Nature Masterclasses Online

Nature Masterclasses is a professional development training resource developed for researchers by Nature Research (publisher of Nature and Scientific American). Through the University's subscription, staff and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are able to access the following online courses:

Effective Collaboration in Research
Learn how to participate in and lead successful collaborative research projects

Key features

  • 3-part course
  • 17 experts in collaboration including researchers, funders, editors and professionals
  • 8 hours of learning
  • 15-minute lessons
  • English language subtitles and transcripts

Skills gained

  • Understand the different forms, benefits, and challenges of collaborative research
  • Develop key collaborative skills such as communication and teamwork
  • Learn how to initiate and run a successful collaboration
  • Learn how to maximise the value of, and conclude, a collaborative project

Accessible dip in and out format

  • The course's five modules contain bite-size lessons and provide an accessible, dip in and out format
  • Researchers can download a certificate of completion at the end of each course-part

Part 1: Introducing collaboration (Duration: 1h00)


  1. Why collaborate?

Part 1 of the Effective Collaboration in Research course introduces the idea of research collaboration and how becoming a more effective collaborator could help to further both your research and your career. Even if you’ve already participated in collaborative research, Part 1 provides a useful introduction to the topic of research collaboration and valuable context and advice around the pros and cons of collaborative projects and how they can help you reach your goals.

What you’ll learn

  • Why collaborative research is becoming more prevalent
  • The pros and cons of collaborating
  • The specifics of collaborating with industry
  • How collaborative projects can help advance your research and career

Part 2: Participating in a collaboration (Duration: 1h30)


  1. Being an effective collaborator

Part 2 of the course focuses on how to ensure you make a meaningful contribution when you join a collaborative project. It will help to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to become an effective and valuable member of the team. This part is particularly suited to researchers who have little or no experience in working collaboratively.

What you’ll learn

  • Strategies for working in a new research team
  • Key collaborative skills such as dividing tasks, managing your time, and communicating efficiently
  • Tools to help you collaborate
  • How to plan to maximise the skills, ideas, and contacts you’ll gain from collaborating
  • How to overcome possible roadblocks when participating in collaborative projects

Part 3: Leading a collaboration (Duration: 5h30)


  1. Initiating and leading a collaboration
  2. Running and troubleshooting a collaboration
  3. Outputs and next steps

If you already have collaborative experience and are ready to initiate your own research collaboration, Part 3 of the Effective Collaboration in Research course covers all aspects of setting up, leading, managing, and closing down your own collaborative research project.

What you’ll learn

  • Identify and approach potential collaborators with the right skills and expertise
  • Effective leadership behaviours to drive a successful project
  • Set up collaboration agreements, codes of conduct, and project management plans
  • Seek and apply for funding for your project
  • Keep collaborators motivated, monitor progress, and address delays
  • Manage challenges including conflict between collaborators, stress, ethical misconduct, administering shared funds and resources, and going over-budget
  • Maximise the outputs, value and impact of your collaboration
  • Publishing collaborative papers
  • How to wrap-up a collaborative project that has reached its goals, or end a project early if required

Focus on Peer Review
Learn the foundations of good peer review

The Focus on Peer Review course is delivered by journal editors from Nature Research, as well as active researchers from King’s College London and Imperial College London. In four short modules you will gain a comprehensive and insightful overview of peer review.

Key features

  • 3-4 hours of learning
  • 11 editors from Nature Research journals and two active researchers
  • 10-minute lessons
  • English language captions and transcripts

Skills gained

  • Understand the importance and responsibilities of peer reviewers
  • Learn how to prepare a peer review report
  • Discuss ethics and innovations in peer review

Designed for busy researchers

  • Total course duration: 3-4 hours
  • Bitesize lessons: Log in with a spare 10 minutes
  • Flexible learning: Complete the course in a single sitting or use it as a ‘dip in and out’ resource
  • Certificate of completion available

Module 1: Your role as a peer reviewer (Duration: 0h40)

What you’ll learn

  • express the importance of peer review in the scientific process
  • understand the role of the peer reviewer and what is expected of you once you accept a peer review assignment
  • recognise when it is and isn’t appropriate to agree to peer review

Module 2: The peer review report (Duration: 1h10)

What you’ll learn

  • develop a strategy to perform peer review in an efficient and thorough way
  • recognise which aspects of a paper you should review and what to look out for in each section
  • identify the appropriate tone and construction for your report

Module 3: Ethics in peer review (Duration: 0h50)

What you’ll learn

  • outline your responsibilities as a peer reviewer
  • recognise and respond to conflicts of interest
  • recognise acceptable confidentiality practices

Module 4: Variations and innovations in peer review (Duration: 0h50)

What you’ll learn

  • identify and explain the types of peer review that are in common usage
  • describe and evaluate different initiatives to keep peer review open and honest
  • consider variations across journals and disciplines

Watch the introductory session video (Duration: 0h24)

To find out more, watch the introductory session video hosted by Lisa Tran from Nature Research.

You'll learn

  • Why Nature Masterclasses Online is a fantastic resource for researchers
  • How to get started – setting up and accessing your account
  • How to use the course – highlighting various useful features

How to access Nature Masterclasses Online

Access to Nature Masterclasses Online is available through Single Sign-On, using your WesternAccount login details (please note, you do not need to register for a personal account on the Nature Masterclasses website). To log in:

  1. Go to the Nature Masterclasses (opens in a new window) website
  2. Click on the relevant link for ‘Western Sydney University (Staff)’ or ‘Western Sydney University (Student)'
  3. Log in with your WesternAccount details. The first time you log in, you will be asked to verify your email as a final step. When asked to do so, please ensure you use the same email address you used to login to your WesternAccount (e.g. or

Please note:

  • Please do not register for a personal account. If you register for a personal account using your institutional email, you may experience an error when logging in with your WesternAccount details.
  • The first time you access the online course, you’ll be asked to enter a few details, such as your name and our institution name.

Having login or access issues?

If you are having access issues please try the following:

  • If after clicking on the relevant ‘Western Sydney University (Staff)’ or ‘Western Sydney University (Student)' link on the Institutional Login page you see an Application Error message from Springer Link instead of being redirected to the University's Authentication page, please delete your browser cache and cookies and try again.
  • When you get to the University's Authentication page, please log in with your WesternAccount details using your or email. You should then be taken back to Nature Masterclasses and asked to enter your email address. Please use your StaffID or StudentID email address here as well.

If you are still unable to access the University's subscription please contact us for assistance.


Judy Foster
Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and International)

Lisa Tran
Nature Research