The article title (see What are JMIR's guidelines for article titles?) and abstract are the most read and most important parts of a manuscript.
A well-written and detailed abstract assists in the peer review process and also, if the manuscript is accepted and published, typically is a major deciding factor for readers/researchers to decide whether to read or cite an article. We strongly recommend that authors submitting their work for peer-reviewed publication spend a careful and appropriate amount of time, attention, and effort to craft a well-written abstract. This applies to any abstract, whether structured or unstructured.
Which article types require an abstract?
- All article types, except corrigenda, must include an abstract. (What are the article types for JMIR journals?)
|No abstract or none required
|Unstructured abstract (max. 450 words)
Structured abstract (max. 450 words) - jump to:
Letter to the Editor
Author Reply (to Letter to the Editor)
All other article types not listed to the left. For example:
* Editorials should also have an unstructured abstract, even if only 2-3 sentences, to convey the key content and points of the Editorial. A similar approach should be used for Viewpoints.
** Structured abstracts, unless otherwise noted, include: Background - Objectives - Methods - Results - Conclusions. For example, Implementation Reports have a minor variation on the structured abstract: Background - Objectives - Methods - Implementation (Results) - Conclusions.
- For more information on the abstract requirements for specific article types, please see: What are the article types for JMIR journals?
What do I include in a structured abstract?
- Content-wise, an abstract should be robust and detailed enough to stand on its own. Details in each section of the abstract should reflect the major components of the study design and findings from it.
- Some article types have recommended abstract checklists and authors should adhere to these when writing the abstract. For example, a PRISMA for abstracts checklist is available for systematic literature reviews.
- Abbreviations and terms introduced in the abstract must be reintroduced in the main text.
- The Results section should include appropriate quantitative data to the abstract, such as sample size, and the means (or proportions) of outcome measure which you compare between groups (i.e. do not only throw out P-values without citing the means in the two groups).
- For JMIR Research Protocols manuscripts, a very short Results section is still required. This outlines the current status of the project (eg, if the study is recruiting participants or underway, and the anticipated completion date) (What should I put into the results section of a protocol or proposal?).
- Also, do not only mention the "positive" findings. Also explicitly state if the primary outcome was "negative" (eg no differences found between groups).
- Abstracts must not include:
- Hyperlinks (one consideration is for abstract Trial Registration information, only provide the URL and remove hyperlink);
- References or citation numbers to references. Authors would be asked to remove these either during editorial processing or production of the manuscript.
- Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) require a trial registration number in the abstract, as recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) (Does my trial (RCT) have to be registered?). See the section below on trial registration for more information (Trial Registration Numbers in abstracts).
Example structure (also read any recently published manuscripts with structured abstracts)
Background: The Internet is a useful...
Objective: The objective of our study was to...
Methods: Patients were recruited during visits to...
Results: A total of 432 patients participated...
Conclusions: As shown by the responses to the...
Trial Registration: [See below]
What do I include in an unstructured abstract?
Usually, at least 2-3 sentences (max. 450 words) are included to describe the key issue and supporting points or themes of the manuscript.
See any recently published manuscripts with unstructured abstracts.
UNSTRUCTURED ABSTRACT (examples)
Trial Registration Numbers in abstracts
If a paper is a Randomized Controlled Trial (and referred to as such in the title), then it must have a Trial Registration number in the abstract and also in the manuscript body. A protocol for an RCT may also include a trial registration number if it has been registered.
How to format the trial registrations in the abstract
International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) 14881571; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN14881571/14881571
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00102401; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00102401
Note: Please remove hyperlinks from URL included in the trial registration.
- What are JMIR's guidelines for article titles?
- What are the article types for JMIR journals?
- Why were abbreviations expanded in my abstract during copyediting/proofreading?
- JMIR House Style and Editorial Guidelines
- How do I edit the abstract/title in the metadata form on revision or before publication?
- How do I cite my trial registration?
- Does my trial (RCT) have to be registered?
- What reporting guidelines should I follow for my article?
- What should I put into the results section of a protocol or proposal?