How should abridged scientific articles be presented in journals? A survey of readers and authors

Müllner, Marcus; Waechter, Fabian; Schroter, Sara; Squire, Barbara
January 2005
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;1/18/2005, Vol. 172 Issue 2, p203
Academic Journal
SEVERAL SCIENTIFIC AND GENERAL MEDICAL JOURNALS publish full-length articles on their Web sites and abridged versions in their print journals. We surveyed a stratified random sample of BMJ readers and authors to elicit their preferred format for the abridged print version. Each participant received a research paper abridged in 3 different formats: conventional abridged version, journalistic version and enhanced-abstract version. Overall, 45% (95% confidence interval [CI] 42%--48%) of the respondents said they liked the conventional version most, 31% (95% CI 28%--34%) preferred the journalistic version and 25% (95% CI 22%--27%) preferred the enhanced-abstract version. Twenty-eight percent (95% CI 25%--32%) indicated that use of the journalistic format for abridged articles would very likely stop them from submitting papers to BMJ, and 13% (95% CI 11%--16%) said the use of the enhanced-abstract version would stop them from submitting to BMJ. Publishers of general medical journals who publish shortened articles should consider that authors and readers prefer a more conventional style of abridged papers.


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