Background: Many abstracts submitted to annual scientific meetings never come to full publication in peer-reviewed journals. The objective of this study was to determine factors associated with the fate of endoscopic research abstracts submitted to the annual scientific meeting of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).
Methods: All abstracts (n = 461) submitted to the annual meeting of the ASGE in May of 1994 were retrospectively reviewed. The following databases were searched for evidence of publication of abstracts in full-manuscript form: Medline, HealthSTAR, Current Contents, CINHAL, and Cancerlit. All abstracts were reviewed between May 4, 1998 and June 30, 1998. Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed to determine the association between abstract characteristics and acceptance for presentation at the meeting and for publication.
Results: Fifty-five percent (247/451) of submitted abstracts were accepted for presentation. In univariate analysis, pediatric studies, prospective studies, randomized studies, and studies from university-affiliated medical centers (UAMC), were more likely to be accepted for presentation (p < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, the variables: pediatric studies (p = 0.01), prospective studies (p = 0.005), randomized studies (p = 0.06), and studies from UAMC (p = 0.01) predicted acceptance of abstracts for presentation at the meeting. The overall publication rate was 25.1%. The publication rates 1, 2, 3, and 4 years after the meeting were 6.7%, 16.2%, 22.8%, and 25.1%, respectively. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis showed that accepted abstracts (p = 0.0003) studies reporting positive results (p = 0.0015), and studies from outside the United States (p = 0.036) were more likely to be published in manuscript form.
Conclusions: The overall publication rate of abstracts reporting endoscopic research is 25%, lower than that in any published report from other medical societies. Abstracts from the United States were less likely to be published in full-manuscript form. Although there was no positive outcome bias for acceptance of abstracts for presentation at the meeting, there was bias toward publication of statistically significant results. Further investigations are warranted to determine the variation in the publication of research results according to country of origin and to determine factors that hinder publication of GI endoscopic research in manuscript form.