In an August 14, 2009 review in Science (Volume 325, pp. 828-832), Allen H. Renear and Carole L. Palmer predict, “reading practices [of scientists] will become even more rapid and indirect, transforming the ways in which scientists engage the literature and shaping the evolution of scientific publishing.” They describe how newer tools – search engines, relevance rankings, etc. – allow scientists to read more at a faster pace.
In an earlier blog posting, I noted the growing importance of grabbing readers with a good abstract. The Science review confirms this. Yet, I still find abstracts wasting as many as their first eight (!) sentences on an introduction. By that time, the digital reader is long gone, see ya’ later!
I’ve been trying to catch these flaws at the “tentative accept” level. The message once again is: Get right to the point.