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As of this writing, the (APS’s information for authors example) states:

abstracts are reprinted in abstracting journals

The style guide for Reviews of Modern Physics (by the same publisher) states:

[The abstract] will also be published separately from the article in at least one abstract journal.

Now, in my reality, abstracting journals are a curious thing of the past and were made obsolete by the Internet. Apparently they still exist in the social sciences¹², but I fail to find any in physics or any field sufficiently close to it that it would contain abstracts from a physics journal.

I am curious: Do abstracting journals still exist (in the natural sciences) or are the quoted passages a historical relic?

To clarify, I am not interested in journals that have gone the way of the times and morphed into online databases. I am interested in journals that are available in print or at least are in a format that could be straightforwardly printed.

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    Not a science, but Mathscinet and zbMath are still both alive and well - they have morphed into online databases but still publish reviews of every mathematics paper. Commented Jun 22 at 15:45
  • @AlexanderWoo For an example of an abstracting journal in a natural science that has morphed into a database there is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_Abstracts
    – Anyon
    Commented Jun 22 at 15:46
  • @Anyon: That brings up an important distinction. I clarified that I am not interested in such cases. In fact, online databases are the reason why I presume that classical abstract journals have died.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jun 22 at 16:05
  • @Wrzlprmft - most journals are pretty much just online databases now, with a thin veneer of ‘issues’ overlaid on top. Making a clunky printed abstract journal into a useful database should not be held against them.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jun 22 at 16:12
  • @JonCuster: Making a clunky printed abstract journal into a useful database should not be held against them. – Absolutely. I am not interested in true™ abstracting journals because I consider them to be a great thing to have nowadays. I am interested because of the quotes in question, and those mention abstracting journals, not online databases. (Moreover, they use these as arguments against citations in abstracts, which are much less of a problem when you have an Internet where you can just follow a link.)
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jun 22 at 16:37

1 Answer 1

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  1. While not exactly the same as abstracting journals, something very similar exists in mathematics: Mathematical Reviews and Zentralblatt. They publish either abstracts of math papers or (sometimes informative) reviews of math papers and books. In some cases, reviewers even find mistakes in papers that they review and warn readers about these.

  2. Also, in Russian, there is Реферативный журнал which serves a similar purpose covering many areas of science, including math, physics, computer science.

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    Can you provide some more details on these cases, in particular for Реферативный журнал? Are they available in print (or a similar format)? What is Реферативный журнал similar to, an abstracting journal or MR/Zentralblatt? Does it publish abstracts?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jun 22 at 16:08
  • @Wrzlprmft Yes, it exists in both print and electronic form. Yes, it is similar to MR/ZBL: Mostly what it publishes are just abstracts, but sometimes (or, rather, seldom) reviews. I know at least one instance (long time ago) when a reviewer spotted a mistake in a book under review. Commented Jun 22 at 16:29

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