Talk:Abstract (summary)

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Can anyone provide source for this statement?

There exists, for nearly every academic discipline, one or more, often non-profit, organizations, whose mission it is to abstract and index all writing pertaining to that subject.

--Edcolins 12:57, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I probably can't provide proof of this. If you'd like to remove it, perhaps you can think of another way to at least indicate that these organizations do exist in whatever degree? I am not sure anyone will be able to find any statement amounting to "X% of disciplines have a related abstracting or indexing organization". Perhaps I was mistaken in thinking this article is a good place to include information on this kind of thing. I am definitely not an expert.. but I am pretty sure these organizations, at least as a whole, deserve at least the most minor of mentions somewhere in wikipedia.--Paraphelion 13:05, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I have tried to amend the article in such a way that no reference is really needed. I agree these organizations deserve a mention in Wikipedia. --Edcolins 15:38, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

This is strange: "protections under copyright law in the United States and most other democratic states." It implies that non-democratic states do not have copyright protection. What is the basis for this assertion?

Excellent observation, anonymous poster, but I'm afraid it's also probably a moot point. Non-democratic states are either oligarchy, autocracy, or theocracy, meaning that government power is wielded by a single person, a few, or the elite. As a general principle, control of public opinion is reserved by those in power, but it can be argued that even a regime's influence is continuously challenged by our increasing open society, driven by the power of the media. Good examples of current challenges to freedom of expression/speech in these types of states can be found in Saudi Arabia ([1]; [2] "The Princes and the Press"...a fascinating radio interview by the way), where the regime appears as if it is demonstrating a knee-jerk reaction to the rise of blogs and other Internet activities. Notoriously, the China and Google censorhip issue is also a good example, [3]. I submit all states go through public opinion growing pains, but that democratic states are far beyond other government types in allowing freedom of expression. Supposedly, the right to freedom of speech is guaranteed under international law through numerous human rights instruments, notably under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Clearly, protecting this freedom is seriously lacking in many states. Some leashes just don't reach. I don't believe any government on the planet has the capacity to stop the reaches and power of the Internet. It's true that you could probably find some autocracy that purportedly allows broad freedom of expression as a minute example to refute the assertion of the text and my argument here, but upon close analysis, I seriously doubt you'll find any non-democratic state that doesn't censor its people at a degree of magnitute far greater than that of democratic states. Please prove me wrong with examples and I'd be happy to rewrite the text. --Piewalker 14:19, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Abstract length[edit]

The article states that typical lengths of abstracts range from 250 to 500 words. To me 250 seems to be quite a high lower limit. A quick google for "abstract length" or "abstract length words" gives a number of suggestions for the length of the abstract (usually for some specific publication or conference), eg. "220-270 words", "500-1000 words", "should not exceed one single page", "max 150 words", "500 words maximum", "800 words", "300 words", "200 words", "between 100 and 200 words". To me it seems that the lower limit should perhaps be adjusted a little bit lower? --SLi 11:36, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Sure, that's fair. I've seen many short abstracts of that length. I say go for it (editing the page, that is). Piewalker 17:10, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Abstract for Academic purposes[edit]

Can someone add more information on abstract for acedemic purposes? this article is tilted mostly toward scientific research and there's no info on the acedemic part. Sirishar 16:28, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Good point. I'll do that. I'll emphasise the main components of an academic abstract, providing an example or two of good and bad practice. Glenbeich (talk) 20:10, 6 April 2009 (UTC).
Scientific is academic, but not conversely. There are differences of structure, length and emphasis but functionally there's no important difference. andy (talk) 15:04, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

abstract vs executive summary[edit]

i read the article but still did not get how the abstract is different from an executive summary. i.e. what is unique or special about an abstract

would appriciate if someone explain this point

An Abstract is primarily a vehicle for summarising a body of academic work whereas an Executive Summary has its origins in senior management reports (hence the term "Executive") where the report proper would be preceded with a simple summary of the contents. However, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably despite having different origins and different purposes. Hope this helps clarify the difference. Glenbeich (talk) 20:39, 6 April 2009 (UTC).

