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1.  Abstraction networks for terminologies: supporting management of “big knowledge” 
Objective
Terminologies and terminological systems have assumed important roles in many medical information processing environments, giving rise to the “big knowledge” challenge when terminological content comprises tens of thousands to millions of concepts arranged in a tangled web of relationships. Use and maintenance of knowledge structures on that scale can be daunting. The notion of abstraction network is presented as a means of facilitating the usability, comprehensibility, visualization, and quality assurance of terminologies.
Methods and Material
An abstraction network overlays a terminology’s underlying network structure at a higher level of abstraction. In particular, it provides a more compact view of the terminology’s content, avoiding the display of minutiae. General abstraction network characteristics are discussed. Moreover, the notion of meta-abstraction network, existing at an even higher level of abstraction than a typical abstraction network, is described for cases where even the abstraction network itself represents a case of “big knowledge.” Various features in the design of abstraction networks are demonstrated in a methodological survey of some existing abstraction networks previously developed and deployed for a variety of terminologies.
Results
The applicability of the general abstraction-network framework is shown through use-cases of various terminologies, including the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT), the Medical Entities Dictionary (MED), and the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). Important characteristics of the surveyed abstraction networks are provided, e.g., the magnitude of the respective size reduction referred to as the abstraction ratio. Specific benefits of these alternative terminology-network views, particularly their use in terminology quality assurance, are discussed. Examples of meta-abstraction networks are presented.
Conclusions
The “big knowledge” challenge constitutes the use and maintenance of terminological structures that comprise tens of thousands to millions of concepts and their attendant complexity. The notion of abstraction network has been introduced as a tool in helping to overcome this challenge, thus enhancing the usefulness of terminologies. Abstraction networks have been shown to be applicable to a variety of existing biomedical terminologies, and these alternative structural views hold promise for future expanded use with additional terminologies.
Graphical abstract
doi:10.1016/j.artmed.2015.03.005
PMCID: PMC4742053  PMID: 25890687
Big Knowledge; Terminology Abstraction Network; Terminology Visualization; Terminology Meta-Abstraction Network; Biomedical Terminology Modeling; Disjoint Abstraction Network
2.  Association Between Study Quality and Publication Rates of Medical Education Abstracts Presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2015;30(8):1172-1177.
Background
Studies reveal that 44.5 % of abstracts presented at national meetings are subsequently published in indexed journals, with lower rates for abstracts of medical education scholarship.
Objective
We sought to determine whether the quality of medical education abstracts is associated with subsequent publication in indexed journals, and to compare the quality of medical education abstracts presented as scientific abstracts versus innovations in medical education (IME).
Design
Retrospective cohort study.
Participants
Medical education abstracts presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) 2009 annual meeting.
Main Measures
Publication rates were measured using database searches for full-text publications through December 2013. Quality was assessed using the validated Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI).
Key Results
Overall, 64 (44 %) medical education abstracts presented at the 2009 SGIM annual meeting were subsequently published in indexed medical journals. The MERSQI demonstrated good inter-rater reliability (intraclass correlation range, 0.77–1.00) for grading the quality of medical education abstracts. MERSQI scores were higher for published versus unpublished abstracts (9.59 vs. 8.81, p = 0.03). Abstracts with a MERSQI score of 10 or greater were more likely to be published (OR 3.18, 95 % CI 1.47–6.89, p = 0.003). ). MERSQI scores were higher for scientific versus IME abstracts (9.88 vs. 8.31, p < 0.001). Publication rates were higher for scientific abstracts (42 [66 %] vs. 37 [46 %], p = 0.02) and oral presentations (15 [23 %] vs. 6 [8 %], p = 0.01).
Conclusions
The publication rate of medical education abstracts presented at the 2009 SGIM annual meeting was similar to reported publication rates for biomedical research abstracts, but higher than publication rates reported for medical education abstracts. MERSQI scores were associated with higher abstract publication rates, suggesting that attention to measures of quality—such as sampling, instrument validity, and data analysis—may improve the likelihood that medical education abstracts will be published.
doi:10.1007/s11606-015-3269-7
PMCID: PMC4510227  PMID: 25814265
medical education; medical education research; quality; publication
3.  Evaluating Data Abstraction Assistant, a novel software application for data abstraction during systematic reviews: protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Systematic Reviews  2016;5:196.
Background
Data abstraction, a critical systematic review step, is time-consuming and prone to errors. Current standards for approaches to data abstraction rest on a weak evidence base. We developed the Data Abstraction Assistant (DAA), a novel software application designed to facilitate the abstraction process by allowing users to (1) view study article PDFs juxtaposed to electronic data abstraction forms linked to a data abstraction system, (2) highlight (or “pin”) the location of the text in the PDF, and (3) copy relevant text from the PDF into the form. We describe the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compares the relative effectiveness of (A) DAA-facilitated single abstraction plus verification by a second person, (B) traditional (non-DAA-facilitated) single abstraction plus verification by a second person, and (C) traditional independent dual abstraction plus adjudication to ascertain the accuracy and efficiency of abstraction.
Methods
This is an online, randomized, three-arm, crossover trial. We will enroll 24 pairs of abstractors (i.e., sample size is 48 participants), each pair comprising one less and one more experienced abstractor. Pairs will be randomized to abstract data from six articles, two under each of the three approaches. Abstractors will complete pre-tested data abstraction forms using the Systematic Review Data Repository (SRDR), an online data abstraction system. The primary outcomes are (1) proportion of data items abstracted that constitute an error (compared with an answer key) and (2) total time taken to complete abstraction (by two abstractors in the pair, including verification and/or adjudication).
Discussion
The DAA trial uses a practical design to test a novel software application as a tool to help improve the accuracy and efficiency of the data abstraction process during systematic reviews. Findings from the DAA trial will provide much-needed evidence to strengthen current recommendations for data abstraction approaches.
Trial registration
The trial is registered at National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR) under Registration # HSRP20152269: https://wwwcf.nlm.nih.gov/hsr_project/view_hsrproj_record.cfm?NLMUNIQUE_ID=20152269&SEARCH_FOR=Tianjing%20Li. All items from the World Health Organization Trial Registration Data Set are covered at various locations in this protocol. Protocol version and date: This is version 2.0 of the protocol, dated September 6, 2016. As needed, we will communicate any protocol amendments to the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH) and Brown University. We also will make appropriate as-needed modifications to the NICHSR website in a timely fashion.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13643-016-0373-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13643-016-0373-7
PMCID: PMC5120497  PMID: 27876082
Data abstraction; Systematic reviews; Randomized controlled trial
4.  Reporting quality of abstracts of trials published in top five pain journals: a protocol for a systematic survey 
BMJ Open  2016;6(11):e012319.
