Karen McKee
Karen McKee

One of the most important parts of a scientific article is the abstract. Successful authors put substantial effort into crafting their abstracts, which act like advertisements for their papers.


Unfortunately, some authors fail to understand how important a good abstract is to the success of their scientific article. That was one of my problems when I first began writing technical papers. Like many novices, I treated the abstract as an afterthought. I left the abstract until the last minute and then dashed off a mediocre summary composed of sentences copied from the narrative. Only much later did I understand that the abstract is one of the most important components of a scientific paper.

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Why is the abstract so important? Well, because it is often the only section of a paper that is read and usually determines whether a reader downloads and reads the rest of the paper. Or, in the case of a conference paper, the abstract will determine whether it is accepted or not for presentation to colleagues. Conference organizers and journal editors and reviewers pay close attention to the abstract because it is a good predictor of the quality of the paper or talk. A poorly written abstract says the author is inexperienced or doesn’t care about quality.


Writing a decent abstract is not difficult—if you know what information needs to be included and how to structure it. If you’ve never written an abstract before, you may be uncertain about what exactly goes into one. Essentially, an abstract should reflect all the parts of your paper, but in shortened form. In other words, a person reading only your abstract should be able to understand why you conducted the study, how you conducted it, what you found, and why your work is important. In general, avoid the novice’s cut-and-paste approach when crafting your abstract and instead write a unique, standalone summary. Although inclusion of data is acceptable, report only those numbers that represent the most important information. Some authors include citations or URLs in their abstracts, but many journals discourage or prohibit such additions. Be sure to stay within the word limit, which most journals and conferences set for abstracts.


Let’s now consider how to structure your abstract. Some journals or conferences provide a template that specifies four or five sections, e.g., Background or Aim, Question, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. If so, then follow those instructions. If not, then the four-part structure provided below will serve as a basic guideline. If you follow this formula, your abstract will be well organized and will contain all the essential elements. There are four main parts in which you need to answer the following questions:


1. What problem did you study and why is it important? Here, you want to provide some background to the study, the motivation behind the study, and/or the specific question or hypothesis you addressed. You may be able to set the stage with only one or two sentences, but sometimes it takes a longer description. You’ll have to use your best judgment here as to how much to say in this first section.


2. What methods did you use to study the problem? Next, you want to give an overview of your methods. Was it a field study or a laboratory experiment? What experimental treatments were applied? Generally, you want to keep the methods section brief unless it is the focus of the paper.


3. What were your key findings? When describing your results, strive to focus on the main finding(s) and list no more than two or three points. Also, avoid ambiguous or imprecise wording, which is a common mistake found in conference abstracts written before the data have been completely collected or analyzed. If your data are incomplete or still being analyzed, you are not ready to present your paper.


4. What did you conclude based on these findings and what are the broader implications? The conclusions section is where you want to drive home the broader implications of your study. What is new or innovative about the findings? How do your findings affect the field of study? Are there any applications? In writing this section, however, don’t state sweeping generalizations unsupported by the data or say that insights “will be discussed”.


Another important consideration in preparing an abstract is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which means including search terms people are likely to use when looking for papers on your topic. In addition to including such terms in the title and keyword field of your paper, you want to repeat those terms contextually throughout the abstract. Such repetition is used by search engines to rank an online document. By optimizing your abstract for discovery by search engines, you can raise the ranking of your paper in a search and make it easier for colleagues to find.


A final point is that some journals are now encouraging or requiring “enhanced abstracts” such as graphical abstracts or video abstracts. Although such abstracts include additional visual components, the same basic guidelines I’ve covered in this post still apply. All good abstracts recapitulate the paper and contain the four key parts listed above.


Writing good abstracts is not an art, but a learned skill. Developing such a skill takes practice. Here is an exercise to help you develop this skill. Pick a scientific article in your field. Read the paper with the abstract covered. Then try to write an abstract based on your reading. Compare your abstract to the author’s. Repeat until you feel confident. If you’ve not yet published a paper, this exercise will help you hone the skills necessary to write a concise and informative abstract.


