Adoption of Visual Abstracts at Circulation CQO
Why and How We’re Doing It
Medical journals serve multiple important roles that include facilitating peer review of research to ensure quality, building a knowledge base for our profession, and effectively disseminating research findings. At Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, we are continually seeking strategies to improve our ability to carry out these roles. To help improve how we disseminate research findings, we have recently started to publish visual abstracts.
In its simplest terms, a visual abstract is a visual representation of a manuscript’s key findings.1 A visual abstract is a clear, concise format to quickly communicate the key findings of a study so that the busy readers of our journal can more efficiently find the articles most relevant to them. It is not meant to be a substitute for reading the article, but more so akin to a movie trailer that helps you decide if you want to read the full manuscript. With an increasing volume of available literature, we feel this is an important service to direct readers to relevant and important publications.
Visual abstracts were first implemented by the Annals of Surgery in July 2016 as a means of sharing important research on social media platforms. In addition to creating >50 visual abstracts to date, Annals of Surgery has also invited authors to cocreate visual abstracts with them. Although there are research studies underway to specifically quantify how well visual abstracts help in the dissemination of research,2 the use of visual abstracts is increasing. To date, more than a dozen journals have adopted the format into their social media platform and many of these can be found on Twitter by searching the hashtag #VisualAbstract.
We are in the early phase of integrating visual abstracts into processes at Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. In our first phase, the editorial board will be creating visual abstracts for 1 to 2 articles that are particularly compelling. Once the manuscripts are published, we will share the accompanying visual abstract on social media platforms with a link to the article itself. If we find the use of visual abstract leads to greater dissemination of associated research publication, we will look to expand its use across the journal.
Like all new techniques in medicine and research, the adoption of the visual abstract will inevitably have a learning curve. We look forward to hearing from our readership about the value of visual abstracts and how we can further improve the dissemination of research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the American Heart Association.
- © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
- Ibrahim AM
- 2.↵Annals of Surgery. Study Design: Prospective, Case-Control Crossover Study to Evaluate Impact of Visual Abstracts on Twitter. 2016. https://twitter.com/AnnalsofSurgery/status/815654155679363074. Accessed January 2, 2017.