The fate of research abstracts submitted to a national surgical conference: a cross-sectional study to assess scientific impact

de Meijer, V. E., Knops, S. P., van Dongen, J. A., Eyck, B. M. & Vles, W. J., Jan-2016, In : American Journal of Surgery. 211, 1, p. 166-171 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

BACKGROUND: Conference abstracts often lack rigorous peer review, but potentially influence clinical thinking and practice. To evaluate the quality of abstracts submitted to a large surgical conference, presentation and publication rates were investigated to assess scientific impact.

METHODS: A Cross-sectional study of abstracts submitted to Dutch Surgical Society meetings from 2007 to 2012 was conducted. Presentation rates, publication rates in MEDLINE-indexed journals using PubMed Central database, and actuarial times to subsequent publication were investigated.

RESULTS: Of 2,174 submitted abstracts, 1,305 (60%) abstracts were accepted for presentation. Actuarial 1, 3, and 5-year publication rates were 22.4%, 62.2%, and 68.6% for presented abstracts, compared with 20.9%, 50.3%, and 57.7% for rejected abstracts, respectively (log-rank x(2) 23.728, df1, P < .001). Publications resulting from abstracts presented at the conference had a significantly higher mean (±standard error) impact factor (4.4 ± .2 vs 3.4 ± .1, P < .001), compared with publications from previously rejected abstracts.

CONCLUSIONS: We advocate critical appraisal of the use of findings of scientific abstracts and conference presentations. The 5-year abstract-to-publication ratio is proposed as a novel quality indicator to allow objective comparison between scientific meetings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2016


  • Abstracting and Indexing as Topic, Congresses as Topic, Cross-Sectional Studies, General Surgery, Humans, Journal Impact Factor, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Netherlands, Proportional Hazards Models, Publishing, Societies, Medical

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