Tag Archives: conferences

Publication Rate of Conference Abstracts

Conferences presentations and in the conference abstract books there are often gems and lots of pearls of useful information. I often blog live from conferences (eg here and here) or peruse abstract books looking for gems (eg here and here). The problem with conference abstracts can be the lack of detail on the study to judge it and they are not subject to the same scrutiny of peer review that a full journal publication is; so how much weight in the grand scheme of things should a conference abstract be given? They have to be interpreted in that context of the lack of detail and the lack of peer review. There are examples I have seen where the preponderance of evidence on a topic may be altered to be in a different direction if the unpublished conference abstracts were included or not included in that body of evidence under consideration. That is a worry. A large number of conference abstracts never make it to full publications, despite they being ‘gems’ and would be a valuable addition to the body of peer reviewed literature on that topic.

Way back in 1999, I published this that looked at the publication rates of abstracts presented at the main diabetes conferences in Australia, Europe and the USA. The rates were 26%, 49% and 53%. At that time, those figures were pretty consistent with other disciplines. My attention was just brought back to this by this recent publication in Foot & Ankle International which looked at the publication rates from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society meetings. They found it was 73.7% for podium presentations and 55.8% for posters. That is a bit better than the ~50% that I found and is often reported in the literature as a pretty typical publication rate reported.

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