Peer review in publication: factors associated with the full-length publication of studies presented in abstract form at the annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making

Med Decis Making. 2008 Nov-Dec;28(6):938-42. doi: 10.1177/0272989X08327113. Epub 2008 Nov 17.


Background: : Many studies are presented at scientific meetings and are summarized in abstract form prior to their full-length publication. Publication rates of these studies may be an indicator in judging their quality.

Objectives: To determine the rate at which studies reported in an abstract form are subsequently published in full length and identify factors associated with publication success.

Methods: : All abstracts presented at the 25th Annual Meeting of SMDM in October 2003 were reviewed and assessed for subsequent publication in peer-reviewed journals through December 31, 2007. For each abstract we recorded the presenting author's affiliation, presentation mode, and country of origin. For published articles, we recorded the publication date, type of journal, and the journal's impact factor. We calculated the mean and median time from conference presentation to publication using a Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.

Results: : Of 239 presented abstracts, 64 (27%) were subsequently published in full-length, including 39% of podium, and 20% of poster presentations (P = 0.002). Mean and median times from presentation to publication were 20.5 and 19.0 months, respectively. There was no significant difference in mean publication lag for podium and poster presentations.

Conclusions: : A significant proportion of studies presented at the SMDM meeting are not published in full length. This failure to publish is substantially higher as compared with findings from other medical and biomedical meetings. A further study is needed to explore the reasons for this low publication rate and to compare the fate of SMDM meeting abstracts to those of similar conferences.

MeSH terms

  • Congresses as Topic*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Peer Review, Research*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Societies, Scientific