Introduction
Abstracts of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are often the first and the only source read in a journal by busy healthcare providers. This necessitates good reporting of abstracts. The quality of reporting of abstracts, though gradually improving over time, is still not uniform across medical journals. Improvement in completeness of reporting of abstracts has been documented in general medical journals after the publication of the consolidated standards of reporting trials (CONSORT) extension for abstracts in 2008. Currently, this aspect has not been assessed with regards to pain journals. This study aims to compare the completeness of reporting of abstracts before and after the publication of CONSORT statement for abstracts in five pain journals.
Methods and analyses
The abstracts of RCTs published from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007 (pre-CONSORT) and from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2015 (post-CONSORT) will be assessed for the quality of reporting. Studies without abstracts, non-English abstracts, abstracts not reporting on RCTs or on humans and conference abstracts will be excluded. A thorough search of MEDLINE will be carried out in April 2016. All identified studies will be screened for inclusion based on titles and abstracts. Data will be extracted by two sets of independent reviewers for each abstract in duplicate regarding compliance with CONSORT statement for abstracts. Full-text review will be performed to obtain additional characteristics which are likely to affect reporting quality. The unadjusted and adjusted differences in the mean number of items reported will be analysed using a two sample t-test and generalised estimation equation in SPSS.
Ethics and dissemination
As far as we know, this is the first study to evaluate reporting quality of abstracts of pain journals based on CONSORT extension for abstracts. The findings of this study will be disseminated by a presentation at a conference and through publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Ethics committee approval was not sought for this survey.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012319
PMCID: PMC5128905  PMID: 27872116
PAIN MANAGEMENT; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
5.  Clinical pancreatic disorder I: Acute pancreatitis 
The Annual American Pancreas Club is an important event for communicating around clinical pancreatic disorders, just as the European, Japanese, Indian, and the International Pancreatic association. Even though the meeting is only 1½ day there were 169 different abstracts and a “How do I do it session.” Among all these abstracts on the pancreas there are some real pearls, but they are almost always well hidden, never highlighted – all abstracts are similarly presented – and will too soon be forgotten. The present filing of the abstracts is one way (not the way) to get the pancreatic abstracts a little more read and a little more remembered – and perhaps a little more cited. It should also be understood that most of the abstracts are short summaries of hundreds of working hours (evenings, nights, weekends, holidays, you name them …) in the laboratory or in the clinic, often combined with blood, sweat and tears. The authors should be shown at least some respect, and their abstracts should not only be thought of as “just another little abstract” – and the best respect they can be shown are that they will be remembered to be another brick in our scientific wall.
Now the pancreatic abstracts of American Pancreas Club 2011 are gathered and filed with the aim to give them a larger audience than they have had in their original abstract book. However, it is obvious that most of clinical fellows do not have time to read all the abstracts. For them I have made a “clinical highlight section” of 10 percent of all the pancreatic abstracts. If someone else should have done some collection of abstract, there should probably have been other selections, but as this is not the case, the editor's choices are the highlighted ones.
The article as series I of clinical highlight section is present, and more series will be present in the following issues. If readers will remember some of the abstracts better after reading this “abstract of abstracts”, it was worth the efforts – and without efforts there will be little progress.
doi:10.4297/najms.2011.3316
PMCID: PMC3336879  PMID: 22555122
Acute pancreatitis; accurate classification; clinical highlight; American pancreas club; international pancreatic association
6.  Conversion of Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Abstract Presentations to Manuscript Publications 
Objective
To evaluate the rate of conversion of Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Annual Meeting abstract presentations to full manuscript publications over time.
Methods
Full manuscript publications corresponding to all SMFM oral abstracts 2003–2010 inclusive, and SMFM poster abstracts in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 were manually searched in PubMed. An abstract was considered to ‘match’ a full publication if the abstract and publication titles as well as main methods and results were similar and the abstract first author was a publication author. In cases of uncertainty, the abstract-publication match was reviewed by a second physician researcher. Time to publication, publication rates over time, and publication rates among US vs. non-US authors were examined. PMID numbers were also collected to determine if >1 abstract contributed to a manuscript. Data were analyzed using Wilcoxon rank-sum, ANOVA, t-test, and logistic regression.
Results
3,281 abstracts presented at SMFM over the study period, including 629 orals (63 main plenary, 64 fellows plenary, 502 concurrent), were reviewed. 1,780/3,281 (54.3%) were published, generating 1,582 unique publications. Oral abstracts had a consistently higher rate of conversion to publications vs. posters (77.1% vs. 48.8%, p<0.001). The median time to publication was 19 (IQR 9–36) months, and was significantly shorter for orals vs. posters (11 vs. 21 months, p<0.001). Over the study period, rates of publication of orals remained constant, but rates of publication of posters were lower in 2007 and 2009 compared to 2003 and 2005. Publications related to SMFM abstracts were published in 194 different journals, most commonly AJOG (39.8%), Obstet Gynecol (9.7%), and J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med (6.5%). Publication rates were higher if the abstract’s first author was affiliated with a non-US institution (64.8% vs. 51.1%, p<0.001) and if the abstract received an award (82.7% vs. 53.3%, p<0.001). In regression models, oral presentation at SMFM, first author affiliation with a non-US institution, submission for AJOG SMFM special issue, and year of abstract presentation at SMFM were associated with full manuscript publication.
Conclusions
Between 2003 and 2010, full manuscript publication rates of SMFM abstracts were high and consistent, and time to publication decreased/improved across the study period for oral presentations.
doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2015.05.020
PMCID: PMC4556598  PMID: 25981850
society for maternal fetal medicine; abstract presentation; peer-reviewed publication; annual meeting
7.  More insight into the fate of biomedical meeting abstracts: a systematic review 
Background
It has been estimated that about 45% of abstracts that are accepted for presentation at biomedical meetings will subsequently be published in full. The acceptance of abstracts at meetings and their fate after initial rejection are less well understood. We set out to estimate the proportion of abstracts submitted to meetings that are eventually published as full reports, and to explore factors that are associated with meeting acceptance and successful publication.
