Introduction Abstract presentations at scientific meetings allow rapid dissemination of novel research and enables peer review before submission for publication. Not all abstracts are subsequently published in peer reviewed journals. The likelihood of subsequent full publication of abstracts from other medical specialty meetings has been reported to range widely from 11–78%. Full publication is important and for the aspiring trainee enhances there CV. However it may be difficult to publish a negative study, with service review papers also suggested to be less likely to achieve full publication. This study evaluates the rate of BSG abstracts subsequently published in full over a 15-year period and the time duration between meeting and full publication.
Methods All abstracts presented at the BSG between 1994 and 2008 were assessed in Nov 2012. This ensured a 4 year period had elapsed since the last meeting included this study, a previously reported upper limit timescale of full publication of an abstract after a meeting. PUBMED and EMBASE databases were reviewed using cross-referencing of first author, senior author and at least one key word from the abstract title. Abstracts and possible full publications were then examined in tandem to ensure they represented the same study. Full publication rates and lag time were then compared between meetings, with an unpaired t test used to compare means and categorical data compared using a X2 test.
Results In order to provide comparable year on year data, outcomes of abstracts presented in the spring and autumn meetings of 1994 and 1995 were combined. Over the 15-year period the number of abstracts presented ranged from 578 – 330 but this did not vary significantly between years. However, the number (n = 323 – n = 91) and percentage (55.9% –20.4%) of abstracts presented that went on to full publication fell year on year (r = –0.74; p = 0.002 and r = –0.83; p = < 0.001 respectively). Comparing lag times between meeting and full publication at the start of the study period in 1994 (mean 23.0 months: SD 15.04) and at the end in 2008 (mean 19.6 months: SD 9.2), this was significantly longer (p = 0.014 unpaired t test). Service development abstracts had a conversion rate to full publication of 6.9% (8/116) between 2004–2008, which was significantly lower than the 23.1% (525/2268) conversion rate identified for all abstracts submitted to the BSG during the same period (p < 0.0001)
Conclusion This study demonstrates that the number of abstracts that go on to achieve full publication at the BSG has fallen with a significant trend. Whilst improvements are identified in the time to full publication, the decline in BSG abstract output to full publication may reflect declining research activity within the UK gastroenterology community.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared