Research article
Open Access

Publication Rates and Scholarly Output of a Medical Specialty State Chapter Student & Resident Abstract Competition

R. Logan Jones[1][a], Avital Y. O'Glasser[1][b]

Institution: 1. Oregon Health & Science University
Corresponding Author: Dr R. Logan Jones ([email protected])
Categories: Scholarship/Publishing, Students/Trainees
Published Date: 25/03/2021

Abstract

Background: Abstract competitions often serve as launchpads for scholarly dissemination, but little is reported on the conversion from abstract presentation at state specialty society meetings into published works or larger audiences.

Objectives: The goal of this project was to characterize the proportion and format in which abstracts presented at the Oregon Chapter meeting of the American College of Physicians (ACP) progress onto broader scholarly formats.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of abstracts submitted to the Oregon ACP annual meetings from 2014 through 2017. The primary outcome was publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Secondary outcomes included other scholarly output including regional/national meeting presentation & non-peer-reviewed publications. The search was completed November 1st, 2018.

Results: A total of 423 abstracts were included for analysis. Of the 423 projects analyzed, 16 (3.8%) met the primary outcome criteria of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 46 (10.9%) projects met criteria for the secondary outcome of dissemination outside of the ACP-Oregon chapter meeting. 5 projects met criteria for both primary and secondary outcomes. 

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that at a medical specialty state chapter meeting, 3.8% of abstracts further developed into a peer-reviewed manuscript, and a total of 14.7% of student and resident presentations developed further to reach larger scholarly audiences. These data provide baseline data for a state medical specialty abstract competition as a launchpad for future scholastic work, and are hypothesis generating for future projects to further support learner scholarship. 

Keywords: Resident Scholarship; Student Scholarship; Mentoring; Advising; Publication

Introduction

Research presentations and clinical vignettes often make their first appearance at scientific meetings. Previous studies have attempted to evaluate the transmission from abstract level presentation at national scientific meetings to widely disseminated scholarly works (Egloff et al., 2017; Scherer et al., 2018). However, there is limited literature on the topic of the translational effect of research presented at local or regional medical specialty meetings. The goal of this project was to characterize the proportion and format in which abstracts presented at the Oregon Chapter meeting of the American College of Physicians (ACP) progress onto broader scholarly formats.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective cohort review of abstracts submitted to the Oregon ACP annual meeting. For our analysis, we included available abstract data including authors, abstract title, submission category, and learner level.

For the primary outcome, we searched for subsequent peer-reviewed publication by entering the primary author’s last name and abstract title into PUBMED, Google Scholar, and Google Search. For each database, the first 40 search results were screened for relation to the original submitted abstract. Projects met the primary outcome if we identified a matching full-length publication in a peer-reviewed journal. For secondary outcomes, the same search strategy was implemented. Projects were screened for submission to national ACP meetings, other medical specialty meetings, and web-based non-peer-reviewed publications searchable through above methods. We also evaluated the relations between learner levels (Resident vs Student) to subsequent dissemination using a Fisher Exact Test. We completed our search as of Nov 1st, 2018, allowing for >12 months since the most recent group of abstract submission. Given the nature of this project as a review completed with publicly available research data that did not include human subjects, formal IRB exemption was not pursued (Sullivan, 2011).

Results/Analysis

From the 2014-2017 ACP Oregon Chapter Meetings, there were a total of 423 accepted abstract submissions. There were 5 categories for poster presentation, and an Oral Clinical Vignette presentation format (absolute number/percentage of total): Clinical Vignette poster (348/82.2%), Oral Clinical Vignette (24/5.7%), Quality Improvement -Patient Safety (23/5.4%), Clinical Research (18/4.3%), Basic Research (9/2.1%), & High Value Care (1/0.2%).

Of the 423 projects analyzed, 16 (3.8%) met the primary outcome criteria of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 5 projects met criteria for both primary and secondary outcomes. 46 (10.9%) projects met criteria for the secondary outcome of dissemination outside of the ACP-Oregon chapter meeting. In all, 62 (14.7%) of projects met either primary and/or secondary outcomes and continued onto formats reaching a broader scholastic audience. There was a statistical difference between the number of resident projects (37 of 244; 10.7%) compared to student projects (25 of 79; 31.6%) that went onto wider dissemination (p<0.0001) (Table 1).

Of projects meeting secondary outcome criteria, 40 were presented at the National ACP Abstract Competition. 32 of these projects solely met secondary outcome criteria through participation in the National ACP abstract competition (32 of 46 projects, 69.6%). Of the 40 of these projects, 22 were presented by residents, 18 were presented by students.

Table 1. Synthesis of Scholarly Outcomes for Oregon ACP Chapter Student/Resident Abstracts

 

All Projects Presented

Projects Meeting Primary Outcome

Projects Meeting Secondary Outcome*

Projects Meeting Composite of Primary and Secondary Outcomes

PROJECT CATEGORY

TOTAL

Resident Author

Student Author

Resident Author

Student Author

Resident Author

Student Author

Resident Author

Student Author

p-value

Clinical Vignette

348

291

57

3

2

17

11

20

13

 

Oral Vignette

24

24

0

0

0

5

0

5

0

 

QI patient Safety

23

19

4

0

0

5

3

5

3

 

Clinical Research

18

9

9

5

4

1

1

6

5

 

Basic Research

9

0

9

0

2

0

2

0

4

 

High Value CCC

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

423

344

79

8

8

29

17

37

25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**10.8%

**31.6%

<0.0001

Definitions: Primary outcome- a related manuscript was identified in a peer-reviewed journal identified; Secondary Outcome - scholarly output including regional/national meeting presentation & non-peer-reviewed publications

*secondary outcomes only, excludes projects meeting primary and secondary outcomes (5 projects met criteria of both primary and secondary outcomes)

**Proportion of projects by learner-level meeting composite outcome

Discussion

This study provides baseline scholastic output data for a medical specialty organization state chapter abstract competition, showing that 3.8% of projects further developed into a peer-reviewed manuscript and a total of 14.7% of student and resident presentations developed further to reach larger scholarly audiences (meeting either primary or secondary outcome). Given the paucity of reports in the literature with similar context (i.e. State level, medical specialty organizations, & include clinical vignette abstracts), these data provide a baseline for future study and comparison.