Methods
Studies analysing acceptance of abstracts at biomedical meetings or their subsequent full publication were searched in MEDLINE, OLDMEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, BIOSIS, Science Citation Index Expanded, and by hand searching of bibliographies and proceedings. We estimated rates of abstract acceptance and of subsequent full publication, and identified abstract and meeting characteristics associated with acceptance and publication, using logistic regression analysis, survival-type analysis, and meta-analysis.
Results
Analysed meetings were held between 1957 and 1999. Of 14945 abstracts that were submitted to 43 meetings, 46% were accepted. The rate of full publication was studied with 19123 abstracts that were presented at 234 meetings. Using survival-type analysis, we estimated that 27% were published after two, 41% after four, and 44% after six years. Of 2412 abstracts that were rejected at 24 meetings, 27% were published despite rejection. Factors associated with both abstract acceptance and subsequent publication were basic science and positive study outcome. Large meetings and those held outside the US were more likely to accept abstracts. Abstracts were more likely to be published subsequently if presented either orally, at small meetings, or at a US meeting. Abstract acceptance itself was strongly associated with full publication.
Conclusions
About one third of abstracts submitted to biomedical meetings were published as full reports. Acceptance at meetings and publication were associated with specific characteristics of abstracts and meetings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-3-12
PMCID: PMC184388  PMID: 12854973
8.  Quality of reporting of trial abstracts needs to be improved: using the CONSORT for abstracts to assess the four leading Chinese medical journals of traditional Chinese medicine 
Trials  2010;11:75.
Background
Due to language limitations, the abstract of journal article may be the only way for people of non-Chinese speaking countries to know about trials in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). However, little is known about the reporting quality of these trial abstracts. Our study is to assess the reporting quality of abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCT) published in four leading Chinese medical journals of TCM, and to identify any differences in reporting between the Chinese and English version of the same abstract publication.
Method
Two reviewers hand-searched the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica and the Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion for all abstracts of RCTs published between 2006 and 2007. Two reviewers independently assessed the reporting quality of the Chinese and English version of all eligible abstracts based on a modified version of the CONSORT for reporting randomised trials in journal and conference abstracts (CONSORT for abstracts).
Results
We identified a total of 345 RCTs of TCM with both a Chinese and English abstract. More than half of Chinese abstracts reported details of the trial participants (68%; 234/345), control group intervention (52%; 179/345), the number of participants randomized (73%; 253/345) and benefits when interpreting the trial results (55%; 190/345). Reporting of methodological quality or key features of trial design and trial results were poor; only 2% (7/345) included details of the trial design, 3% (11/345) defined the primary outcome, 5% (17/345) described the methods of random sequence generation, and only 4% (13/345) reported the number of participants analyzed. No abstracts provided details on allocation concealment and trial registration. The percentage agreement in reporting (between the Chinese and English version of the same abstract) ranged from 84% to 100% across individual checklist item.
Conclusion
The reporting quality of abstracts of RCTs published in these four TCM journals needs to be improved. Since none of the four journals adopted CONSORT for Abstracts, we hope that the introduction and adoption of CONSORT for Abstracts by TCM journals will lead to an improvement in reporting quality.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-75
PMCID: PMC2911423  PMID: 20615225
9.  Assessment of the Quality of Reporting in Abstracts of Randomized Controlled Trials Published in Five Leading Chinese Medical Journals 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11926.
Background
Clear, transparent and sufficiently detailed abstracts of randomized trials (RCTs), published in journal articles are important because readers will often base their initial assessment of a trial on such information. However, little is known about the quality of reporting in abstracts of RCTs published in medical journals in China.
Methods
We identified RCTs abstracts from 5 five leading Chinese medical journals published between 1998 and 2007 and indexed in MEDLINE. We assessed the quality of reporting of these abstracts based on the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) abstract checklist. We also sought to identify whether any differences exist in reporting between the Chinese and English language version of the same abstract.
Results
We identified 332 RCT abstracts eligible for examination. Overall, the abstracts we examined reported 0–8 items as designated in the CONSORT checklist. On average, three items were reported per abstract. Details of the interventions (288/332; 87%), the number of participants randomized (216/332; 65%) and study objectives (109/332; 33%) were the top three items reported. Only two RCT abstracts reported details of trial registration, no abstracts reported the method of allocation concealment and only one mentioned specifically who was blinded. In terms of the proportion of RCT abstracts fulfilling a criterion, the absolute difference (percentage points) between the Chinese and English abstracts was 10% (ranging from 0 to 25%) on average, per item.
Conclusions
The quality of reporting in abstracts of RCTs published in Chinese medical journals needs to be improved. We hope that the introduction and endorsement of the CONSORT for Abstracts guidelines by journals reporting RCTs will lead to improvements in the quality of reporting.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011926
PMCID: PMC2914031  PMID: 20689853
10.  Dependability of results in conference abstracts of randomized controlled trials in ophthalmology and author financial conflicts of interest as a factor associated with full publication 
Trials  2016;17:213.
Background
Discrepancies between information in conference abstracts and full publications describing the same randomized controlled trial have been reported. The association between author conflicts of interest and the publication of randomized controlled trials is unclear.
The objective of this study was to use randomized controlled trials in ophthalmology to evaluate (1) the agreement in the reported main outcome results by comparing abstracts and corresponding publications and (2) the association between the author conflicts of interest and publication of the results presented in the abstracts.
Methods
We considered abstracts describing results of randomized controlled trials presented at the 2001–2004 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology conferences as eligible for our study. Through electronic searching and by emailing abstract authors, we identified the earliest publication (journal article) containing results of each abstract’s main outcome through November 2013. We categorized the discordance between the main outcome results in the abstract and its paired publication as qualitative (a difference in the direction of the estimated effect) or as quantitative. We used the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology categories for conflicts of interest: financial interest, employee of business with interest, consultant to business with interest, inventor/developer with patent, and receiving ≥ 1 gift from industry in the past year. We calculated the relative risks (RRs) of publication associated with the categories of conflicts of interest for abstracts with results that were statistically significant, not statistically significant, or not reported.