If you would like to view a presentation that summarizes the points in this post and uses a published abstract to illustrate, see this link.


Image credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/Getty Images

    Charlotte Walton
Charlotte Walton
Library Services, Wiley

Finding the time and resources to support researchers through the publishing process isn’t always easy. Each author and article is unique, and requires different levels of support from you and your library.


Here are five things you can do to help your researchers find all the support available to guide them through their publishing journey – from writing the paper, to selecting a journal, peer review and promoting their published work. You can share these resources with researchers via platforms like social media or email.122405277.jpg


     1.     Encourage researchers to listen to publishing webinars

Make sure your researchers know about Wiley’s free webinar channel. Here they can listen to helpful presentations from Wiley Editors, including tips about common mistakes and how to avoid them. They can engage in live Q&A’s with editors, and learn how to navigate the publishing process. All the webinars are available on-demand, so authors can access publishing advice from leading editors and industry experts at any time, helping them develop the skills they need to publish their next article.


     2.     Direct them to Wiley Author Services


Wiley Author Services is a great resource for researchers offering content to support them through each step of the publishing process, including a promotional toolkit for when their paper is published. Here they’ll find various training tools, videos and other visual assets. There are also links to journal submission sites and author guidelines.


     3.     Promote relevant and interesting articles


If you’re reading this then you’ve already found The Wiley Network - a blog site where authors can hear from editors, researchers, societies and librarians on a wide range of different issues and topics. They can read articles about the latest industry developments, the future of scholarly research, and find practical advice for negotiating all stages of the publication journey.


You can help your researchers by tweeting or sharing relevant stories and encouraging them to register for email alerts. They can personalize what they see based on interest or just browse to see the latest articles, and engage with other authors. Here are a few to start sharing with your researchers:


     4.     Follow and retweet @wileyresearcher


If you don’t already do so, then you can follow @wileyresearcher on Twitter. Keep up to date with all the latest news, resources, interesting articles, and retweet any items of interest to your researchers. E.g. tweet about webinars, helpful blogs, and relevant researcher events.


     5.     Advise researchers who need it, to access language and editing services


There should be no barriers to getting your research published but English language and formatting issues are one of the most common reasons for the rejection of manuscripts. Wiley offers English language editing, translation, and manuscript formatting services, and can offer non-English speakers expert help to ensure their manuscript is ready for submission. You can support your researchers by letting them know that help is available, and making it easy for them to find.


Share these resources where your researchers are most likely to find them – on Twitter, Facebook, or by email. By doing these five things you can guide your researchers to free, helpful online content where they can learn and develop the skills required to publish their next paper with confidence.

Image Credit: Getty Images


    The Wiley Network
The Wiley Network
The Wiley Network

As Benjamin Franklin, founder of one of the earliest lending libraries in America, once said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Fortunately for all of us, academic and research libraries (ARLs) are apparently not finished just yet. At least, they are not finished according to the NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition. In this report education and technology experts identify six trends they predict will influence technology-related decision-making by academic and research libraries over the next five years, as they evolve into the libraries of the future.


The Report is produced by the NMC Horizon Project, an effort founded in 2002 to study technological developments expected to significantly impact education-related institutions (i.e., schools, libraries and museums). This is the third library-related report the organization has issued and, as with the Project’s earlier library-related reports, the trends identified in the 2017 edition are projections arising from an examination of current and ongoing organizational changes within academic and research libraries worldwide. After an exhaustive review of technology-impacting trends, the Horizon Project team selected what they determined to be the two most impactful trends over each of three projected time frames: short-, mid-, and long-term.




Short-Term Trends are those considered to be currently driving technology adoption in academic and research libraries but which are expected to become either commonplace or to fade in importance over the next one to two years. For this time frame, the two trends considered the most impactful by the Project’s experts include Research Data Management and Valuing the User Experience.


     1. Libraries taking on Research Data Management


While libraries have traditionally played two primary functions—providing patrons with access to data and providing support for data research efforts—rapidly expanding capabilities for generating and storing data have resulted in ARLs adopting a third role: Research Data Management (RDM). As applied here, RDM includes both of the traditional roles ARLs have played while adding an increased emphasis on implementing appropriate and needed storage and retrieval systems. With more numerous data formats being utilized (including digital, graphics and A/V formats), new policies, procedures and processes are being developed to address issues from data generation and curation to safeguarding privacy.


