Hi. This is Karen McKee, retired scientist and
author with another video about scientific writing. Today I’m going to be talking about graphical
abstracts. A number of journals are requiring authors
to prepare a graphical abstract to be submitted along with the manuscript. A graphical abstract is a stand-alone, visual
summary of the main findings of the article. Here are a couple of examples. Journals typically use graphical abstracts
in the online journal’s table of contents. In some cases, the graphical abstract may
be a combination of figure and text, as you see here. The graphical abstract also can be just a
figure from the article or a new figure that quickly conveys the main findings of the study
to a reader. In this example from one of my papers, the
figure is from the article and the text is condensed from the paper’s abstract and written
in clear, easy-to-understand language. Not all authors embrace the idea of graphical
abstracts, however, mainly because it’s seen as redundant and a lot of extra work. In fact, it’s not redundant and doesn’t have
to take a lot of your time to prepare an effective and compelling graphical abstract. And, there are several benefits to the author. For one thing, graphical abstracts act like
advertisements for your journal paper. The graphical abstract in the journal table
of contents can pique a reader’s interest, prompting them to read your paper. The graphical abstract can also show up in
an image search. Here is a paper with a graphical abstract. An image search using keywords from the title
shows the graphical abstract as the top-ranking item in the list. The searcher can then access the site hosting
the image, which is the journal. So someone searching for information or images
related to this topic will be led to the paper with the graphical abstract. A graphical abstract can thus help you reach
a larger readership. Let’s now look at how to create a graphical
abstract. The idea is to create something that attracts
a reader’s attention and makes them want to read your paper. I’m going to use one of my own papers to illustrate. First, read the instructions for your target
journal. The main guidelines for this particular journal
are to select a figure that best represents the scope of the paper and to prepare text
of no more than 80 words to accompany the figure. I created the graphical abstract with PowerPoint. First select the page setup to conform to
the journal specifications for the figure. In this case, I used the widescreen aspect
ratio to fit in both an image and text alongside. I decided to use a figure from the paper containing
six images that illustrated the study topic and approach. I selected a figure with photographs because
they were eye-catching and also showed different views of the plant community we studied. You might use a diagram, a graph, or a conceptual
model, whatever works best with your material. But you want to make sure the font size in
a graph is sufficient to be read in a thumbnail image. Next, I condensed the paper’s 300-word abstract
down to 69 words. The first sentence set the stage by explaining
the overall context and reason for the study. The second sentence summarized the main finding
of the study. I then pasted the text into a text box in
the slide, matching the recommended font type. The slide was then exported as an image and
submitted as an image file to the journal. Again, select the file format recommended
by the journal, in this case a tiff. The resulting figure was eye-catching, and
the text could be digested in a few seconds. And as you saw, it doesn’t take that long
to prepare a graphical abstract using a figure from your study. If you have more time and the inclination,
you can create an entirely new figure to serve as a graphical abstract. Thanks for watching and please share this
video with your colleagues and students.