Abstracting and indexing

Abstracting and indexing are two different ways of distilling content into an abbreviated form. An abstract is a summary of a document, whereas an index acts as a guide to it.

What is the difference between abstracting and indexing?

An abstracting database prepares a summary of the core content of documents to enable users to determine whether or not they need to read the entire text. An abstract is a shortened version of the original piece. They are often accessible via a subscription and will be on a particular subject, or selection of subjects.

An indexing service analyses the content of documents and provides a guide to the information contained in them. It will contain subject terms and headings while also describing the content and main themes. An indexed document also enables users to locate the original.

In essence, indexes provide entries which enable you to locate information, while abstracts summarize content while making sure that all the essential details are included.

What do indexes do?

  • Enable users to familiarize themselves with a document and decide if they need to explore it further 
  • Act as a selection guide to content
  • Are a tool for document analysis
  • Create a link between users and the creator of the original information
  • Save time – it is much easier for a user to find relevant information when it is indexed
  • Make the information widely available and easy to access
  • Act as in information retrieval tool for organizations such as libraries and archives

What do abstracts do?

  • Assist readers in deciding whether or not to read a full text
  • Enable users to note the important findings on a topic – abstracts contain complete bibliographic citations, so they are useful when it comes to writing up research
  • Allow librarians/readers to locate information quickly and to cross-reference
  • Save time because researchers can have a clear overview of a document without having to read the entire text

Key abstracting and indexing services

Taylor & Francis is dedicated to making the research we publish as widely discoverable as possible

That’s why we proactively work to ensure our publications are indexed in the most relevant abstracting and indexing services. You will find our material in the following: 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.

Web of Science

The Web of Science Core Collection is a trusted, high-quality, definitive resource for books, research journals & conference proceedings.

Taylor & Francis have over 2,100 journals listed in Web of Science, accounting for 15% of content in the social sciences index, more than any other publisher.


Scopus is an abstract & citation database offered by Elsevier which quickly finds relevant and authoritative research. Taylor & Francis have over 2,300 journals indexed in Scopus, 930 of which rank in the top 25%. What’s more, we have more journals listed in the ‘Education’ category than any other publisher.


MEDLINE is the U.S. National Library of Medicine® (NLM) premier bibliographic database that contains more than 26 million references to journal articles in life sciences with a concentration on biomedicine.

Taylor & Francis has over 360 journals indexed in Medline.


Taylor & Francis has 147 journals deposited in PubMed Central.

To further enhance discoverability of researchers work, Taylor & Francis also shares details about clinical trial registrations with PubMed.

Read our guidance on linking journal articles to clinical trials.


DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to open access, peer-reviewed journals. It covers more than 11,000 gold open access journals from 122 countries, in 74 languages, and over 300 subject areas where we have 156 fully open access journals.

As technology changes, we will continue to invest in making sure that the research we publish is preserved, continually checked and updated, preserving the existing body of knowledge for generations to come and making it accessible to all.