Univariate analysis demonstrated that studies that are prospective and blinded and with sponsorship are more likely to be published. To account for each parameter independently, a multivariate analysis was performed, which showed that prospective design and blinding were the only two factors that significantly affected the publication rate (Table 1).
Although the review of presented abstracts showed no evidence of positive outcome bias, this could be secondary to multiple factors. First, only 138 abstracts in this study were reviewed. Thus, our study might have been underpowered. Second, given the nature of American Society of Plastic Surgeons meetings, abstracts undergo an extensive screening process before acceptance for presentation. This in itself might pose a risk for publication bias. Therefore, to understand the presence of publication bias at this level, further studies are needed to study all abstracts submitted to scientific journals.
To limit the influence of publication bias in the future, several techniques could be used. Increased use of a national clinical registry such as www.clinicaltrials.gov could reduce the influence of publication bias in ongoing research.5 Unfortunately, retrospective studies and case reports are not required to be registered online; therefore, the role of these national clinical registries remains questionable.
In summary, review of published abstracts presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveals that prospective and blinded studies are more likely to be published, and there is no evidence of positive publication bias. Thus, researchers could feel confident that the likelihood of their research acceptance for publication will not be affected by the direction of their findings.
Hani Sinno, M.D., C.M., M.Eng.
Ali Izadpanah, M.D., C.M.
Arash Izadpanah, B.Sc.
Mirko S. Gilardino, M.D., C.M., M.Sc.
The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.
1. Dickersin K. The existence of publication bias and risk factors for its occurrence. JAMA
2. Callaham ML, Wears RL, Weber EJ, Barton C, Young G. Positive-outcome bias and other limitations in the outcome of research abstracts submitted to a scientific meeting. JAMA
3. Olson CM, Rennie D, Cook D, et al. Publication bias in editorial decision making. JAMA
4. Scherer RW, Dickersin K, Langenberg P. Full publication of results initially presented in abstracts: A meta-analysis. JAMA
5. Dickersin K, Rennie D. Registering clinical trials. JAMA
Viewpoints, pertaining to issues of general interest, are welcome, even if they are not related to items previously published. Viewpoints may present unique techniques, brief technology updates, technical notes, and so on. Viewpoints will be published on a space-available basis because they are typically less timesensitive than Letters and other types of articles. Please note the following criteria:
* Text—maximum of 500 words (not including references)
* References—maximum of five
* Authors—no more than five
* Figures/Tables—no more than two figures and/or one table
Authors will be listed in the order in which they appear in the submission. Viewpoints should be submitted electronically via PRS' enkwell, at www.editorialmanager.com/prs/. We strongly encourage authors to submit figures in color.
We reserve the right to edit Viewpoints to meet requirements of space and format. Any financial interests relevant to the content must be disclosed. Submission of a Viewpoint constitutes permission for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and its licensees and assignees to publish it in the Journal and in any other form or medium.
The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed in the Viewpoints represent the personal opinions of the individual writers and not those of the publisher, the Editorial Board, or the sponsors of the Journal. Any stated views, opinions, and conclusions do not reflect the policy of any of the sponsoring organizations or of the institutions with which the writer is affiliated, and the publisher, the Editorial Board, and the sponsoring organizations assume no responsibility for the content of such correspondence.