I'm trying to decide between two kinds of abstracts for an article I prepare.
- One mentions by name, goal and principle the well-studied, often taught, and commonly used theoretical construction I start from; tells I propose dual smurfs (one large, one small) rather than the usual single smurf, and that I get the benefits of both large and small smurf, with practical applications.
- The other eats like 180 words (out of the recommended 150--250) to introduce some notation¹, then my dual smurfs, an extra variable, two new formulas describing the modified relations. I hope it could trigger a "that could work!" feeling in the target readership. But I have to severely trim the rest.
I fail to find a middle ground: it's either deferring meaningful explanation of the how to the body of the article, or spending most of the limited space/attention span for a basic exposition.
Some context: I'm an engineer using cryptography professionally, not an academic. I only previously wrote one article as a single author², back in 1999. I now have a quite different idea, hopefully improving a well-studied, often taught, and commonly used theoretical construction. I plan to first post my article on a specialized preprint website, with three goals:
- Raise interest of academics in the field to either get a summary refutation, or find a coauthor mastering more advanced proof techniques than I do, to get more precise security reduction.
- Make a disclosure that prevents others from filing patent (I won't). That goal complicates privately circulating the article, since the few academics I know in the field tend to have ties to the industry.
- If possible get published in a top conference.
The abstract matters to 1; less for 3, as I can change the abstract when I submit; not for 2.
¹ Four variables known to the target audience but under a plethora of notations and often two names, the usual smurf, one short formula on how the smurf relates to the variables.
² The attempt went well. LaTeX didn't kill me. I got published in a top-4 conference with peer-reviewed proceedings, then invited by academics to merge my material into an article in the reference journal of the field, sort of an obituary to the signature standard we had broken in significantly different ways.