     2. Valuing the User Experience


Just as Google and Amazon and other companies have developed user-data-driven processes to provide increasingly personalized services to their customers, so ARLs have recognized the importance of continually improving their patrons’ interactions with their libraries. In response, ARLs are developing practices, processes and technologies designed to improve patron interactions, whether these involve library computer systems, signage, use of space, or any other aspect of the patrons’ touchpoints with library resources and staff. The results from these efforts might range from the implementation of search engines that provide more personally tailored search results to the addition of digital displays throughout facilities that direct patrons to available seating.



Mid-Term Trends are those expected to become increasingly vital in driving technology adoption over the next several years and to have their greatest impact on decision-making over the next 3-5 years. The two most impactful trends discussed in the Report for this time frame include Patrons as Creators and Rethinking Library Spaces.


3. Patrons as Creators


In recent years pedagogical practices in higher education have begun to incorporate hands-on and other experiential learning to a much greater degree. This development reflects greater societal trends that we popularly recognize in the form of crowd-funding endeavors or you-tube videos, and so on. Simply put, people are increasingly learning by making and doing rather then by simply consuming content. In response to this trend, ARLs are evolving into providers of creation-enabling technologies in addition to their traditional roles. For example, libraries are increasingly introducing “makerspaces” within their facilities which include technologies such as 3D printers and video and audio tools that support creative activities by patrons.


     4. Rethinking Library Spaces


This trend is closely associated with the Patrons as Creators trend. With the advent of the internet, students and other researchers are much less dependent on ARLs as primary providers of source materials. Rather, most researchers begin their data searches online and libraries are increasingly seen primarily as resources where scholars can find conditions conducive to productivity and/or where they can meet with others to work on creative projects collaboratively. In response, ARLs are looking closely at how library spaces can best be utilized to service these evolving patron needs. For example, some libraries have begun identifying specific spaces as collaborative work studios and have begun equipping such spaces with technologies supportive of collaborative creative endeavors. The result might include classroom space with flexible display screens set up to facilitate teleconferencing, or studios equipped with media production technologies, and so on.


Long-Term Trends are trends seen as currently impacting technology adoption decisions and which are predicted to continue to do so for the next five years and more. The Horizon Project’s two most impactful trends over this timeframe include Cross-Institution Collaboration and the Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record.


     5. Cross-Institution Collaboration


With the increasing digitalization of data (including text, visual and audio) comes the opportunity for academic and research libraries to share content virtually instantaneously. This, combined with tightening budgets and other social trends towards resource-sharing efficiencies, has resulted in ever stronger collaborative efforts among ARLs. Libraries have begun joining together to share ever larger digital collections, allowing them to provide patrons with access to greater research resources. By sharing patron usage data, they are increasingly enabled to develop technology strategies that better respond to patron needs. Working together on a worldwide basis, for example, they can do a better job of identifying and supporting broad academic and pedagogical trends such as the ascension of “hands-on” learning in academia.


     6. Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record


The advent of the internet has moved scholarship away from a print-based and hard copy print-distribution model to an electronic publishing and distribution process. This has sped up and changed the peer-review process in significant ways. Whereas in the past the slower print-based review process provided substantial safeguards against the distribution of faulty research efforts, for example, the new digital publishing reality will mandate that libraries evolve in terms of how they accept, validate, curate and disseminate research materials going forward. One emerging ARL initiative to help address this trend includes developing advocacy groups that promote open access and open peer review approaches to scholarly submissions.


In addition to these six trends affecting ARL technology adoption, the Report also discusses technology challenges libraries face as well as opportunities further technological developments may bring. We will discuss these challenges and opportunities in upcoming posts, so stay tuned! Coming up next month: Six Challenges Impeding Academic and Research Library Technology Adoption.


