A Coherent Philosophy of Titles, Abstracts and Keywords in Scientific Articles

  • Anders Martinsson


Title, abstract and keywords should be regarded and developed as parts of an integrated system designed to cover the needs of selective readers, librarians and secondary services. (1) If combined with an abstract, the title can be relieved of its burden of excessive information of keyword type and so better suited for its function of catching the attention of the selective reader. (2) The abstract, then, should be regarded as an extended title in the form of connected sentences. (3) If the abstract is supplemented by a line of keywords (which are indicative by definition), the abstract can be relieved of its indicative function (serving the documentalists in the first place) and concentrate upon its informative function (which is what the scientific reader wants). — Consequently, abstract and keywords should together with the title form part of the article-head, and in standardization the three components should be treated together. — Although remaining a self-contained item of information, the abstract in an international language that is added to an article in a national language can be coordinated with other components of the article (summaries and captions) in the service of the selective reader.


Primary User Scientific Article National Language Article Title Indexing Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. Martinsson, A. 1972: Editor’s column. Titles of palaeontological papers. Lethaia, Vol. 5, pp. 126–128. Oslo.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Martinsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PalaeobiologyUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden

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