Sunday, October 16, 2011

Keeping Abstracts Brief

Strunk and White recommended that writers omit needless words, yet it is my impression that scientific abstracts and papers have grown in length during my career.

Nevertheless, a colleague recently sent me a physics paper that sets the new standard for shortest scientific abstract.

Now I like a short abstract, but that's ridiculous (although it gets right to the point)!  Aim for something closer to what Nature suggests below.


  1. Jim, you can rest assured that the AMS has a solution. I am not sure that there was a problem with the length of abstracts growing too long (reviewers could always recommend shortening if too long), but now you won't be able to upload an abstract for a manuscript greater than 250 words.

  2. Good. I've seen some 4 paragraph abstracts lately...which is insane.

  3. Apparently you can use a super secret proprietary system to forecast up to a year in advance.

    I love how they call it "science"! How about some verification? Oh wait, it's proprietary so they can't release the results...