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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Emerald structured abstracts have arrived!
After months of preparation by journal editors, authors and Emerald publishing staff, structured abstracts are ready for publication in all Emerald journals. The abstracts appear in journals from the first issues of all 2005 volumes and a glance at any article title page in this issue will illustrate the format and style of the new-style abstracts. The format differs slightly in the electronic version of articles on Emerald’s web site but this is only a cosmetic variation and takes account of the different medium and way in which people use abstract information.
The idea for the structured abstracts came about at the start of 2004 and a small team has worked on the design and introduction of structured abstracts throughout the year. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in producing this journal, Emerald is now able to showcase the abstracts for the first time. We believe they provide real benefits to our readers and researchers and that they answer some of the key questions journal users have about a paper without them having to scan or read the entire article. Some of these questions might include:
“What research has been conducted on this topic?”
“How was the research approached – what methods were used?”
“What were the main findings?”
“Are there any literature reviews on this topic and are they selective or inclusive?”
“So what? The authors have shown this but what does this mean for my work/organization?”
“I want to conduct research in this area but what questions still need to be answered?”
“Has this work got any relevance and value for me?”
“What did the writer set out to show?”
Structured abstracts provide the answers to these kinds of questions without the researcher having to go any further into the article itself. Authors can be more confident that their paper will be noticed and read by others with a real interest in the topic or research.
As far as possible we have alerted our authors and editorial team members to this change via Literati Club Newslines and communications with journal editors. Authors who have been asked to rewrite their abstracts in the new format have readily obliged. The response from all parties has been very encouraging:
Structured abstracts are increasing in popularity among the social and behavioral sciences
There’s overwhelming evidence that readers (and indexers) glean more from structured abstracts (Jonathan Eldredge, MLS, PhD, AHIP, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Academic & Clinical Services Coordinator and Author, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, Health Sciences Center, The University of New Mexico, USA).
For more on structured abstracts and their value for researchers and writers, read the short paper by Liz Bayley and Jonathan Eldredge at http://research.mlanet.org/structured_abstract.html
Everyone has difficulties in the digital environment in weighing up the value of any piece of information and structured abstracts go some way towards a remedy to the problem of information overload. Emerald is the very first publisher in the management field to introduce structured abstracts and whilst we are mindful that this means change for authors and researchers, we feel our pioneering work in this area gives our journals a strong competitive advantage. We are pleased and proud to be the first in the field to implement this extremely good idea.
Unfortunately we are unable to go back through more than 40,000 papers already in Emerald’s database to change already-published abstracts into structured ones. On a more positive note, however, nearly 5,000 new papers will be deposited into the database this coming year and all will be accompanied by a structured abstract.
Emerald would be pleased to hear what you think about this initiative. E-mail Sue de Verteuil, Head, Editorial Developments at email@example.com with your views.