This month Nature started to publish, alongside every life-sciences manuscript, a new reporting-summary document, to which authors are now expected to add details of experimental design, reagents and analysis. This summary documentis essentially the checklist that was accompanying Nature life sciences manuscript submissions since 2013. However, the checklist was not made available to the readers. We believe that our discussionswith the Nature journal editors have helped them to come up with the decision to introduce these new summary documents.
This new summary document is certainly an important step towards improving the quality of reporting in the life-sciences articles. Yet, one may want to note that, even with this summary document, it will still be difficult to identify which experiments were run in an exploratory mode and which were the confirmatory studies. One of the key distinctions between these two study modes is the pre-specification of the hypotheses, endpoints and data analysis that is not covered by the summary document.