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Posters and Poster Presentations

Support for creating and presenting scholarly posters

Define the scope of your poster topic

Your message should be easy to convey in few words and usingIcon of scientific poster meaningful images or charts.  Keep your topic narrow and focused. A good poster is readable, legible, well organized and succinct.

When defining your poster topic, consider:

  • What is the main point/most interesting discovery from my research?
  • Can these findings be illustrated visually with charts, graphs, images or photos?
  • Will this information generate discussion?

Creative Commons licensed image from The Noun Project

Pay attention to detail

Where will you present your poster?

Each conference generally publishes a call for posters. Read the guidelines carefully and adhere to all requirements. These may include:

  • Word limits
  • Poster dimensions
  • Format (printed or digital poster)
  • Due dates for abstract and/or PDF of final poster
  • Requirements and costs for attending the conference

Write an excellent abstract

You may need to submit an abstract for your poster to get accepted. These are typically reviewed by the conference organizers or by peer reviewers. Plan for success using these steps:

1. Plan

  • Review the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter
  • If possible, review abstracts from previous years
  • Instructions often include: word limits; required components such as title, introduction, methods, results, conclusions; and formatting such as outline or paragraph form
  • Outline all relevant information before writing a first draft

2. Write

  • Keep in mind that your abstract is all the information the reviewer has
  • Make it interesting, easy to read and clear
  • Avoid jargon, acronyms and abbreviations
  • Use section headings to organize your content
  • Grammar and spelling are important

3. Review

  • Give yourself enough time to set aside your draft and come back to it
  • Review for clarity, revise and edit
  • All contributing authors should participate in writing and editing the abstract

4. Peer Review

  • Ask at least one valued peer or mentor to review your draft
  • Consider asking someone from outside your field as well
  • Request honest and specific feedback
  • Don't be afraid of feedback! It helps you improve

5. Edit

  • Incorporate peer feedback
  • Double check for clarity, spelling, grammar, word count
  • Eliminate unnecessary or repetitive words
  • All authors review before submitting

6. Submit

  • Plan ahead - allow plenty of time to submit the abstract before the deadline
  • Give yourself 30-60 minutes to upload and troubleshoot if needed

Understand your author rights

Some conferences publish the poster abstracts or full posters in a program or journal volume. Be aware of how your abstract or poster will be used by the conference. If you are asked to sign a copyright transfer form, be aware of your rights as the author.

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that you can use to modify your copyright transfer agreements with non-open access journal publishers. It allows you to select which individual rights out of the bundle of copyrights you want to keep, such as:

  • Distributing copies in the course of teaching and research,
  • Posting the article on a personal or institutional Web site, or
  • Creating derivative works.

See more here:

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