions in Nature Methods papers submitted after April 30. Since Nature Methods began asking for this in early 2007 the number of authors providing this statement has already increased from 50% in May 2007 to 80% in May 2009 so we hope that making this a requirement won’t be problematic.
We realize that these changes could be seen as an added burden on authors but we don’t believe the expectations exceed what most readers expect of work published in Nature Methods or the other Nature journals and we hope our authors agree.