Permission is granted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license to replicate, copy, distribute, transmit, or adapt this report freely provided that attribution is provided as illustrated in the citation below. To view a copy of this license, visit us here.



Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Ananthanarayanan, V., Langley, K., and Wolfson, N. (2017). NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition. Austin, Texas:The New Media Consortium.

    Kelly Neubeiser
Kelly Neubeiser
Author Marketing, Wiley

If you’re new to publishing, the whole process may seem daunting- there is so much to consider before you even submit your paper for consideration! We’ve put together the following infographic which lists some tips and tools available to help you navigate the pre-publication journey. You can find these tools, as well as further information and advice on different stages of publication, on our journal authors resources pages here.

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     Chris Graf
Chris Graf
Director, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics, Wiley

These two infographics from our Registered Reports Toolkit explain what this innovation in peer review is all about, and why researchers – whether acting as authors, readers, journal editors or society leaders – should give them a try. And here they are, below! Also, check-out our interview with David Mellor from the Center for Open Science: “8 Answers About Registered Reports, Research Preregistration, and Why Both Are Important” over here. In that article is a link to the list, curated by Center for Open Science, of journals that offer researchers Registered Reports.


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    Anna Ehler
Anna Ehler
Society Marketing

In this episode of the Wiley Society Podcast we talked to two Wiley editors, Helen Dickinson and Janine O’Flynn. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we asked them about their experiences as successful women in academia and how societies and associations can help to improve gender parity in research fields.





Helen Dickinson

Helen is Associate Professor Public Service Research and Director of the Public Service Research Group at the School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra. Her expertise is in public services, particularly in relation to topics such as governance, leadership, commissioning and priority setting and decision-making.  Helen has published sixteen books and over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics and is also a frequent commentator within the mainstream media.  She is co-editor of the Journal of Health, Organization and Management and Australian Journal of Public Administration. In 2015 Helen was made a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and she has worked with a range of different levels of government, community organizations and private organizations in Australia, UK, New Zealand and Europe on research and consultancy programs.




Janine O’Flynn

Janine is Professor of Public Management and Director of Education at the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Government. Her expertise is in public management, with a particular focus on reform and relationships. This covers topics as diverse as the creation and evolution of public service markets to the design of performance management systems. Her latest work explores the intersection of public service markets and morality. Since 2015 she has been an editor of the Australian Journal of Public Administration and she sits on the editorial boards of several journals in the field including: Public Administration Review; Public Administration; International Journal of Public Administration; Canadian Public Administration; Teaching Public Administration; Journal of Management & Organization; and Policy Design and Practice.



Listen to the previous episode: In a time of change, what makes societies strong?


You can listen to this episode and others – including our conversation with Jesse Wiley about the future of societies – by going to

iTunes and subscribing to the Wiley Society Podcast.


Image Credit: Shutterstock


Samantha Green
Samantha Green
Community Marketing, Wiley

Whether they are philosophers, biologists, nurses, or engineers, members need the same things from their society: an opportunity to advance their career, connect with others in the community, and access to the latest content.


But do discipline differences tell us how to get the best member engagement possible?


How do members in your field engage with research?

We know from the overall survey segment that people are most likely to be members if they engage with research frequently. Building a learning community around the research published in your journals can help encourage authors and readers to become members.




How do members in your field engage with your society?

Professional needs vary across disciplines, which means that the impact of engagement strategies will also differ. For example, members in clinical medicine or health sciences are more likely to pursue certifications through society membership, whereas those in business, life sciences, and social sciences are less likely.



*Note: If discipline not listed, then there are no significant differences between the discipline and the averages across all disciplines.


Reading publications and attending conferences are core engagement activities for many societies. Though individuals in some disciplines are less likely than the average to engage in them, they remain the activities in which members across all disciplines most frequently engage.

Opportunities like social media or webinars are currently less frequently utilized in some fields over others. Building up these new types of activities can help create a robust digital engagement strategy that is as meaningful as the in-person engagement at conferences.


Why do members in your field join a society?

Across all disciplines, members join societies for similar reasons: content, community, and career. But some disciplines might be more focused on one over the others.