Results
We included 513 abstracts, 230 (44.8 %) of which reached publication. Among the 86 pairs with the same main outcome domain at the same time point, 47 pairs (54.7 %) had discordant results: qualitative discordance in 7 pairs and quantitative discordance in 40 pairs. Quantitative discordance was indicated as < 10, 10–20, > 20 %, and unclear in 14, 5, 14, and 7 pairs, respectively. First authors reporting of one or more conflicts of interest was associated with a greater likelihood of publication (RR = 1.31; 95 % CI = 1.04 to 1.64) and a shorter time-to-publication (log-rank p = 0.026). First author conflicts of interests that were associated with publication were financial support (RR = 1.50; 95 % CI = 1.19 to 1.90) and one or more gifts (RR = 1.42; 95 % CI = 1.05 to 1.92). The association between conflicts of interest and publication remained, irrespective of the statistical significance of the results.
Conclusions
More than half the abstract/publication pairs exhibited some amount of discordance in the main outcome results, calling into question the dependability of conference abstracts. Regardless of the main outcome results, the conflicts of interests of the abstract’s first author were associated with publication.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1343-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1343-z
PMCID: PMC4845343  PMID: 27113767
11.  Structured abstracts in MEDLINE, 1989-1991. 
OBJECTIVE: To characterize the structured abstracts in biomedical journals indexed in MEDLINE over a three-year period as an initial step in exploring their utility in enhancing bibliographic retrieval. DESIGN: The study examined the occurrence of structured abstracts in MEDLINE from March 1989 to December 1991, characteristics of MEDLINE records for articles with structured abstracts, editorial policies of six selected MEDLINE journals on structured abstracts, and a sample of twenty-five structured abstracts from the six journals. RESULTS: The study revealed that the number of structured abstracts in MEDLINE and the number of MEDLINE journals publishing structured abstracts increased substantially between 1989 and 1991. On average, articles with structured abstracts had more access points (Medical Subject Heading [MeSH] terms and text words) than MEDLINE articles as a whole. The average length of the structured abstract was greater than the average length of all abstracts in MEDLINE. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of structured abstracts may be associated with other article characteristics that lead to the assignment of a higher average number of MeSH headings or may itself contribute to the assignment of more headings. The variations in the structured-abstract formats prescribed by different journals may complicate the exploitation of these abstracts in bibliographic retrieval systems. More research is needed on a number of questions related to the quality and utility of structured abstracts.
Images
PMCID: PMC226026  PMID: 7599584
12.  Using ClinicalTrials.gov to Supplement Information in Ophthalmology Conference Abstracts about Trial Outcomes: A Comparison Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130619.
Background
Including results from unpublished randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in a systematic review may ameliorate the effect of publication bias in systematic review results. Unpublished RCTs are sometimes described in abstracts presented at conferences, included in trials registers, or both. Trial results may not be available in a trials register and abstracts describing RCT results often lack study design information. Complementary information from a trials register record may be sufficient to allow reliable inclusion of an unpublished RCT only available as an abstract in a systematic review.
Methods
We identified 496 abstracts describing RCTs presented at the 2007 to 2009 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meetings; 154 RCTs were registered in ClinicalTrials.gov. Two persons extracted verbatim primary and non-primary outcomes reported in the abstract and ClinicalTrials.gov record. We compared each abstract outcome with all ClinicalTrials.gov outcomes and coded matches as complete, partial, or no match.
Results
We identified 800 outcomes in 152 abstracts (95 primary [51 abstracts] and 705 [141 abstracts] non-primary outcomes). No outcomes were reported in 2 abstracts. Of 95 primary outcomes, 17 (18%) agreed completely, 53 (56%) partially, and 25 (26%) had no match with a ClinicalTrials.gov primary or non-primary outcome. Among 705 non-primary outcomes, 56 (8%) agreed completely, 205 (29%) agreed partially, and 444 (63%) had no match with a ClinicalTrials.gov primary or non-primary outcome. Among the 258 outcomes partially agreeing, we found additional information on the time when the outcome was measured more often in ClinicalTrials.gov than in the abstract (141/258 (55%) versus 55/258 (21%)). We found no association between the presence of non-matching “new” outcomes and year of registration, time to registry update, industry sponsorship, or multi-center status.
Conclusion
Conference abstracts may be a valuable source of information about results for outcomes of unpublished RCTs that have been registered in ClinicalTrials.gov. Complementary additional descriptive information may be present for outcomes reported in both sources. However, ARVO abstract authors also present outcomes not reported in ClinicalTrials.gov and these may represent analyses not originally planned.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130619
PMCID: PMC4479484  PMID: 26107924
13.  Does a research article's country of origin affect perception of its quality and relevance? A national trial of US public health researchers 
BMJ Open  2015;5(12):e008993.
Objectives
The source of research may influence one's interpretation of it in either negative or positive ways, however, there are no robust experiments to determine how source impacts on one's judgment of the research article. We determine the impact of source on respondents’ assessment of the quality and relevance of selected research abstracts.
Design
Web-based survey design using four healthcare research abstracts previously published and included in Cochrane Reviews.
Setting
All Council on the Education of Public Health-accredited Schools and Programmes of Public Health in the USA.
Participants
899 core faculty members (full, associate and assistant professors)
Intervention
Each of the four abstracts appeared with a high-income source half of the time, and low-income source half of the time. Participants each reviewed the same four abstracts, but were randomly allocated to receive two abstracts with high-income source, and two abstracts with low-income source, allowing for within-abstract comparison of quality and relevance
Primary outcome measures
Within-abstract comparison of participants’ rating scores on two measures—strength of the evidence, and likelihood of referral to a peer (1–10 rating scale). OR was calculated using a generalised ordered logit model adjusting for sociodemographic covariates.
Results
Participants who received high income country source abstracts were equal in all known characteristics to the participants who received the abstracts with low income country sources. For one of the four abstracts (a randomised, controlled trial of a pharmaceutical intervention), likelihood of referral to a peer was greater if the source was a high income country (OR 1.28, 1.02 to 1.62, p<0.05).
Conclusions
All things being equal, in one of the four abstracts, the respondents were influenced by a high-income source in their rating of research abstracts. More research may be needed to explore how the origin of a research article may lead to stereotype activation and application in research evaluation.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008993
PMCID: PMC4710821  PMID: 26719313
Peer Review; Evidence based medicine; Bias; Diffusion of Innovation
14.  Quality of nonstructured and structured abstracts of original research articles in the British Medical Journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association. 
