Some insights on Abstract publishing

Some insights on Abstract publishing
An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline. It is often used to ascertain the paper's purpose by the reader at the beginning of a manuscript. Scientific publications are a fundamental tool for researchers in the process of research, discovery and advancement. Among such publications, abstract publishing acts as a stand-alone entity instead of a full paper. The use of online publication databases is becoming prevalent since years, and this promotes the abstract indexing to a greater level where abstracts of quite brief size do almost as much work as the multi-page paper that follows it. The function of an abstract is to give the users a systematic and effective shortcut to the information they need. Most of the literature database search engines index only abstracts, rather than providing the entire text of the paper because the full text of scientific papers holds copyright and demands fees. An abstract's length ranges from 100 to 500 words, but very rarely more than a page and occasionally just a few words. Publishers of scientific articles always make abstracts publicly available, as it is a significant selling point for the reprint or electronic form of full text.

An abstract is a self-contained, capsule description of the paper written after the original manuscript is composed, and it comprises:
  • The research focus
  • The experimental methods used
  • The results or findings of the research and
  • The conclusions and recommendations from the research performed
Abstract length varies by discipline and publisher requirements. But, the maximum length for a dissertation abstract could be approximately 350 words and 120 words for a master's thesis; whereas, for abstracts in journals it is longer than the range of 150 to 250 words.

The best examples of abstract publishing include:
  • Dissertations' abstracts online produced by ProQuest Information and Learning
  • Articles' abstracts in Biomedical literature by MEDLINE, accesible through PubMed

Some of the merits of abstracts publishing:
  • The best way to find current information on a scholarly topic is to search indices and electronic databases to locate current journal articles.
  • Abstracts enable the users to select documents for translation (i.e. if the original literature may be available in a different language from the user's own).
  • Abstracts facilitate the selection of papers to be read in full (as the journal literature has grown too large for any one person to scan it all).
  • Abstracts save the time of the researcher (i.e. accuracy of selection of literature to be read is increased by the use of abstracts over the use of only article titles or even article titles and keywords).

Some of the misconceptions to be avoided while following abstracts:
  • Reference citations cannot be given based on the abstract alone, but the entire merits of a paper should be gone through before giving a citation.
  • Consulting the abstract alone is inadequate for scholarship and may lead to inappropriate medical decisions.

How to cite this article:
Hameedunissa Begum Shariff. Some insights on Abstract publishing. BioLim O-Media. 25 November, 2014. 2(9).
Available from: