Background: Abstracts accepted at scientific meetings are often not subsequently published. Data on publication rates are largely from subspecialty and surgical studies. Objective: The aims of this study were to 1) determine publication rates of abstracts presented at a general internal medicine meeting; 2) describe research activity among academic general internists; 3) identify factors associated with publication and with the impact factor of the journal of publication; and 4) evaluate for publication bias. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Participants: All scientific abstracts presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine 2009 Annual Meeting. Main Measures: Publication rates were determined by searching for full-text publications in MEDLINE. Data were abstracted regarding authors’ institution, research topic category, number of study sites, sample size, study design, statistical significance (p value and confidence interval) in abstract and publication, journal of publication, publication date, and journal impact factor. Key Results: Of the 578 abstracts analyzed, 274 (47.4%) were subsequently published as a full article in a peer-reviewed journal indexed in MEDLINE. In a multivariable model adjusting for institution site, research topic, number of study sites, study design, sample size, and abstract results, publication rates for academic general internists were highest in the areas of medical education (52.5%, OR 5.05, 95% CI 1.57–17.25, reference group Veterans Affairs (VA)-based research, publication rate 36.7%), mental health/substance use (67.7%, OR 4.16, 95% CI 1.39–13.06), and aging/geriatrics/end of life (65.7%, OR 3.31, 95% CI 1.15–9.94, p = 0.01 across topics). Publication rates were higher for multicenter studies than single-institution studies (52.4% vs. 40.4%, OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.10–2.52, p = 0.04 across categories). Randomized controlled trials had higher publication rates than other study designs (66.7% vs. 45.9%, OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.30–5.94, p = 0.03 across study designs). Studies with positive results did not predict higher publication rates than negative studies (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.6–1.31, p = 0.21). Conclusions: This study demonstrated that 47.4% of abstracts presented at a general internal medicine national conference were subsequently published in a peer-reviewed journal indexed in MEDLINE.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine