The publication fate of abstracts presented at the Medical Library Association conferences




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.

Author Biographies

Rachel J. Hinrichs, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Health Sciences Librarian

IUPUI University Library

Mirian Ramirez, Indiana University

Research Metrics Librarian

Ruth Lilly Medical Library

Mahasin Ameen, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Teaching and Learning Librarian

IUPUI University Library


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Original Investigation