OBJECTIVE: To assess and compare the quality of nonstructured and structured abstracts of original research articles in three medical journals. DESIGN: Blind, criterion-based observational study. SAMPLE: Random sample of 300 abstracts (25 abstracts per journal each year) of articles published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1988 and 1989 (nonstructured abstracts) and in 1991 and 1992 (structured abstracts). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The quality of abstracts was measured against 33 objective criteria, which were divided into eight categories (purpose, research design, setting, subjects, intervention, measurement of variables, results and conclusions). The quality score was determined by dividing the number of criteria present by the number applicable; the score varied from 0 to 1. RESULTS: The overall mean quality scores for nonstructured and structured abstracts were 0.57 and 0.74 respectively (p < 0.001). The frequency in meeting the specific criteria was generally higher for the structured abstracts than for the nonstructured ones. The mean quality score was higher for nonstructured abstracts in JAMA than for those in BMJ (0.60 v. 0.54, p < 0.05). The scores for structured abstracts did not differ significantly between the three journals. CONCLUSIONS: The findings support recommendations that promote the use of structured abstracts. Further studies should be performed to assess the effect of time on the quality of abstracts and the extent to which abstracts reflect the content of the articles.
PMCID: PMC1336964  PMID: 8174031
15.  Scientific meeting abstracts: significance, access, and trends. 
Abstracts of scientific papers and posters that are presented at annual scientific meetings of professional societies are part of the broader category of conference literature. They are an important avenue for the dissemination of current data. While timely and succinct, these abstracts present problems such as an abbreviated peer review and incomplete bibliographic access. METHODS: Seventy societies of health sciences professionals were surveyed about the publication of abstracts from their annual meetings. Nineteen frequently cited journals also were contacted about their policies on the citation of meeting abstracts. Ten databases were searched for the presence of meetings abstracts. RESULTS: Ninety percent of the seventy societies publish their abstracts, with nearly half appearing in the society's journal. Seventy-seven percent of the societies supply meeting attendees with a copy of each abstract, and 43% make their abstracts available in an electronic format. Most of the journals surveyed allow meeting abstracts to be cited. Bibliographic access to these abstracts does not appear to be widespread. CONCLUSIONS: Meeting abstracts play an important role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge. Bibliographic access to meeting abstracts is very limited. The trend toward making meeting abstracts available via the Internet has the potential to give a broader audience access to the information they contain.
PMCID: PMC226328  PMID: 9549015
16.  Improving the quality of abstract reporting for economic analyses in oncology 
Current Oncology  2012;19(6):e428-e435.
Background
The increasing cost of cancer drugs underscores the importance of economic analyses. Although guidelines for abstract reporting of randomized controlled studies and phase i trials are available, similar recommendations for conference abstracts of economic analyses are lacking. Our objectives were to identify items considered to be essential in abstracts of economic analyses;to evaluate the quality of abstracts submitted to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (asco), the American Society of Hematology (ash), and the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ispor) meetings; andto propose guidelines for future abstract reporting at conferences.
Methods
Health economic experts were surveyed and asked to rate each of 24 possible abstract elements on a 5-point Likert scale. A scoring system for abstract quality was devised based on elements with an average expert rating of 3.5 or greater. Abstracts for economic analyses from asco, ash, and ispor meetings were reviewed and assigned a quality score.
Results
Of 99 experts, 50 (51%) responded to the survey (average age: 53 years; 78% men; 54% from the United States, 28% from Europe, 18% from Canada). In total, 216 abstracts were reviewed: asco, 53%; ash, 14%; and ispor, 33%. The median quality score was 75, but notable deficiencies were observed. Cost perspective was reported in only 61% of abstracts, and time horizon was described in only 47%. Abstracts from recent years demonstrated better quality scores. We also observed disparities in quality scores for various cancer sites (p = 0.005).
Conclusions
The quality of conference abstracts for economic analyses in oncology has room for improvement. Abstracts may be enhanced using the guidelines derived from our survey of experts.
doi:10.3747/co.19.1152
PMCID: PMC3503674  PMID: 23300367
Economic analyses; abstracts; quality; oncology
17.  Reporting funding source or conflict of interest in abstracts of randomized controlled trials, no evidence of a large impact on general practitioners’ confidence in conclusions, a three-arm randomized controlled trial 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:69.
Background
Systematic reporting of funding sources is recommended in the CONSORT Statement for abstracts. However, no specific recommendation is related to the reporting of conflicts of interest (CoI). The objective was to compare physicians’ confidence in the conclusions of abstracts of randomized controlled trials of pharmaceutical treatment indexed in PubMed.
Methods
We planned a three-arm parallel-group randomized trial. French general practitioners (GPs) were invited to participate and were blinded to the study’s aim. We used a representative sample of 75 abstracts of pharmaceutical industry-funded randomized controlled trials published in 2010 and indexed in PubMed. Each abstract was standardized and reported in three formats: 1) no mention of the funding source or CoI; 2) reporting the funding source only; and 3) reporting the funding source and CoI. GPs were randomized according to a computerized randomization on a secure Internet system at a 1:1:1 ratio to assess one abstract among the three formats. The primary outcome was GPs’ confidence in the abstract conclusions (0, not at all, to 10, completely confident). The study was planned to detect a large difference with an effect size of 0.5.
Results
Between October 2012 and June 2013, among 605 GPs contacted, 354 were randomized, 118 for each type of abstract. The mean difference (95% confidence interval) in GPs’ confidence in abstract findings was 0.2 (-0.6; 1.0) (P = 0.84) for abstracts reporting the funding source only versus no funding source or CoI; -0.4 (-1.3; 0.4) (P = 0.39) for abstracts reporting the funding source and CoI versus no funding source and CoI; and -0.6 (-1.5; 0.2) (P = 0.15) for abstracts reporting the funding source and CoI versus the funding source only.
Conclusions
We found no evidence of a large impact of trial report abstracts mentioning funding sources or CoI on GPs’ confidence in the conclusions of the abstracts.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01679873
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-69
PMCID: PMC4022327  PMID: 24779384
Funding; Conflict of interest; General Practitioner; Abstract; Reporting
18.  Don’t forget the posters! Quality and content variables associated with accepted abstracts at a national trauma meeting 
BACKGROUND
As a primary venue for presenting research results, abstracts selected for presentation at national meetings should be of the highest scientific merit and research quality. It is uncertain to what degree this is achieved as the methodological quality of abstracts submitted to national surgical meetings has not been previously described. The objective of this study was to evaluate abstracts presented at a leading trauma meeting for methodological quality.
