Are graphical abstracts changing the way we publish scientific research?

graphical abstract Opportunity

© Olivier Le Moal – Fotolia.com

The time is now!

A graphical abstract is a unique opportunity to drive traffic to your research. It is often the very first encounter your readers will have with your research. The use of graphical abstracts is on the rise and scientific journals use them strategically on their websites (here is an example from Haematologica) and on social media platforms.

It is indeed a very effective way of science communication in the fast evolving media landscape we live in. Information consumption changed drastically in the last 2 decades. Most information uptake happens via online media nowadays and we digest the news in little chunks rather than big bodies of text. The scientific field is certainly not pioneering this change, but it can and will not stay behind. The increased use of graphical abstracts is exemplifying this evolution.

As a publishing research scientist it is important to realise this evolution and anticipate as much as possible. It is our moral duty as scientists to communicate the research we perform far and fast, it can save lives and make our world a better place.

Changes always create opportunity. Scientific publishing has been very rigid for as long as we can remember. However, the slow shift that some scientific journals are making towards more ‘modern’ ways of communication creates favourable conditions for the innovative scientist. For example, many publishing authors will submit an upgraded presentation slide as a graphical abstract. The innovative scientist on the other hand will optimise her graphical abstract to accommodate the purpose and the medium (there are many tips and tricks on this blog). Her work will be seen by more people, possibly leading to more interest in her research. This leads to unexpected collaborations, more funding, more citations and recognition. All this accelerates the momentum to get even more opportunities. It works as a positive feedback loop. The innovative scientist values her research important and takes the leap. This scientist might be you…

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