Visually Brief your Audience with Graphical Abstracts

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Visually Brief your Audience with Graphical Abstracts

A graphical abstract will visually brief the reader about the key findings of a research. It is specifically beneficial for readers who are keen to acquire a gist of the entire research article before actually delving into reading the whole research paper. It is also useful for researchers who are interested in finding research papers that match the requirements of their research or researchers who eagerly go through research databases to find articles that closely match their research area. Researchers, before commencing their own research try to find similar papers to understand the kind of research that has already been executed in the domain and to identify gaps. In such situations, they do not have the time or the patience to go through the entire article nor does the title of previous research offer many insights. Graphical abstracts have emerged as a novel way to summarize key findings of a research and abstracts that are graphical have found wide acceptance by leading research and scientific publications such as ACS, Wiley, IEEE, Springer, RSC etc.

Since more and more journals are now leveraging the potential of the online format, it has a cascading effect on researchers and how they make their submissions. When researchers publish their papers online, it enables them to make their papers more interactive and visual. This is a feature that is now being widely utilized by editors to draw more readers. Thus graphical abstracts have assumed much significance and are one of the common features that editors now look for in a research paper.

In this article, we provide you with valuable tips that you can use to incorporate graphical abstracts within your papers or if you are already using it these tips will help you to increase the effectiveness of your graphical abstracts.

Consider your Study Scope:

  • The objective is to project the key points of your research through an image that can be easily absorbed by your target audience. Hence, it makes sense to construct your graphical abstract around your key research concept. If your research is about exploring a specific molecular change, ensure that the mechanism is included within your image. Similarly, if your research involves gene sequencing, including some aspect of it in your image.
  • You can either opt to use an open source image or you can create one from scratch. In either case, ensure that you insert text boxes to add any pertinent legends or titles.
  • Your graphical image need not necessarily be an image. It can also be a chart or a graph which has been created using software.

Emphasize on your Research Concept:

  • Your graphical abstract will not be a graphical image alone. It would also require some text to be interspersed with the image. Ensure that you include key phrases in the text which would highlight the key concept of your research. This will lead to more visibility. For instance, if your graphical abstract includes a mechanism for a chemical reaction related to glucose metabolism, you could add a title text such as; mechanistic diagram of glucose metabolism.

Use the Right Software:

  • You can also use software to create graphical abstract. But the trick lies in identifying and using the right software. It is always recommended that you use software that you are comfortable working with or have prior knowledge about. The most commonly used software to create graphical abstract is Microsoft Office. MS-Office offers much flexibility in its program that will help you to create graphical abstracts. Also most researchers and students have a fair knowledge of using it.
  • Within MS-Office, Powerpoint is frequently used by researchers to create graphical abstracts. When you utilize one slide as the canvas for your image, it helps in keeping the entire image on screen. Powerpoint also offers the flexibility where you can overlay textboxes and other objects as and when required.

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