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Addressing the Limitations of Structured Abstracts

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Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(6):480-481. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-140-6-200403160-00015
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The abstract is, arguably, the most important part of an article in a medical journal because it is the only part of an article that many people read. The abstract is also important because it is the only part of an article that many journals will make accessible through search engines. Through PubMed, for example, the National Library of Medicine disseminates the abstracts of many articles to a worldwide audience. Since the abstract of an article is so important, anything that makes it more useful is a notable contribution to biomedical journalism. The structured abstract is a legitimate candidate for this distinction. It made its debut in 1987 in Annals(12). Today, most general medical journals use structured abstracts.

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