A visual abstract, also called graphical abstract, is a graphical version of the abstract of a scientific article. Usually, it consists of one image divided into different sections, giving the viewer an easy to understand visual summary of the key points of a scientific publication. First promoted by Andrew Ibrahim, now many scientific journals have embraced this format of presentation (5, 7). The implementation, the style and the amount of text vary widely between different journals.
In addition to being published in a journal, visual abstracts are also suitable to be shared on social media, where they can be disseminated to a broader audience, e.g. scientists from other fields as well as lay audience, and create additional traffic for the publication. However, the visual abstract does and shall not replace reading the full publication. Its aim is to raise interest in fellow scientists as well as interested non-scientists and facilitate an informed decision whether to read the publication or not (5, 7).