The article title and abstract are the most read and most important pieces of a manuscript, critical for us to find qualified reviewers, and critical for researchers/readers to decide whether to read or cite an article. We suggest spending significant time to refine the abstract.
- All papers except corrigenda must include an abstract. Even our editorials have an (unstructured) abstract, sometimes only 2-3 sentences long.
- The abstracts for most papers must be structured and should not exceed 450 words. They should contain the following sections: Background, Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusions.
- For more information on the abstract requirements for specific article types, please see: What are the article types for JMIR journals?
- For papers where the results are not yet known, such as protocols, include a very short Results section outlining the current status of the project (eg, if the study is recruiting participants or underway, and the anticipated completion date).
- Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) require a trial registration number in the abstract, as recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). If there is no Trial Registration section in the abstract for an RCT, the copyeditor or editor should query the author. If the trial was not registered, authors are asked to provide an explanation (in the Methods section, somewhere close to ethics approval). See the section below on trial registration for more information.
- Content-wise, an abstract should stand on its own. Therefore, abbreviations and terms introduced in the abstract must be reintroduced in the main text.
- Add 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).
- Do not only mention the "positive" findings. Also explicitly state if the primary outcome was "negative" (eg no differences found between groups).
- Abstracts never have references. If there are references in the abstract, the editor should point this out to the author before acceptance. References in the abstract could lead to misnumbered references and very time-consuming work for the production team.
- Please do not include hyperlinks in the abstract (including Trial Registration section). Provide URLs only and remove hyperlink if present.
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]
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.