METHODS
All abstracts accepted for the 2009 American Association for the Surgery of Trauma meeting were reviewed and scored for methodological quality based on 10 criteria (scores, 0–10; 10 being the highest). Criteria were based on nationally published methodology guidelines. Two independent reviewers who were blinded to institution, region, and author reviewed each abstract.
RESULTS
A total of 187 abstracts were accepted for presentation (67 oral and 120 posters). The most frequent clinical topics were shock/transfusion (23%), abdomen (12%), and nervous system (11%). Shock/transfusion abstracts were more common in the oral presentations (31% vs. 19%; p =0.06). Abstracts from the northeast and south regions were the most common in both oral (26% and 29%) and posters (25% and 24%). Basic science accounted for 12% of accepted studies, while 51% were clinical and 28% were health services/outcomes. Only 8% of abstracts presented randomized data and only 11% reported null findings. Overall abstract scores ranged from 3 to 10 (median, 7; mean, 7.4). Abstracts selected for poster presentation had an overall higher score than those selected for oral presentation (7.4 ±1.7 vs. 6.8 ±1.7; p =0.02).
CONCLUSION
Although oral presentations traditionally receive the most attention and interest, the methodological quality of abstracts accepted for poster presentation equals (and sometimes exceeds) that of oral abstracts. Attendees of these national meetings should reconsider their time spent in viewing and visiting these poster sessions as with the oral presentations. In light of our findings, we highly encourage that all members and guests attend the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma Poster Rounds at each year’s scientific assembly.
doi:10.1097/TA.0b013e3182479c9b
PMCID: PMC4198948  PMID: 22673278
Trauma; abstract; meeting; quality; methodology
19.  Peer Review Interrater Reliability of Scientific Abstracts: A Study of an Anesthesia Subspecialty Society 
Background
Presentation of scientific abstracts is an important function of medical specialty and subspecialty societies. Selection is typically performed by the means of a peer review process. The validity and reliability of the peer review is under examination. The purpose of this study was to determine the interrater reliability of abstract assessment by a subspecialty organization at their Annual Winter meeting. The subspecialty society was selected on the basis of representing the median number for membership and abstracts.
Methods
After institutional review board approval, data collection included number of abstracts submitted, abstract groupings, number of reviewers, assessment criteria, and rating scales. Interrater reliability was defined as kappa = N (PMS-EMS)/{N.PMS + (k-1) RMS+(N-1)(k-1) EMS; in which PMS, RMS and EMS are the mean square values for abstracts, reviewers, and error, respectively, N is the number of abstracts, and k is the number of evaluators. Resulting values may range from 0.0 (no agreement) to 1.0 (perfect agreement).
Results
Eleven reviewers, blinded to authors and institutions, rated 87abstracts divided into two randomly assigned groups. Abstracts were judged on six criteria and assigned a numerical score of 1 to 4, using a nominal scale. The average abstract rating in Group A was 3.12 (± 0.47) and in Group B was 2.99 (± 0.63). The Kappa statistic for Group A was 0.21 and for Group B was 0.39. For categorical data, these scores denote a “fair” level of agreement.
Conclusions
A low level of interrater reliability was found among reviewers of abstracts submitted for presentation at an anesthesiology subspecialty society’s annual meeting. This lack of evaluator agreement is similar to that found for abstract scoring by other medical subspecialties. The low kappa statistic appears to be secondary to use of a narrowly defined nominal scale, which reduced accuracy and variability.
PMCID: PMC4803396  PMID: 27175428
anesthesiology; observer variation; peer review; statistics; societies, medical
20.  Abstract and Concrete Sentences, Embodiment, and Languages 
One of the main challenges of embodied theories is accounting for meanings of abstract words. The most common explanation is that abstract words, like concrete ones, are grounded in perception and action systems. According to other explanations, abstract words, differently from concrete ones, would activate situations and introspection; alternatively, they would be represented through metaphoric mapping. However, evidence provided so far pertains to specific domains. To be able to account for abstract words in their variety we argue it is necessary to take into account not only the fact that language is grounded in the sensorimotor system, but also that language represents a linguistic–social experience. To study abstractness as a continuum we combined a concrete (C) verb with both a concrete and an abstract (A) noun; and an abstract verb with the same nouns previously used (grasp vs. describe a flower vs. a concept). To disambiguate between the semantic meaning and the grammatical class of the words, we focused on two syntactically different languages: German and Italian. Compatible combinations (CC, AA) were processed faster than mixed ones (CA, AC). This is in line with the idea that abstract and concrete words are processed preferentially in parallel systems – abstract in the language system and concrete more in the motor system, thus costs of processing within one system are the lowest. This parallel processing takes place most probably within different anatomically predefined routes. With mixed combinations, when the concrete word preceded the abstract one (CA), participants were faster, regardless of the grammatical class and the spoken language. This is probably due to the peculiar mode of acquisition of abstract words, as they are acquired more linguistically than perceptually. Results confirm embodied theories which assign a crucial role to both perception–action and linguistic experience for abstract words.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00227
PMCID: PMC3173827  PMID: 21954387
abstract concepts; embodiment; social–linguistic experience; cross-language comparison; parallel processing
21.  Reactivity and Selectivity of Charged Phenyl Radicals Toward Amino Acids in a Fourier-Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR) Mass Spectrometer 
The reactivity of ten charged phenyl radicals toward several amino acids was examined in the gas phase in a dual-cell Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer. All radicals abstract a hydrogen atom from the amino acids, as expected. The most electrophilic radicals (with a greater calculated vertical electron affinity (EA) at the radical site) also react with these amino acids via NH2 abstraction (a nonradical nucleophilic addition-elimination reaction). Both the radical (hydrogen atom abstraction) and nonradical (NH2 abstraction) reaction efficiencies were found to increase with the electrophilicity (EA) of the radical. However, NH2 abstraction is more strongly influenced by EA. In contrast to an earlier report, the ionization energies of the amino acids do not appear to play a general reactivity controlling role. Studies using several partially deuterium-labeled amino acids revealed that abstraction of a hydrogen atom from the α-carbon is only preferred for glycine; for the other amino acids, a hydrogen atom is preferentially abstracted from the side chain. The electrophilicity of the radicals does not appear to have a major influence on the site from which the hydrogen atom is abstracted. Hence, the regioselectivity of hydrogen atom abstraction appears to be independent of the structure of the radical but dependent on the structure of the amino acid. Surprisingly, abstraction of two hydrogen atoms was observed for the 3-nitro-5-dehydrophenyl pyridinium radical, indicating that substituents on the radical not only influence the EA of the radical but also can be involved in the reaction. In disagreement with an earlier report, proline was found to display several unprecedented reaction pathways that likely do not proceed via a radical mechanism but rather by a nucleophilic addition-elimination mechanism. Both NH2 and 15NH2 groups were abstracted from lysine labeled with 15N on the side-chain, indicating that NH2 abstraction occurs both from the amino terminus as well as from the side-chain. Quantum chemical calculations were employed to obtain insights into some of the reaction mechanisms.
