Except for the title, the abstract is the most widely read part of your manuscript, and therefore must be both effective and attractive. Your abstract must provide a coherent, concise, and convincing summary of your research objective, methodology, results, and conclusions.
For readers and researchers, the abstract acts as a selection tool. Most abstracts are freely available online, and a busy researcher will quickly scan through many abstracts to decide which articles to continue reading in depth.
Journal editors are looking for strong, focused abstracts with original content that meets the scope of the journal, and a message that will attract readers. A standout abstract should identify the novelty and significance of the research, while also following the guidelines and style of the target journal.
The abstract is also a vital part of the peer review process. Most journals send the abstract to the reviewers with the initial invitation, and the reviewers often decide whether they wish to review an article based on this abstract. A well-structured abstract will aid the reviewer in assessing the content of the manuscript, and focus attention to the key messages.
As many indexing and archiving databases include only the title and abstract, an accurate, and readable abstract is essential to ensuring that the abstract is indexed, and the full text of your article subsequently accessed. To this end, the abstract must include keywords and phrases that a researcher would use in a literature search to identify the content.
The abstract is your opportunity to quickly convey the scope, the purpose, the main findings, and the potential implications of your research. It is a crucial element in obtaining your goal of publication success.
If you have any tips to share on how to write a “stand-out abstract”, please comment below.