Making of a Good Graphical Abstract

Many international and national journals ask the authors to submit a graphical abstract along with their manuscript. A graphical abstract is usually a single figure that captures the main findings of a research paper and attracts the reader’s attention.

Why we need a graphical abstract?

• To make our work more visual and interactive, and publicise your paper.
• Summarise one’s paper in just one figure and with limited text.
• Beneficial for non-native English speakers, as they do not have to use too much of text and can easily present their ideas in form of a figure.
• Recyclable in nature; that means, once prepared, it can be used later in presentations, blogs, social media platforms, posters, conference presentations, and so on.

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How to build an effective graphical abstract?

Here are some tips that can help you make an effective graphical abstract:
• Note down the main points of the paper, such that the whole paper can be summarised in a sentence or two.
• Search for the journal that you are submitting to so that you can have an idea of the style and font to be used.
• Check the journal guidelines for any specifications about the number of words/characters.
• Style your abstract according to the message that you want to convey; for example, in the form of flow chart or figure along with text. There are many more ways in which the graphical abstract can be styled.
• Include the keywords so that it is easily available to the readers searching for the topic of your research. Do not worry about including the details as it can be found in the paper.
• Make it self-explanatory and also easy to understand. The abstract should be designed in a way that does not take much effort to understand.

How to format a graphical abstract?

The publishing journals usually set the guidelines for formatting. Some of the guidelines that are generally specified are as follows:
• Dimension of the graphical abstract.
• Format in which it has to be submitted. The common format of submission is either in JPEG or TIFF format.
• A caption or explanatory note can be included.
• As most of the colour illustrations are freely published online, so you can prepare a coloured graphical abstract that can be the highlighting factor for your research article.

Making of a graphical abstract can seem to be daunting; however, it is a great way to attract the attention of readers towards your research paper. It gives you the liberty to summarise the content of the paper in a pictorial manner, making it easier to understand for the readers. With these tips, developing an interactive graphical abstract will be more like a cakewalk and a valuable addition to your research work.

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