From the multitude of oral presentations at major medical meetings, the most informative and highest-quality studies make it to full publication in peer-reviewed journals. The rate of publication may be regarded as an indicator of the scientific level of the meeting. Study of the publication rates of consecutive annual meetings allows for the evaluation of the consistency of the scientific level of these meetings and for comparison with publication rates of other meetings in the same field of interest. To grade how useful any publication is to other authors, one can furthermore measure how frequently they cite it in their own publications. Finally, the time lag between oral presentation and full publication is of importance to both its authors and the audience at the meeting. The main objectives of this study were to determine the publication rate of papers of various fields of interest as presented at five consecutive annual meetings of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS) and the time lag between these presentations and their publication. The authors compared their overall findings to those reported for other surgical specialties. Moreover, they identified and classified the journals in which the full publications appeared as an indicator of the scientific value of the meeting. They conclude that a greater than average number of papers presented at the 1995 through 1999 annual EURAPS meetings went on to full publication in peer-reviewed journals. Among these journals, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was the best source for information presented at the meetings. Although approximately 90 percent of the publications appeared before 3 years had passed after a meeting, additional publications may be expected to appear even more than 6 years after the meeting. Given the high publication rate and the high average normalized impact factor of the journals in which the presentations appeared, the five studied EURAPS meetings overall had high scientific value.
Amsterdam and Utrecht, The Netherlands
From the Departments of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, and University Medical Center Utrecht.
Received for publication May 15, 2003; revised July 28, 2003.
J. J. Hage, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Plesmanlaan 121, NL-1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org