Background: Accuracy of abstracts representing original research articles is imperative since these are readily available and biomedical literature readers may not have access to the full-text article. Furthermore, previous reports document discrepancies in published original research abstracts compared with the full-text article.
Objective: To determine the accuracy of abstracts for original research articles published in nationally represented, widely circulated pharmacy-specific journals (American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, The Consultant Pharmacist, Hospital Pharmacy, Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy) from June 2001 through May 2002.
Methods: Outcome measures included an omission, defined as data in the abstract not located in the article. In addition, abstracts were considered deficient if these included an omission, inaccurate factual (i.e., qualitative and quantitative) information presented in the abstract that differed from information contained within the text, an inconsistency in following the "Instructions for Authors" for the respective journal, or a discrepancy between the placement of text in the manuscript and a structured abstract.
Results: A total of 243 abstracts for original research articles were published in selected journal issues. Evaluation of these abstracts identified 60 (24.7%) abstracts containing omissions; 81 (33.3%) abstracts contained either an omission or inaccuracy. A total of 147 (60.5%) abstracts were classified as deficient.
Conclusions: Results of this analysis demonstrate that improvements are needed within abstracts for original research articles published in pharmacy-specific journals. Authors and peer reviewers should analyze the abstract contents closely to ensure that the abstract accurately represents the full-text article.