To assess publication rates, factors predicting publication, and discrepancies between conference abstracts and subsequent full-text publications of abstracts from the veterinary meetings of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists from 2003 to 2008.
Retrospective cohort study.
A total of 607 abstracts were identified and a database search (Scopus, PubMed, CAB) was conducted to identify matching publications. Authors of nonmatching abstracts were contacted to participate in a confidential online survey. Risk ratios were used to assess factors predicting publication and these were tested for significance (p < 0.05) using Fisher's exact test.
The overall publication rate was 63.3% and the mean (± SD) time to publication was 25 ± 19 months. Factors significantly associated with subsequent full publication (i.e. publication of a full manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal) were continent of origin (North America), study design (experimental studies), specialty (analgesia) and the presence of a source of funding. The principal reasons why studies remained unpublished were lack of time and responsibility lying with co-authors. Minor changes compared with the original abstract were found in 71.6% of all publications. Major changes were noted in 34.6% and the outcome of the study changed in 7.6%.
Conclusions and clinical relevance
These data suggest that some of the abstracts reported preliminary findings. Therefore, caution is warranted when quoting abstracts as references in scientific publications. To date, major veterinary journals have not issued recommendations in their author guidelines addressing the use of abstracts as a reference. The authors propose the inclusion of such a statement in author guidelines.
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Accepted: October 30, 2014
Received: July 21, 2014
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