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Nature Human Behaviour
Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Peer reviewed
Subscription/ per article cost / OA if fee paid by author
Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA

Nature Human Behaviour joins the lineup of about 1,300 prestigious titles published by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG). The online-only journal went live in January 2017 with the aim to publish “research of outstanding significance into any aspect of human behaviour: its psychological, biological and social bases, as well as its origins, development and disorders.” While access to the first issue is available during 2017, this is not an open access journal. The homepage for the publication prominently displays a link to “Recommend Nature Human Behaviour to your librarian.

NPG has borrowed a (virtual) leaf from open access journals with an online manuscript submission and tracking system for authors; the transparency helps facilitate the publication process. To give an idea of the rapid turnaround time between submission and publication, the March issue Editorial, “Torture Does Not Work” references a news interview with Donald Trump about waterboarding on January 26th 2017 and his response “I want to do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works?  Absolutely.”

The primary research formats in Nature Human Behaviour are described in detail online at and include Article, Letter, Registered Report, Resource, Review, Perspective, News & Views, Correspondence, Comment, Books & Arts, Features and News Features. The feature article in the premier issue, “Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden” examines data of  childhood risks and interventions through the lens of “public policy interest in early interventions to help as many children as possible achieve their full potential.” There is a discussion about how much childhood risks and interventions can predict adult outcomes. The researchers studied this question by integrating “multiple nationwide administrative databases and electronic medical records with the four-decade-long Dunedin birth cohort study to test child-to-adult prediction in a different way, using a population-segmentation approach.”  The authors admit the limitations to this type of study, but also present their finding with the question “how strong is the connection between childhood risk and future costly life-course outcomes? Results reported here suggest that the importance of childhood risks for poor adult outcomes has generally been underestimated.”

In the section titled News & Views, information about “the latest advances in the human behaviour research,  as reported in recently published papers (in Nature Human Behaviour or elsewhere) or at scientific meetings.” These articles are not peer-reviewed and authors may make proposals to the editors for consideration. Topics in the first issue cover a range of disciplines. There is the article about Urban studies: Diverse cities, successful cities, reporting on “A new theory of city size, embodying ideas from economic complexity and cultural evolution, provides a rich basis for speculating on their economic structure and suggests hints as to how old cities might regenerate their past prosperity and how new ones might generate more success.” Also one about Neuroscience: Hacking the brain to overcome fear, in which the author describes “A new study introduces a method for reducing defensive responses without consciously confronting the threatening cues, paving the way for fear-reducing therapies via unconscious processing.” One of the News & Views harkens back to the findings from the issue’s feature  l point to the multiple benefits to society of detecting and addressing the conditions of disadvantaged children at an early stage. Targeting disadvantaged children is effective social policy.”

In a note to authors, Springer Nature "encourages authors of all original research papers to self-archive the final author version (author’s accepted version of their manuscript), with a release date of 6 months post-publication. To facilitate self-archiving, Springer Nature deposits manuscripts in PubMed Central, Europe PubMed Central and PubMed Central Canada on behalf of authors who opt in to this free service during submission.” There also is a new content-sharing feature under the Tools option called SharedIt, which “allows authors and subscribers to easily and legally share links to free-to-read versions of research articles anywhere, including social media platforms, repositories and personal websites.” Articles can be accessed through institutional subscriptions paid for by libraries and universities, or on a per-article basis. Researchers have the option to publish their articles open access, provided they are willing to pay the money to do so. Subscribers may share articles with colleagues and other researchers who may not have a subscription, facilitating discussion and collaboration. Nature Human Behaviour is a welcome addition to Nature journals.
09 Apr 2017
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