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Striving for modernity: Layout and abstracts in the biomedical literature

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Most academic journals have a fairly consistent look: they are structured similarly, their text is divided into similar sections; for example, they have an abstract at the beginning of the manuscript, and their text is usually organized in two columns. There may be different reasons for this similarity, ranging from the need to contain publication costs by using less page space to conforming to an internationally well-accepted format that may be perceived as the hallmark of academic articles. We surveyed 37 medical journals founded before 1960 and looked for their change in format over time and how this was experienced by and explained to readers. We then discussed what recent research has shown about the effects of layout on reading, looking for further explanations as to why this format was so successful.

About the Authors

C. Galli
University of Parma

Carlo Galli, Department of Medicine and Surgery


M. T. Colangelo
University of Parma

Maria Teresa Colangelo, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Histology and Embryology Lab


S. Guizzardi
University of Parma

Stefano Guizzardi, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Histology and Embryology Lab



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For citations:

Galli C., Colangelo M.T., Guizzardi S. Striving for modernity: Layout and abstracts in the biomedical literature. Science Editor and Publisher. 2021;6(2):131–147. (In Russ.)

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ISSN 2542-0267 (Print)
ISSN 2541-8122 (Online)