Webcasts provide immediate access to current research

April 1, 2005

Many radiologists would be surprised to learn that a lot of scientific material presented at meetings-a substantial majority of it, in fact-never makes it into the peer-reviewed journals.

Many radiologists would be surprised to learn that a lot of scientific material presented at meetings-a substantial majority of it, in fact-never makes it into the peer-reviewed journals.

A study presented at last year's RSNA meeting evaluated 217 scientific abstracts from the gastrointestinal sessions of the 2000 RSNA meeting. The researchers found that fewer than a third of the papers were eventually published in peer-reviewed journals, and the average lag time before publication was 1.5 years.

This is one reason we've expended so much effort in refining our coverage strategies for scientific meetings. We've described this process before: poring over abstracts, meeting to compare notes, designing schedules to assure that important topics and studies are covered. The procedure has grown more intense and exacting with the ability to move material rapidly from the meeting site, through an editing process, and to a Web site where it can be read by thousands-now and for years in the future.

We've already presented two meeting Webcasts this year: one from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting (available at diagnosticimaging.com/pacsweb/), and a second from the European Congress of Radiology (available at diagnosticimaging.com/ecr2005/). We expect to offer more Webcasts as the year progresses.

Is this material valuable? We think it's useful to have a sense of what's coming your way, and this is something Web publishing of meeting proceedings does very well. And, while it is not subjected to the rigors of peer review, a Webcast gives you a broader and more current look at the activity and research under way in medical imaging than is possible in print journals.

John C. Hayes is editor of Diagnostic Imaging