The remit of Nature Methods has always been to publish new or improved methods that will have an immediate practical impact on researchers working at the bench. But unfortunately, even though ‘new’ methods can provide substantial advantages to the first labs to adopt them, they aren’t always ready for primetime. And the more novel the method the more likely it is that all the kinks aren’t yet worked out.
Although we strive to ensure that methods we publish have been as well validated as necessary for people to begin trying to use them, early adopters can find unanticipated problems or other deficiencies that they must first solve. This vital work is often under-appreciated. We discuss this situation in our March Editorial and invite researchers who have identified such problems with methods we have published to alert the community through a Correspondence to Nature Methods.
This provides the potential for high-profile recognition of the contribution that early adopters make to methodological development. We welcome feedback on the need and value of this opportunity.
We would also like to know if a less formal online commenting capability would be a valuable alternative. We have noted that such commenting has so far not been embraced by the community but we believe it could form an important adjunct to formal publication. Especially in cases when the issues raised aren’t substantial enough to justify a Correspondence but would still benefit the community by wide dissemination and tight association with the original manuscript.