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In Issue 28, we discussed the Article of the Future, which is part of an ongoing collaboration with the scientific community to redefine how a scientific article is presented online.

The project has now introduced its first two prototypes. They present articles in a non-linear structure, with multimedia features and enhanced graphical navigation. By clicking on tabs, you can navigate easily between article components, viewing the introduction, results, figures, references, comments and other sections in any order. You can find graphics and multimedia in a single section, as well as within the text.

Graphical Abstracts encourage browsing, promote interdisciplinary scholarship, and help readers identify more quickly which papers are most relevant to their research interests.

Readers of Elsevier published articles will notice some improvements in how the articles appear on ScienceDirect.

How information is gathered and readership styles have changed quite considerably, now that most people access articles online. Searching online for relevant articles is mostly done by key words, instead of browsing through journals’ table of contents listings. To help facilitate information gathering, Elsevier has implemented two improvements in presenting the information of each article.

Graphical abstracts

Read more about Graphical abstracts

A Graphical Abstract should allow readers to quickly gain an understanding of the main take-home message of the paper and is intended to encourage browsing, promote interdisciplinary scholarship, and help readers identify more quickly which papers are most relevant to their research interests. The Graphical Abstract should summarize the contents of the paper in a concise, pictorial form designed to capture the attention of a wide readership. Authors must provide images that clearly represent the work described in the paper. A key, summarizing figure taken from the original paper can also be submitted as a graphical abstract.

Graphical Abstracts should be submitted as a separate file in EES by selecting "Graphical Abstract" from the drop-down box when uploading files.

The graphical abstract will be displayed in online search result lists, the Contents List and the online article, but will not appear in the article PDF file or print. Visit External link for more information.

Research Highlights

Read more about Research Highlights

Research Highlights are a short collection of bullet points that convey the core findings of the article. Often, they are the main three to five highlights of the article. Authors can select the points of their research they wish to highlight at article submission stage.

Specifications for Graphical Abstracts

  • Maximum image size 400x600 pixels (hxw, recommended size 200 x 500 pixels)
  • Use Arial font with a size of 10-16 points
  • Preferred file types TIFF, EPS, PDF or MS Office files
  • A single image file and should not contain multiple panels
  • Visualize one process or make one point clear
  • For ease of browsing, images should have a clear start and end, preferably "reading" from top to bottom or left to right
  • Avoid distracting graphics or cluttered material as much as possible

To cite this article, please use: Marie Sheehan, “Graphical abstracts: a new way of summarizing journal articles”, Elsevier Editors’ Update, Issue 29, March 2010.