*Note: If discipline not listed, then there are no significant differences between the discipline and the averages across all disciplines.



These differences are more likely to represent differences in the professional lives of society members, rather than their willingness to engage with other members or society content. Bearing these variations in mind can help ensure that the things that matter most when members join are the areas of focus for ongoing society strategy.


How likely are members in your field to recommend societies to others?

Peer recommendation is an important aspect of growing any community. Potential members want to be part of a network that is filled with people they trust.



The above chart represents the Net Promoter Score (NPS) score for each discipline, which are all very positive and represent an impassioned community.

Across the full range of disciplines represented in the survey, peer recommendation is a strong indicator of an engaged community. Members are most likely to recommend others join if the mission resonates with them. Making sure that communications are authentic and focused on the mission can help ensure that members become ambassadors for your society.


Members are more alike across disciplines than they are different. Differences in member motivation most commonly mirror differences in professional fields. More than anything, members want a meaningful experience that helps advance their career and helps them to be part of something bigger than themselves and helps society as a whole.


    Claire O'Neill
Claire O'Neill
Library Services, Wiley

Scholarly societies and related institutions around the world are home to extensive archive collections, many of which have yet to be explored by today’s researchers. Methodical digitization of these historic original sources is critical to both their preservation and their integration into everyday research.


Now, these scholarly institutions are beginning to form strategic partnerships to enable the discovery and accessibility of their archive collections, revitalizing integral evidence of the scholarly record.


So how do these materials go from the remote physical archives to being a click away at a university library?


Check out the infographic below to see how we boil down the extensive process into five core steps.



To learn more about archive collections, visit wileydigitalarchives.com.


Download the eBook, Making Historical Collections Accessible, to learn more about the digitization of primary sources.


    Helen Eassom
Helen Eassom
Author Marketing

In last weeks’ blog post, we looked at some of the most common reasons behind the rejection of manuscripts, but what if you’re on the receiving end of a rejection? Peer review is about making your paper the best it can possibly be, but if your paper has been rejected, knowing this doesn’t make it any easier. However, it’s very common for papers to be rejected; studies have shown that around 21% of papers are rejected without review, while approximately 40% of papers are rejected after peer review.

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So, what are your options if your manuscript is rejected? If your paper was rejected without review due to it falling outside the aims and scopes of the journal, you should find a new journal to submit to (find tips on choosing the right journal for you here). If you receive your rejection after review, you should have some good suggestions about possible improvements you could make to your paper. Some of the options you might want to consider include:


1. Make the recommended changes and resubmit your manuscript to the same journal.

If you’d like to publish in a particular journal, and the editor has indicated that they will accept your paper if revisions are made, then this is probably your best option. However, if your paper was rejected outright and the editor doesn’t want to reconsider, you should respect this decision and submit elsewhere.


2. Make changes and submit your manuscript to a different journal.

First, take into account any recommendations you may have received during the first round of review, and if necessary, work on improving your manuscript before submitting it to another journal. Don’t forget to adjust any details such as the cover letter, referencing, and any other journal specific details before submission to a different journal.


3. Make no changes and submit your manuscript to a different journal. This is an easy option, but one that you should probably avoid. To begin with, any suggestions made during the first round of review could lead to improvements in your paper; not taking these suggestions into account would be missing the opportunity to increase your chance of acceptance at the next journal. Secondly, there is the possibility that your manuscript may be assessed by the same reviewers at the new journal (especially if you work within a niche field). Their recommendation is unlikely to change if you haven’t addressed any of the concerns raised in the previous review.


4. Discard the manuscript and never resubmit it. You might decide that it’s not worth the trouble of resubmitting your manuscript, but remember that your work is still valuable. It may be that the data you have collected is useful to someone else, or that your paper could help another researcher avoid generating similar negative results. You could consider posting your paper to sites such as figshare or Dryad, where it will be both accessible for others and citable.


5. Appeal the decision. If you feel that the decision to reject was unfair, or there were major flaws in the review process, then as the author you have the right to appeal. Most journals will have a publicly described policy for appealing editorial decisions. It’s important to remember that, as much as rejection hurts, your decision to appeal should be based on logic rather than emotion.