doi:10.1021/ja111280t
PMCID: PMC3131205  PMID: 21612203
22.  Misrepresentation of Randomized Controlled Trials in Press Releases and News Coverage: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(9):e1001308.
A study conducted by Amélie Yavchitz and colleagues examines the factors associated with “spin” (specific reporting strategies, intentional or unintentional, that emphasize the beneficial effect of treatments) in press releases of clinical trials.
Background
Previous studies indicate that in published reports, trial results can be distorted by the use of “spin” (specific reporting strategies, intentional or unintentional, emphasizing the beneficial effect of the experimental treatment). We aimed to (1) evaluate the presence of “spin” in press releases and associated media coverage; and (2) evaluate whether findings of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) based on press releases and media coverage are misinterpreted.
Methods and Findings
We systematically searched for all press releases indexed in the EurekAlert! database between December 2009 and March 2010. Of the 498 press releases retrieved and screened, we included press releases for all two-arm, parallel-group RCTs (n = 70). We obtained a copy of the scientific article to which the press release related and we systematically searched for related news items using Lexis Nexis.
“Spin,” defined as specific reporting strategies (intentional or unintentional) emphasizing the beneficial effect of the experimental treatment, was identified in 28 (40%) scientific article abstract conclusions and in 33 (47%) press releases. From bivariate and multivariable analysis assessing the journal type, funding source, sample size, type of treatment (drug or other), results of the primary outcomes (all nonstatistically significant versus other), author of the press release, and the presence of “spin” in the abstract conclusion, the only factor associated, with “spin” in the press release was “spin” in the article abstract conclusions (relative risk [RR] 5.6, [95% CI 2.8–11.1], p<0.001). Findings of RCTs based on press releases were overestimated for 19 (27%) reports. News items were identified for 41 RCTs; 21 (51%) were reported with “spin,” mainly the same type of “spin” as those identified in the press release and article abstract conclusion. Findings of RCTs based on the news item was overestimated for ten (24%) reports.
Conclusion
“Spin” was identified in about half of press releases and media coverage. In multivariable analysis, the main factor associated with “spin” in press releases was the presence of “spin” in the article abstract conclusion.
Editors' Summary
Background
The mass media play an important role in disseminating the results of medical research. Every day, news items in newspapers and magazines and on the television, radio, and internet provide the general public with information about the latest clinical studies. Such news items are written by journalists and are often based on information in “press releases.” These short communications, which are posted on online databases such as EurekAlert! and sent directly to journalists, are prepared by researchers or more often by the drug companies, funding bodies, or institutions supporting the clinical research and are designed to attract favorable media attention to newly published research results. Press releases provide journalists with the information they need to develop and publish a news story, including a link to the peer-reviewed journal (a scholarly periodical containing articles that have been judged by independent experts) in which the research results appear.
Why Was This Study Done?
In an ideal world, journal articles, press releases, and news stories would all accurately reflect the results of health research. Unfortunately, the findings of randomized controlled trials (RCTs—studies that compare the outcomes of patients randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions), which are the best way to evaluate new treatments, are sometimes distorted in peer-reviewed journals by the use of “spin”—reporting that emphasizes the beneficial effects of the experimental (new) treatment. For example, a journal article may interpret nonstatistically significant differences as showing the equivalence of two treatments although such results actually indicate a lack of evidence for the superiority of either treatment. “Spin” can distort the transposition of research into clinical practice and, when reproduced in the mass media, it can give patients unrealistic expectations about new treatments. It is important, therefore, to know where “spin” occurs and to understand the effects of that “spin”. In this study, the researchers evaluate the presence of “spin” in press releases and associated media coverage and analyze whether the interpretation of RCT results based on press releases and associated news items could lead to the misinterpretation of RCT results.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 70 press releases indexed in EurekAlert! over a 4-month period that described two-arm, parallel-group RCTs. They used Lexis Nexis, a database of news reports from around the world, to identify associated news items for 41 of these press releases and then analyzed the press releases, news items, and abstracts of the scientific articles related to each press release for “spin”. Finally, they interpreted the results of the RCTs using each source of information independently. Nearly half the press releases and article abstract conclusions contained “spin” and, importantly, “spin” in the press releases was associated with “spin” in the article abstracts. The researchers overestimated the benefits of the experimental treatment from the press release as compared to the full-text peer-reviewed article for 27% of reports. Factors that were associated with this overestimation of treatment benefits included publication in a specialized journal and having “spin” in the press release. Of the news items related to press releases, half contained “spin”, usually of the same type as identified in the press release and article abstract. Finally, the researchers overestimated the benefit of the experimental treatment from the news item as compared to the full-text peer-reviewed article in 24% of cases.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that “spin” in press releases and news reports is related to the presence of “spin” in the abstract of peer-reviewed reports of RCTs and suggest that the interpretation of RCT results based solely on press releases or media coverage could distort the interpretation of research findings in a way that favors experimental treatments. This interpretation shift is probably related to the presence of “spin” in peer-reviewed article abstracts, press releases, and news items and may be partly responsible for a mismatch between the perceived and real beneficial effects of new treatments among the general public. Overall, these findings highlight the important role that journal reviewers and editors play in disseminating research findings. These individuals, the researchers conclude, have a responsibility to ensure that the conclusions reported in the abstracts of peer-reviewed articles are appropriate and do not over-interpret the results of clinical research.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001308.
