Brief summaries on Nature online contents page

I thought I was going mad this morning as I browsed the online contents page of today’s Nature issue. When I got to the sections for Articles and Letters, the entries looked longer than usual, due to the inclusion of a two or sentence summary for each item.
I checked earlier issues and could not see these summaries, so it looks like a new development, though I haven’t seen any announcement about it.
I think it is a good idea – making browsing more informed – but some readers may dislike it as it is of course less compact than before.
It is surprising that many online tables of contents look so much like their print counterparts. Elsevier have a cunning thing that lets you preview the abstract on the contents page, but that’s all that springs to mind without going and checking other publishers.
So, what do you think of the new contents page?
I am also curious to know what drove NPG to make the change?

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we slip from print through to electronic information resources.
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5 Responses to Brief summaries on Nature online contents page

  1. Stephen Curry says:

    So, what do you think of the new contents page?
    I thought it was very interesting. Cough.

  2. Frank Norman says:

    Yes, I did notice that! Collins gets a bit of a kicking in the correspondence this week.

  3. Maxine Clarke says:

    We’ve been running these brief summaries on what is known as “the eTOC” for some time (i.e. if you sign up for the table of contents as an email alert). We decided it might be nice for “readers of the issue” to see these summaries too – and also we thought it might be nice to keep them, rather than have them getting lost in the aether with wherever the rest of the eTOC goes.
    Look forward to any further reader feedback – please keep us appraised of your evolving views, Frank.
    And congratulations, Stephen!

  4. Frank Norman says:

    Thanks for the explanation Maxine. I agree it does make sense to make more use of them.

  5. Maxine Clarke says:

    We’ll just have to be ruthless with ourselves to keep them short, Frank – we don’t want our readers to have to scroll down for yards metres.