A survey of 22 atmospheric science journals shows that the number of published articles tripled in 30 years during 1965–95, so that it has become increasingly difficult to keep abreast of the literature. A total of 1642 peer-reviewed articles in the journals were categorized numerically in terms of features of the abstracts and the conclusions. Consistent differences were found between journals. Most journals are mediocre in terms of their reader-friendliness, with little or no improvement over recent decades. The abstract and/or the conclusions in many papers have become too long and too discursive, preventing the reader from making a rapid assessment of the papers' usefulness. These trends may retard atmospheric research. Therefore journal editors are urged to insist on some easy improvements.

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