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Molecules. 2016 Sep 18;21(9). pii: E1247. doi: 10.3390/molecules21091247.

Does a Graphical Abstract Bring More Visibility to Your Paper?

Author information

  • 1Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Graz, Universitaetsplatz 4/1, 8010 Graz, Austria.
  • 2Department of Statistics and Operations Research, University of Graz, Universitaetsstrasse 15, 8010 Graz, Austria.
  • 3Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
  • 4Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Iuliu HaČ›ieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 400012 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
  • 5Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
  • 6Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences, 05-552 Jastrzebiec, Poland.


A graphical abstract (GA) represents a piece of artwork that is intended to summarize the main findings of an article for readers at a single glance. Many publishers currently encourage authors to supplement their articles with GAs, in the hope that such a convenient visual summary will facilitate readers with a clearer outline of papers that are of interest and will result in improved overall visibility of the respective publication. To test this assumption, we statistically compared publications with or without GA published in Molecules between March 2014 and March 2015 with regard to several output parameters reflecting visibility. Contrary to our expectations, manuscripts published without GA performed significantly better in terms of PDF downloads, abstract views, and total citations than manuscripts with GA. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical study on the effectiveness of GA for attracting attention to scientific publications.


Altmetric score; article views; citations; graphical abstract; online attention; pdf downloads; research visibility; science communication; scientific writing; social media shares

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