The PLOS Hub for Clinical Trials, which collects PLOS journals relating to clinical trials, includes some other articles on “spin” in clinical trial reports
EurekAlert is an online free database for science press releases
The UK National Health Service Choices website includes Beyond the Headlines, a resource that provides an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news for both the public and health professionals
The US-based organization HealthNewsReview, a project supported by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, also provides expert reviews of news stories
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001308
PMCID: PMC3439420  PMID: 22984354
23.  ClinicalTrials.gov registration can supplement information in abstracts for systematic reviews: a comparison study 
Background
The inclusion of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reported in conference abstracts in systematic reviews is controversial, partly because study design information and risk of bias is often not fully reported in the abstract. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) requires trial registration of abstracts submitted for their annual conference as of 2007. Our goal was to assess the feasibility of obtaining study design information critical to systematic reviews, but not typically included in conference abstracts, from the trial registration record.
Methods
We reviewed all conference abstracts presented at the ARVO meetings from 2007 through 2009, and identified 496 RCTs; 154 had a single matching registration record in ClinicalTrials.gov. Two individuals independently extracted information from the abstract and the ClinicalTrials.gov record, including study design, sample size, inclusion criteria, masking, interventions, outcomes, funder, and investigator name and contact information. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus. We assessed the frequencies of reporting variables appearing in the abstract and the trial register and assessed agreement of information reported in both sources.
Results
We found a substantial amount of study design information in the ClinicalTrials.gov record that was unavailable in the corresponding conference abstract, including eligibility criteria associated with gender (83%; 128/154); masking or blinding of study participants (53%, 82/154), persons administering treatment (30%, 46/154), and persons measuring the outcomes (40%, 61/154)); and number of study centers (58%; 90/154). Only 34% (52/154) of abstracts explicitly described a primary outcome, but a primary outcome was included in the “Primary Outcome” field in the ClinicalTrials.gov record for 82% (126/154) of studies. One or more study interventions were reported in each abstract, but agreed exactly with those reported in ClinicalTrials.gov only slightly more than half the time (88/154, 56%). We found no contact information for study investigators in the abstract, but this information was available in less than one quarter of ClinicalTrial.gov records (17%; 26/154).
Conclusion
RCT design information not reported in conference abstracts is often available in the corresponding ClinicalTrials.gov registration record. Sometimes there is conflicting information reported in the two sources and further contact with the trial investigators may still be required.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-13-79
PMCID: PMC3689057  PMID: 23773868
24.  Reporting quality in abstracts of meta-analyses of depression screening tool accuracy: a review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses 
BMJ Open  2016;6(11):e012867.
Objective
Concerns have been raised regarding the quality and completeness of abstract reporting in evidence reviews, but this had not been evaluated in meta-analyses of diagnostic accuracy. Our objective was to evaluate reporting quality and completeness in abstracts of systematic reviews with meta-analyses of depression screening tool accuracy, using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) for Abstracts tool.
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Inclusion Criteria
We searched MEDLINE and PsycINFO from 1 January 2005 through 13 March 2016 for recent systematic reviews with meta-analyses in any language that compared a depression screening tool to a diagnosis based on clinical or validated diagnostic interview.
Data extraction
Two reviewers independently assessed quality and completeness of abstract reporting using the PRISMA for Abstracts tool with appropriate adaptations made for studies of diagnostic test accuracy. Bivariate associations of number of PRISMA for Abstracts items complied with (1) journal abstract word limit and (2) A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) scores of meta-analyses were also assessed.
Results
We identified 21 eligible meta-analyses. Only two of 21 included meta-analyses complied with at least half of adapted PRISMA for Abstracts items. The majority met criteria for reporting an appropriate title (95%), result interpretation (95%) and synthesis of results (76%). Meta-analyses less consistently reported databases searched (43%), associated search dates (33%) and strengths and limitations of evidence (19%). Most meta-analyses did not adequately report a clinically meaningful description of outcomes (14%), risk of bias (14%), included study characteristics (10%), study eligibility criteria (5%), registration information (5%), clear objectives (0%), report eligibility criteria (0%) or funding (0%). Overall meta-analyses quality scores were significantly associated with the number of PRISMA for Abstracts scores items reported adequately (r=0.45).
Conclusions
Quality and completeness of reporting were found to be suboptimal. Journal editors should endorse PRISMA for Abstracts and allow for flexibility in abstract word counts to improve quality of abstracts.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012867
PMCID: PMC5128996  PMID: 27864250
PRISMA for Abstracts; diagnostic test accuracy; meta-analyses; screening
25.  Effect of editors’ implementation of CONSORT guidelines on the reporting of abstracts in high impact medical journals: interrupted time series analysis  
Objective To investigate the effect of the CONSORT for Abstracts guidelines, and different editorial policies used by five leading general medical journals to implement the guidelines, on the reporting quality of abstracts of randomised trials.
Design Interrupted time series analysis.
Sample We randomly selected up to 60 primary reports of randomised trials per journal per year from five high impact, general medical journals in 2006-09, if indexed in PubMed with an electronic abstract. We excluded reports that did not include an electronic abstract, and any secondary trial publications or economic analyses. We classified journals in three categories: those not mentioning the guidelines in their instructions to authors (JAMA and New England Journal of Medicine), those referring to the guidelines in their instructions to authors but with no specific policy to implement them (BMJ), and those referring to the guidelines in their instructions to authors with an active policy to implement them (Annals of Internal Medicine and Lancet). Two authors extracted data independently using the CONSORT for Abstracts checklist.
Main outcome Mean number of CONSORT items reported in selected abstracts, among nine items reported in fewer than 50% of the abstracts published across the five journals in 2006.
Results We assessed 955 reports of abstracts of randomised trials. Journals with an active policy to enforce the guidelines showed an immediate increase in the level of mean number of items reported (increase of 1.50 items; P=0.0037). At 23 months after publication of the guidelines, the mean number of items reported per abstract for the primary outcome was 5.41 of nine items, a 53% increase compared with the expected level estimated on the basis of pre-intervention trends. The change in level or trend did not increase in journals with no policy to enforce the guidelines (BMJ, JAMA, and New England Journal of Medicine).
Conclusion Active implementation of the CONSORT for Abstracts guidelines by journals can lead to improvements in the reporting of abstracts of randomised trials.
doi:10.1136/bmj.e4178
PMCID: PMC3382226  PMID: 22730543

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