Is it acceptable to write an abstract with bullet points?
As a journal editor, I’m thinking about switching an abstract to key points (5 bullet points); we plan to place 5 bullet key points in an abstract section. Is it acceptable academically?
Generally, abstracts are drafted as single paragraph texts, without any list formats. This is mainly due to two reasons: style of the journal and formatting style in indexing databases. Some journals prefer a consistency in the publishing style, which might not support the list format in the abstract section. Also, abstracts are published on various article databases, which have varying support for markup. Much of the formatting will not necessarily be carried over. A nicely formatted bulleted list which appears in the pages of the journal can turn into a confusing mess in online article databases, i.e., it might lose the bullets and be smashed into a single paragraph. Therefore, bullet points should preferably be avoided in the abstract. However, if you insist on putting lists within the abstract, you can put them as standard inline list, such as:
These are (a)….. , (b)….. , (c)….. etc.