Aspects of the abstract in systematic palaeontology
The most important section of most research papers, which will be read by the widest audience, is the abstract. But abstracts are often written in a hurry after the paper is finished, when the author is in a rush to get it submitted. In consequence, they may fail to communicate the paper’s true content. Herein, I look at the abstract in systematic palaeontology and make suggestions as to how it can be improved. Do not refer to the year of publication of a taxon in the abstract, as the abstract itself may likely be reprinted without a supporting reference list, in an abstracting journal or elsewhere, but do refer to the author by name, such as Agenus aspecies Smith. Be sure that your abstract is logically structured and all-inclusive, comprehensively covering the major points of your paper. Write the abstract from scratch; do not just cut-and-paste sentences from the text. Do not repeat words from the title in the keywords; rather, derive them from that other major source of the other principal words in the paper, that is, the abstract. Formerly, abstracts sensu lato appeared at the end of a paper and were called conclusions; a modern research paper does not require both an abstract and conclusions, as they say essentially the same.
KeywordsPublications Structured abstracts Authorship Keywords Conclusions
I am most grateful to a consummate editor, Dr. A. Louise Allcock (National University of Ireland Galway), for her constructive comments on an earlier incarnation of this paper.
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