Punctuation

Q. The most common paragraph in a scientific paper’s introduction is the last one: “The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: Section 1 will . . . ; section 2 will . . . ,” etc. Is it correct not to use a colon after follows, but rather a period? Using a period would allow us to change this long sentence into four or five sentences to cover all the remaining sections.

A. Although it’s not incorrect to use a period, a colon is conventionally used after “as follows.” Please see CMOS 17, 6.64 (Colons with “As Follows”). Further, a colon may introduce a series of sentences instead of just one phrase or clause (6.63, Lowercase or Capital Letter after a Colon).