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 x2 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.

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The American Journal of Surgery
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Meijer, V.E, Knops, S.P, van Dongen, J.A, Eyck, B.M, & Vles, W. (2016). The fate of research abstracts submitted to a national surgical conference: A cross-sectional study to assess scientific impact. The American Journal of Surgery, 211(1), 166–171. doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2015.06.017