An executive summary is like an abstract but goes one step further in trying to convince the reader that their article is worth reading and has some new ideas or research that has not been used before.Mr Eko Let You Live 15:36, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Executive summary redirects here, but is not mentioned in the article text. It should be. —DIV ( (talk) 09:29, 14 April 2008 (UTC))
I agree, if "Executive Summary" redirects here it should at least be mentioned. I know what an absract is, I am less clear on what an "Executive Summary" is; the redirect has not made this clearer. (talk) 04:26, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The redirect is wrong then - since an abstract isn't an executive summary it shouldn't redirect here. andy (talk) 08:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I added a new section for executive summary, the sources I have read are quite clear that it is different from an abstract. If someone could take executive action to scrub the re-direct and extract this section as a new article then I would support that action. HarryAlffa (talk) 14:12, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

That's been done - see Executive Summary andy (talk) 08:56, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

The History of Abstract[edit]

When did the abstract appear in Europe?

As far as i understand the ancients in the Middle Ages did not give any kind of summary, but instead of it a citation was given, because most of texts were in Latin. And i think this was a cause for citation as it was more easier. Sometimes the citation was not accurate, but we still can't call it abstract. It seemes to me, that the humanists were the first in Europe, who began compose a deliberate abstract.
Does anyone know anything about it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:17, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I can see no reason why Abstract management deserves its own article. it's just a process which has no independent existence, and it should be a section (maybe just a sentence) in this article. I propose to merge the content from Abstract management into Abstract (summary). GNUSMAS : TALK 19:50, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Abstracts and the management of abstracts are totally different concepts - as different as aircraft and air traffic control. Abstracts are intellectual property and are key elements of the content of journals and conferences. Abstract management is a logistical issue faced by journal publishers and conference organisers and has become a multi-million dollar global industry in its own right. What could be more different? andy 21:30, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

If that is the case, the article should say so, and back it up with some facts. Who, for example, are the participants in this multi-million dollar industry? I'm quite open to persuasion, but you need to persuade me, in the article! GNUSMAS : TALK 07:17, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

There are over 100 firms that offer abstract management services. Not all are million-dollar enterprises, but some are including Coe-Truman Technologies, ScholarOne (now a division of Thompson), Mira Digital Publishing, Precis, MarathonMultimedia, Conference Exchange, Oxford Abstracts, and others. Other players are the bigger journal publishers, such as Elsevier, and leading medical, professional, and technical associations (Society for Neuroscience, American Heart Association, American Society of Microbiology). Perhaps the term or concept should be broadened beyond simply abstract management. For example, in the conference industry, abstracts are part of a program that also includes invited experts, structured sessions (such as roundtables, meet-the-experts, etc.). This process also touches on continuing education. I think placing this information in a larger context such as this would help. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

  • The article is now well referenced, as per comments by user:Gnusmas and anon IP. This merger debate seems to have ground to a halt so I'll close it, for now anyway. andy (talk) 08:20, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Abstract words[edit]

should another page be created for "Abstract words"? What it means is - ideas coined in the mind, such as "love", it is a concept, not evidence. Jane's lover for example, would be concrete, evidence. Also words such as "honor", "respect"... are also abstract words that represent ideas. kandrey89 20:30, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I dont think any opf this truely matters just please make it easier to understand im only 13 and ive got to do my homework on this and just find out the meaning well wikipedia is the best website for this but noun of it makes any sence —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 5 February 2009 (UTC)


I moved a small section on copyright from the "Purpose" section to a new section. However, there is no clear reference. I also added a sentence that this is important for Wikipedia editors as overzealous editors have deleted text or whole articles that had bits and pieces (or even major chunks) from published abstracts. I wonder if abstracts are really copyright-protected as they typically represent single paragraphs and short citations of small bits of text is usually permissible if properly cited (as should be done in WP). Please clarify the legal issues here. Thanks! Peteruetz (talk) 22:54, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I've reverted because abstracts are actually copyright and to suggest otherwise is misleading. Also, we don't put comments and advice in WP articles. Andyjsmith (talk) 08:41, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I have recreated to copyright section as it is important to find this information. WP is an encyclopedia and not a monograph. I agree with the commentary -- just added this out of frustration over over-zealous editors. I have NOT suggested that abstracts are not copyrighted but they are clearly different from other copyrighted works given their free availability. BTW - there is no source for the copyright protection of abstracts. The cited reference at the end of the paragraph doesn't even mention copyright Peteruetz (talk) 02:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Everything written is copyright unless there's a reason why it isn't. Andyjsmith (talk) 07:58, 15 January 2016 (UTC)