The publication fate of abstracts presented at the Medical Library Association conferences
Keywords:publishing, congresses as topic, libraries, medical, health sciences librarians
Objective: We sought to determine how many abstracts presented at the 2012 and 2014 Medical Library Association (MLA) annual conferences were later published as full-text journal articles and which features of the abstract and first author influence the likelihood of future publication. To do so, we replicated a previous study on MLA conference abstracts presented in 2002 and 2003. The secondary objective was to compare the publication rates between the prior and current study.
Methods: Presentations and posters delivered at the 2012 and 2014 MLA meetings were coded to identify factors associated with publication. Postconference publication of abstracts as journal articles was determined using a literature search and survey sent to first authors. Chi-squared tests were used to assess differences in the publication rate, and logistic regression was used to assess the influence of abstract factors on publication.
Results: The combined publication rate for the 2012 and 2014 meetings was 21.8% (137/628 abstracts), which is a statistically significant decrease compared to the previously reported rate for 2002 and 2003 (27.6%, 122/442 abstracts). The odds that an abstract would later be published as a journal article increased if the abstract was multi-institutional or if it was research, specifically surveys or mixed methods research.
Conclusions: The lower publication rate of MLA conference abstracts may be due to an increased number of program or nonresearch abstracts that were accepted or a more competitive peer review process for journals. MLA could increase the publication rate by encouraging and enabling multi-institutional research projects among its members.
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