Publication lags presentation at RSNA meeting

March 14, 2005

Only about a third of the scientific papers presented at the RSNA meeting are published within four years, and many papers never make it into print. These findings underscore the importance of attending the annual meeting, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Only about a third of the scientific papers presented at the RSNA meeting are published within four years, and many papers never make it into print. These findings underscore the importance of attending the annual meeting, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Stephania Rizzo, a research fellow at MGH, and colleagues evaluated 217 scientific abstracts presented in the gastrointestinal sessions at the 2000 RSNA meeting. They chose this year to allow enough time to elapse for subsequent publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The researchers logged in certain information for the abstracts:

  • name and number of imaging modalities

  • number of authors along with their continent

  • research grant support

  • type of research subjects (human, animal, or phantom)

  • number of patients recruited in clinical studies

  • paper presentation date

  • study outcome (positive or negative)

They then searched Medline to find the scientific papers that were published in indexed journals over the four-year period following the meeting. For each published paper, the researchers recorded journal name, study outcome (positive or negative), and date of publication. They performed a statistical analysis to determine the proportion of published papers and to assess factors having an impact on77 their publication.

Only 30% of the 217 scientific papers examined had been published: 22 in Radiology, 16 in the American Journal of Roentgenology, and the rest scattered among 15 journals, mostly in English, according to Rizzo. The average lag time for publication was 1.5 years.

"Interestingly, there was no significant difference between number of imaging modalities, continent of origin, type of research subjects, number of recruited subjects, and study outcome for published and unpublished papers," she said.

Studies in other specialties have found a similar low rate of published scientific abstracts, Rizzo said. Conversely, she said that about 13% of RSNA presentations are already published, despite regulations prohibiting prior publication.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

RSNA changes emphasis to attract global audience

RSNA tests tracking device at 2004 meeting