Many abstract journals include patent specifications in their coverage thereby providing references to the most up‐to‐date sources of information which might otherwise be ignored by technicians in smaller enterprises and by students. A survey of some of these journals shows that while many do provide good coverage and indexing, the selection criteria for the patent specifications are sometimes questionable and bibliographic details are inaccurate or misleading. Standards for the identification of patent documents have been developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization and are in world‐wide use by patent offices. Their adoption by abstract journals is strongly recommended.
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