Background and objectives: The annual meetings of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) and the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) are important peer-reviewed venues for family medicine academicians to present their research. However, a relatively small number of individuals actually hear each presentation. In order to permanently share their research with a large number of peers, these presenters need to take the next step and publish completed manuscripts. This study examined the frequency with which presentations at these meetings are eventually published.
Methods: All abstracts from the 1987 and 1988 meetings of NAPCRG and the PEER and research sections of STFM were followed by performing a Medline computer search for the presenting author. Publications that matched the presentations were identified, and information was recorded about the elapsed time between presentation and publication, and the journal where publication occurred.
Results: Just under half (48%) of all the presentations were published within 4 or 5 years. There was no difference between 1987 and 1988 presentations, nor between NAPCRG and the combined STFM presentations. However, 69% of STFM research presentations were published compared to 31% of the peer presentations (X2 = 20.6, df = 2, P < .001). The STFM research publications also tended to be in print sooner than other presentations. Fifty-six percent of the publications occurred in family practice journals, with Family Medicine and the Journal of Family Practice being the most common journals.
Conclusions: Approximately half of the presentations at STFM and NAPCRG annual meeting are published within 4 to 5 years. This is consistent with publication rates found for other specialty meetings. The reasons for not publishing are numerous and need to be better elucidated to help family medicine academicians complete the research loop and disseminate their findings to the scientific community.