Graphical abstracts

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A graphical abstract provides a brief visual summary of the major findings of a study. Usually, a figure is specially designed for this purpose which presents a short summary of the content of the study for the readers, but the concluding figure of the study can also be used as a graphical abstract. For clarification, you can see the examples below.

The graphical abstract of a study will appear in online search result lists, the online contents list, and the online electronic version of the research. However, it is not (yet) displayed in the PDF file or printed version of the article.

Instructions for researchers
A graphical abstract should provide a quick understanding of the fundamental message of the study for the readers, inspire further reading, and motivate more research. Besides, it should help the readers to find the articles that are most in line with their research interests.

The authors or researchers must provide an image that clearly represents the project that is elaborated in the article. It should be noted that one of the original figures of the study can also be used as the graphical abstract if it summarizes the content of the article.


The file of a graphical abstract must contain one image and visualize one process or clarify one point. In order to make browsing easier, the start and end of the graphical abstract must be clear. It is preferred to specify "reading" from top to bottom or left to right. Also, try to eliminate the elements that might distract the reader or clutter the image.

  • Image size: The minimum size of the provided image must be 531×1328 pixels (h×w) with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. If the image that you want to submit is larger than this, please use the same ratio (200 height×500width).
  • Font: Please use Times, Arial, Courier, or Symbol font with a large enough font size since the image will be downsized to fit the Table of Contents so it should fir a window of 200 pixels height.
  • File type: TIFF, EPS, PDF, or MS Office files are preferred.
  • Do not attach any additional text, outline, or synopsis. If you want to add any text or label, it should be part of the image file. Please do not include unnecessary white space or a heading “graphical abstract” within the image file.

2 examples of suitable graphical abstracts in published articles

Example 1. Self-encoded marker for optical prospective head motion correction in MRI, Christoph Forman, Murat Aksoy, Medical Image Analysis, Volume 15, Issue 5, October 2011, Pages 708-719.

Example 2. Crosstalk between activation of microglia and astrocytes in pathological conditions in the central nervous system, W. Liu, Y. Tang, J. Feng, Life Sciences, Volume 89, Issues 5-6, 1 August 2011, Pages 141-146.