Context.— It is not known whether peer review of research abstracts submitted
to scientific meetings influences subsequent attempts at publication.
Objective.— To determine why research submitted to a scientific meeting is not subsequently
published. We hypothesized that authors of abstracts rejected by a meeting
are less likely to pursue publication than those whose abstracts are accepted,
regardless of research quality.
Design and Participants.— Blinded review of abstracts submitted to a medical specialty meeting
in 1991 and not published as full manuscripts within 5 years. In 1996, authors
of 266 unpublished studies were asked to complete questionnaires.
Main Outcome Measures.— Submission of a full manuscript to a journal between 1991 and 1996;
failure to submit a manuscript to a journal because the investigator believed
it would not be accepted for publication.
Results.— A total of 223 (84%) of the unpublished investigators returned the questionnaire.
Only 44 (20%) had submitted manuscripts to a journal. Manuscript submission
was not associated with abstract quality (odds ratio [OR], 1.16; 95% confidence
interval [CI], 0.80-1.64), positive results (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.31-1.57),
or other study characteristics. Having an abstract accepted for presentation
at the meeting weakly predicted submission of a manuscript to a journal (OR,
1.88; 95% CI, 0.84-4.10). Authors of accepted abstracts were significantly
less likely to believe a journal would not publish their manuscript than were
authors of rejected abstracts (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.0001-0.61).
Conclusions.— Study characteristics do not predict attempts to publish research submitted
to a scientific meeting. Investigators whose research is rejected by a meeting
are pessimistic about chances for publication and may make less effort to