Objectives Concerns have been raised about poor-quality palliative care research and low publication rate from conference abstracts. The study objectives: to estimate the publication rate for European Association for Palliative Care research conference abstracts (2008) and explore associated characteristics and to understand reasons for non-publication.
Methods Full published papers were searched to March 2015 (Medline; Pubmed; Google Scholar) and data extracted: country of origin, study design/population/topic. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of publication.
Members of two different palliative care associations were surveyed to understand reasons for non-publication. χ2 statistic was used to explore associations with publication.
Results Overall publication rate of the 445 proffered abstracts was 57%. In the final model, publication was more likely for oral presentations (OR 2.13; 95% CI 1.28 to 3.55; P=0.003), those from Europe (3.24; 1.09 to 9.56; P=0.033) and much less likely for non-cancer topics (0.21; 0.07 to 0.64; P=0.006). Funding status, academic unit or study design were not associated with publication.
Survey 407/1546 (26.3%) physicians responded of whom 254 (62%) had submitted a conference abstract. Full publication was associated with: oral presentation (P<0.001), international conference abstracts (P=0.01) and academic clinicians versus clinicians (P<0.001). Reasons for non-publication included: low priority for workload (53%) and time constraints (43%).
Conclusions The publication rate was similar to 2005 clinical conference. Probable quality markers were associated with publication: oral presentations selected by conference committee, international conference abstracts and abstracts from those with an academic appointment. Publication was given a low priority among clinical time pressures.
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Contributors SH had the concept; SH, MJJ, EC, MK, PA and DC designed the study and survey; SH, MK,EC, PA and SA searched and extracted data; SH, MJJ, SA and DC conducted the survey; ME conducted the regression analysis; all contributed to data interpretation; SH wrote the first draft and all contributed to writing subsequent drafts and approved the final manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.
Ethics approval The Hull York Medical School.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement Data are available only for the authors.