Use approved forms

Some technical, scientific, and industrial groups have adopted specific forms of abbreviations. Internal and terminal punctuation marks are often omitted. Carefully note such matters as punctuation, spacing, capitalization, and spelling. Many journals include a list of permitted abbreviations under Instructions to Authors. Commonly accepted lists appear in many places, including the Handbook of Current Medical Abbreviations (1998) and Medical Terms and Abbreviations (2002). See also Baron (1994), Campbell and Campbell (1995), Jablonsky (2004), and Leigh (1998).

The form and acceptability of abbreviations for dimensions, distances, time, degree, measures, and weights are particularly apt to vary somewhat from one publisher to another. Abbreviate these terms only when they follow numerals. (Note that SI metric measures are nearly always preferred, and usually required.)

In the reference list, abbreviate the journal names by the system used by your intended publisher. Examine recent issues, and check the journal's Instructions to Authors. Most biological and medical journals follow the abbreviations in the BIOSIS List of Serials (Biological Abstracts) or PubMed/MEDLINE (Index Medicus). These generally are available in the reference section of science libraries and online. The systems differ slightly from one another in both spelling and capitalization, but single-word titles (Science) are always spelled out in full.

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