IntroductionNothing has been published to describe the practices of medical societies in choosing abstracts for presentations at their annual meetings. We surveyed medical societies to determine their practices, and also present a theoretical analysis of the topic.
MethodsWe contacted a convenience sample of large U.S. medical conferences, and determined their approach to choosing abstracts. We obtained information from web sites, telephone, and email. Our theoretical analysis compares values-based and empirical approaches for scoring system development.
ResultsWe contacted 32 societies and obtained data on 28 (response rate 88%). We excluded one upon learning that research was not presented at its annual meeting, leaving 27 for analysis. Only 2 (7%) made their abstract scoring process available to submitters. Reviews were blinded in most societies (21;78%), and all but one asked reviewers to recuse themselves for conflict of interest (96%). All required ?3 reviewers. Of the 24 providing information on how scores were generated, 21 (88%) reported using a single gestalt score, and three used a combined score created from pooled domain-specific sub-scores. We present a framework for societies to use in choosing abstracts, and demonstrate its application in the development of a new scoring system.
ConclusionsMost medical societies use subjective, gestalt methods to select research for presentation at their annual meetings and do not disclose to submitters the details of how abstracts are chosen. We present a new scoring system that is transparent to submitters and reviewers alike with an accompanying statement of values and ground rules. We discuss the challenges faced in selecting abstracts for a large scientific meeting and share the values and practical considerations that undergird the new system.
SUBMITTER: Kuczmarski TM