You should appeal if you believe that any misconduct has taken place, or a legitimate misunderstanding or error that has led to the decision to reject your work. Make it clear to the editor why you are appealing the decision and be careful not to use emotive, combative language. If your work has been rejected based on the scope of the journal, or its perceived impact, then appeals are unlikely to be successful.


What steps have you taken after an article rejection? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Image Credit/Source: eternalcreative/Getty Images


    Claire O'Neill
Claire O'Neill
Library Services, Wiley

Archives can offer deep and meaningful insights, not only for a particular subject, but for an entire field of study. This holds true for the archives of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) which illustrate the history of not only various indigenous groups and cultures, but also of the study of anthropology itself.


In the exclusive “behind the scenes” video  below, one of the world’s most renowned archives, Anthropologist Christopher Pinney and Sarah Walpole, Archivist and Photo Curator for RAI, delve into the archives to illuminate specific examples of some of the preserved collections that they are passionate about.



Up close and personal


As the author of Photography and Anthropology, Pinney is particularly focused on the relationship between anthropology and photography.


Thumbing through a collection of historic materials, Pinney introduces Edward Horace Mann, a colonial officer in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, who took numerous photographs of the natives he met. But perhaps the most curious part of this collection is an anonymously hand-drawn image of E.H. Mann himself, huddled under the camera curtain as the subjects of his photograph stood against a tree.


This drawing, mixed in with formal images, “suddenly startles viewers by the presence of an image coming from a completely different viewpoint, an indigenous viewpoint, in a different medium.”


This is one of the experiences that’s unique to examining primary sources, as interaction with original materials allows for a more visceral understanding of the historical context.


Memorial or Ruin? Anthropology in evolution


As Pinney examines photographs of one Pygmy man covered in measurement tape, it’s impossible not to reflect on the progress of anthropology as a field—and of the world itself. The image evokes the primitive interpretations of Darwin’s evolutionary theories, marking the “shuttering to a halt of the institution’s collecting of anthropometric images.”


In fact, a new anthropology was in the making, and these photos serve both as a memorial of the Pygmies as an ethnic group, as well as a ruin of an obsolete method of practicing anthropology. This broad shift would steep anthropology in fieldwork rather than decontextualization and ultimately alter the way researchers interact with research subjects.


For Men’s Eyes Only


In what may be the most elucidating indication of how times have changed, Sarah Walpole handles an envelope marked “Central Australia Men’s Ceremony – Men Only to View,” as part of a box containing famous photographs of the last of the Tasmanians, an ethnic group that is now extinct. Walpole respects this and does not look at its contents, demonstrating the archivist’s deep respect for not just the archived materials, but also reverence towards the original authors.


Walpole’s inability to view some of the contents of RAI’s archives demonstrates one of the daily challenges archivists face; she must honor the wishes of those who created the materials and treat each item with the utmost care. This also depicts the value of the collections and their critical role in preserving the culture and practices of otherwise unknown societies.


The Challenges – and Rewards – of Archivists Today


As Walpole navigates the RAI archives, she must wade through boxes, shelves, drawers, and closets, each housing different collections and different types of materials. These moments demonstrate the difficulty of accessing and using these materials in everyday research—not only must you know what you’re looking for, but you must also know where to find it.


Archivists and anthropologists devote their days to preserving and respecting collections of primary sources, and they play an instrumental role in the introduction of archives into everyday research. Thus, these professionals are the reason that these materials are not ruins or evidence of destruction, but instead become memorials for civilizations, people, and places that, although perhaps no longer exist, still have the power to transcend the restraints of time.


Continue the Conversation


Sarah Walpole, Archivist and Photo Curator at the Royal Anthropological Institute, will be discussing RAI’s archive collection and the importance of digitization in Denver this February at the ALA Midwinter Conference.


The archive collection from the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland will be digitized and available on Wiley Digital Archives this spring. Sign up for a personal demonstration of Wiley Digital Archives during the ALA Midwinter Conference here.


Download the eBook, Making Historical Collections Accessible, to learn more about the digitization of primary sources.

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