Journal of Refractive Surgery

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Improved Abstracts for Improved Communication

Katherine K Lindstrom, MPH; George O Waring, III, MD, FAGS

Many busy ophthalmologists limit their perusal of the medical literature to the reading of abstracts - and this is how it should be, to enable people to identify the salient points of an article and to identify the articles they want to read in depth. To improve communication in Refractive and Corneal Surgery, we inaugurate two innovations in our abstracts.


As the official publication of the International Society of Refractive Keratoplasty (ISRK), the European Refractive Surgical Society (ERSS), and two affiliate societies, the Scandinavian Society for Kerato-Refractive Surgery and the Brazilian Society of Refractive Surgery, Refractive and Corneal Surgery is committed to representing the interests of refractive surgery worldwide. A review of the 1991 publication statistics demonstrates our international scope and authorship (Table). To further improve our communication, we inaugurate the publication of abstracts of original articles in Italian, French, and English. We realize that many ophthalmologists are not fluent in English, and to help authors communicate more effectively, we will provide translations whenever possible. We acknowledge and appreciate the willingness of our volunteer translators to provide this valuable service.


Most individuals who read scientific journals do so by scanning articles: the abstract, the figures, maybe the tables, and possibly the first and last paragraphs of the introduction and discussion. Therefore, we attempt to structure articles to get the most important information to the reader as concisely as possible. In 1992, we began using abstracts that provide a topical summary of the article under the following headings: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.

This simple outline makes it easier for the reader to scan the abstract, ensures that fundamental information is present in the abstract, and assists the author in creating the abstract. This facilitates an efficient approach for readers who "want the answer" - they only have to read the conclusion in the abstract. For those who want to read the summary of the article, the structured abstract enables the reader to quickly grasp the essence.


REFRACTIVE AND CORNEAL SURGERY1991 Source of Articles (November, 1991)


1991 Source of Articles (November, 1991)


1991 Source of Articles (November, 1991)


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