A 2018 Cochrane meta-analysis on the full publication of results initially presented as abstracts, reports that 37.4% of abstracts progress onto a full publication (Scherer et al., 2018). Our observed rate of 3.8% is nearly an order of magnitude less than that. We hypothesize that this difference is a multifactorial. First, abstracts being presented at a national or international meeting compared to a state level abstract introduces a selection bias that selects for projects of higher “quality” or “impact” which has been associated with increased rates of publication (Scherer et al., 2018). Additionally, our observed publication rate includes all abstracts presented, while other researchers may omit studying publication rates of clinical vignette abstracts as part of their protocol (Egloff et al., 2017). Authors attempting to publish case reports (clinical vignettes) have several added barriers to publication compared to other research styles including lack of mentoring, fewer journals accepting case reports, and publication fees (Nissen and Wynn, 2012; Li, Wilson and Lau, 2019).

Another finding from this study showed that abstracts with students as primary author were more likely to progress onto wider dissemination. We believe that this difference is most driven by higher a higher proportion of clinical vignette submissions by residents (Students, 57 of 79 = 72.2%; Residents, 315 of 344 = 91.6%). As discussed above, case reports have added barriers to publication compared to clinical or bench research. Additionally, this disproportion is being driven by similar absolute numbers of ACP National Presentations among students and residents, but dissimilar proportions given more total abstract submissions by residents. Notably, the sponsoring organization (American College of Physicians) national abstract competition was the only additional scholarly output for over half of the projects (32/62= 51.6%). We attribute this high proportion to the low barrier to submit to the national meeting given similar abstract formats and the fact that a small number of winning abstracts are given immediate acceptance to the national contest. These data highlight the importance of linking state & regional meetings with larger national meetings to support learner scholarship.

Limitations of this study include the potential that search criteria may not return all relevant publications; especially If abstract titles are different enough from subsequent publication titles such as in cases where the authors use word-play in their abstract titles. Additionally, our search was complete 12 months after the most recent annual meeting. Effectively, this provided a follow-up period from time to presentation to analysis of 12 to 48 months depending on competition year. Previous studies have used a minimum of 24 months follow up as this is generally regarded as the window in which most abstracts will be published (Scherer et al., 2018). To monitor for effect of a shortened follow-up window, an ad-hoc Chi-Square analysis of abstracts meeting primary or secondary outcome by year showed no significant relation from time since presentation to wider dissemination (p=0.325).

Conclusion

From 2014-2017, a state level medical specialty abstract competition had high levels of participation through clinical vignette presentation, but low proportions of projects continued to be disseminated in broader scholastic audiences. With these data, our next steps are to see if applying targeted mentoring for case reports and clinical vignettes may improve publications rates over time in order to better support learner scholarship.

Take Home Messages

  • The publication rates for learner abstracts presented at a state level abstract competition are lower compared to previously published benchmarks for national competitions
  • Differences in greater scholastic dissemination comparatively between resident vs student authored abstracts are presumed to be multifactorial in origin
  • A large proportion clinical vignettes and case report abstract fail to translate to wider dissemination
  • Educators should consider targeted mentorship efforts aimed at increasing dissemination of case report abstracts in order to prevent these efforts from “dying on the vine”

Notes On Contributors

R. Logan Jones: Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, School of Medicine; Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7836-933X 

Avital Y. O'Glasser: Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, Assistant Program Director for Scholarship & Social Media, OHSU Internal Medicine Residency Program, Medical Director, Pre-Operative Medicine Clinic; Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0223-405X

Acknowledgements

None.

Bibliography/References

Egloff, H. M., West, C. P., Wang, A. T., Lowe, K. M., et al. (2017) ‘Publication Rates of Abstracts Presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting’, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 32(6), pp. 673–678. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-017-3990-5.

Li, J., Wilson, J. and Lau, W. B. (2019) ‘A case report of case report pursuit by medical student’, MedEdPublish, 8. https://doi.org/10.15694/mep.2019.000073.1.

Nissen, T. and Wynn, R. (2012) ‘The recent history of the clinical case report: a narrative review’, JRSM Short Reports. SAGE PublicationsSage UK: London, England. https://doi.org/10.1258/shorts.2012.012046.

Scherer, R. W., Meerpohl, J. J., Pfeifer, N., Schmucker, C., et al. (2018) ‘Full publication of results initially presented in abstracts’, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.MR000005.pub4.

Sullivan, G. M. (2011) ‘Education Research and Human Subject Protection: Crossing the IRB Quagmire’, Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 3(1), pp. 1–4. https://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-D-11-00004.1.

Appendices

None.

Declarations

There are no conflicts of interest.
This has been published under Creative Commons "CC BY-SA 4.0" (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)

Ethics Statement

Given the nature of this project as a review completed with publicly available research data that did not include human subjects, formal IRB exemption was not pursued.

External Funding

This article has not had any External Funding

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