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Theme: Inclusion and Collaboration Theme: Inclusion and Collaboration

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Publishing Rates and Trends in Abstracts Presented at the American Association for Hand Surgery Annual Meeting: A five year review
Fernando Ovalle Jr., MD; Mitchell Peake, BS; Robert Maxwell Rotatori, BA; Christopher van Belle, MD; Ryan Gobble, MD
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Introduction While publication in a scientific journal allows researchers to reach a larger audience, presentation of an abstract at a scientific meeting provides a way for attendees to access more timely, though sometimes preliminary, knowledge of innovation within the field. Knowing not only the rate of conversion of presentations to peer-reviewed journal publications, but also other factors such as time to publication can serve as a mark of research quality. The aim of this study was to assess the publication conversion rate of abstracts presented at the American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS) annual conference over 5 years and examine variables related to publication.

Materials & Methods Abstract information from 2012 to 2016 was obtained from past AAHS annual meetings through the AAHS website, including both oral and poster presentations. PubMed and Google Scholar were used to conduct a comprehensive literature search for journal publications correlating with abstracts based on titles, authors, and key words. Variables studied included study type, time to publication, journal of publication, and country of origin.

Results 1135 abstracts were reviewed from the 5-year period, consisting of 535 oral presentations and 600 posters. 74% of presentations were from the United States and 26% were international. Overall, 532 articles (47%) were published. The publication conversion rate was 49% for oral presentations and 45% for posters. Publication rates for more recent abstracts presented in 2014-2015 (mean of 57%/year) increased compared to those from 2012-2013 (mean of 39%/year). Mean time to publication was 11 months with a median of 9 and maximum of 70 months. Most publications occurred within 1 year of presentation (61%) with almost all publications occurring within two years (87%). Authorship changes occurred in 43% of publications. The most common journals for publication were Journal of Hand Surgery (30%), Hand (21%), and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (7%).

Conclusion About half of all studies presented at the annual AAHS meeting ultimately become published, with similar rates between oral and poster formats. Although most are published within one year, many abstracts have longer publication delays and go through significant changes such as authorship changes. These factors underscore both the timeliness of knowledge presented at the meeting as well as the potential revisionary process needed for research to pass the journal peer-review process after presentation. Nevertheless, the publication conversion rate increased in more recent years, emphasizing the continued improvement of the scientific quality of presentations at the AAHS meeting.

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