Publication Rates of Oral Abstract Presentations at the 2014 International Congress of The Transplantation Society

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The International Congress of the Transplantation Society (ICTS) serves as a forum for leaders and physicians to come together to discuss current and innovative research in the field of transplant medicine. Because of the increasing annual number of transplantation procedures taking place nationwide, it is imperative that research is published.1 Implications of unpublished research are far-reaching and can possibly result in harm to patients, implementation of redundant studies, increased research waste, and a lack of important results being included in systematic reviews.2 Our study was intended to determine the publication rate of oral abstract presentations from the 2014 ICTS conference and to identify the journals publishing these abstracts as well as the most common reasons for nonpublication.
Six hundred eighty-nine oral abstracts from the 2014 ICTS conference were searched using Google, Google Scholar, and PubMed to identify whether they reached publication. To be considered published, an abstract had to use the same or similar title and list similar authors. Demographic information (eg, sample size) was also used to positively identify an abstract as published. If the primary investigator could not find a publication, a second investigator confirmed unpublished work. If a publication could not be found by either investigator, an email was sent to an author listed on the abstract to ask if the abstract had been published. Published abstracts were surveyed for time from presentation to publication and the journal of publication. If an abstract was not published, authors were asked for the reason for nonpublication.
Of the 689 oral abstracts presented, 366 (53.1%) reached publication. An average of 12.4 months elapsed from presentation to publication. Liver abstracts (79/137, 57.7%) were published most often, followed by kidney abstracts (185/352, 52.6%). The American Journal of Transplantation (75/366, 20.5%) and Transplantation (59/366, 16.1%) were the most common journals of publication. Overall, the mean impact factor of journals publishing ICTS abstracts was 6.0, and 184 (50.3%) of the 366 published abstracts were featured in journals with an impact factor of 4 or higher. After questioning researchers on reason for nonpublication, the most common included studies being in review or under revision (29 responses, 43.9%), incomplete or ongoing (17 responses, 25.8%), and not being completed because of a lack of time (16 responses, 24.2%).
With approximately 53% of abstracts being published, 2014 ICTS conference abstracts had a higher publication rate when compared with other studies. Scherer et al reported that 44.5% of oral abstracts presented at 79 major medical conferences reached publication.2 Furthermore, Durinka et al reported that oral and poster presentations from the 2009 American Transplant Congress meeting were published at a rate of 13.0%, whereas Weale et al determined that 35.6% of abstracts presented at the 2001 British Transplantation Society meeting went on to be published.3,4 Given the higher rate of publication, the selection committee seems to have adequately vetted abstract submissions and selected those with a higher likelihood for publication.
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