Occasionally, I read a review report in which the referee would resent that the authors did not go into more detail in certain parts of their study, and advises them to submit to a journal that allows for articles “longer than a communication”. It is that moment when you sit at your desk and your teeth slowly sink into the table top…
As much as baby oil does not contain babies, Nature Communications does not contain brief communications. In fact, we only publish full articles, which can vary in length. That said, our mother journal Nature contains different types of articles and we have recently followed suit by publishing commissioned content such as Reviews, Comments and Perspectives. Furthermore, as we say on our website, "important scientific comments and clarifications on peer-reviewed articles" published with us may also be submitted.
As mentioned above, articles may range in length. However, short or long, they should be on one level in terms of impact and novelty, pack the same punch and excite the scientific community in equal measure.
The hard facts are: The main text (Introduction, Results and Discussion, not including abstract, Methods, References and figure legends) may contain up to 5,000 words. Depending on the word count, articles may have up to 10 display items (figures and/or tables), and we allow up to 70 references. Thus, from our side, there is no need to cut a beautiful story short.
Sometimes a cover letter or a manuscript would tease some further leading work and/or a side project in a statement along the lines “(…) the results of which will go into a different publication”. And I cannot help but think: If only you had not chosen to spread your work so thinly. Some studies I get excited about miss exactly that completion to pass our editorial bar, and therefore we have to reject them.
The take-home message is: Our journal contains full articles. Please, give us the whole story (or as much of it as you have), not just the blurb.