Introduction: Abstracts submitted to scientific meetings may not contain adequate information to assess validity of a research topic. Our objective was to determine PPCR in peer‐reviewed indexed journals of abstracts presented at SRS annual meetings and to evaluate for consistency between abstracts & subsequently published FTA.
Methods: We reviewed all presentations (podium & posters) of past SRS annual meeting proceedings (2000–04) and undertook a comprehensive PubMed search to determine if the abstract was followed by a publication subsequent to its presentation as FTA up to the beginning of Dec 2008. The published FTA was compared with OAb and evaluated for consistency with respect to study cohort/design, conclusion and authorship against a structured proforma.
Results: A total of 1063 abstracts (452 podium & 611 posters) were identified. 560 (295 podium & 265 posters) were published as FTA in 51 journals. The overall PPCR was 52.68% (65.26 for podium and 43.37% for posters).
The PPCR was highest for 2001 (58.4%) closely followed by 2004 (57%). Two‐thirds of them were published in Spine (361 FTA) and JBJS(Am) accounted for 6.25% of publications (35 FTA). 87.32% of them were published within 3 years of presentation (489/560). Interestingly 16 presentations were already published as FTA before their submission (2.85%). The PPCR was 1.5 times higher for free‐papers as compared to posters and was statistically significant (p<0.0001) and Odd's Ratio(OR)=2.45(1.90–3.15).
Conclusion: The PPCR of SRS presentations is better than AAOS (34.2%; Bhandari et al, JBJS(Am) 2002: 84(4), 615–21) and ranks high in comparison with other medical specialties (32–72%). The studies were of high quality/content with negligible duplication validating the rigorous peer‐review selection process. Only a third of free‐papers were not followed by publication as FTA. Changes to the study cohort/design, authors or/& conclusion was common (seen in two‐thirds of all published FTA).
Significance: The SRS presentations (esp. posters) should be interpreted with caution until their subsequent publication as a FTA. However acceptance of an abstract for presentation at the SRS annual meeting (esp. podium) is a benchmark of quality.