Is publication bias present in gastroenterological research? An analysis of abstracts presented at an annual congress

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Background. Publication bias is the tendency of investigators, reviewers, and ed- itors to submit or accept manuscripts for publication based on their direction or strength of findings. In this study, we investigated if publication bias was present in gastroenterological research by evaluating abstracts at Americas Hepato-Pancreato- Biliary Congresses from 2011 to 2013. Methods. We searched Google, Google Scholar, and PubMed to locate the published reports of research described in these abstracts. If a publication was not found, a second investigator searched to verify nonpublication. If abstract publication status remained undetermined, authors were contacted regarding reasons for nonpublication. For articles reaching publication, the P value, study design, time to publication, citation count, and journals in which the published report appeared were recorded. Results. Our study found that of 569 abstracts presented, 297 (52.2%) reported a P value. Of these, 254 (85.5%) contained P values supporting statistical significance. The abstracts reporting a statistically significant outcome were twice as likely to reach publication than abstracts with no significant findings (OR 2.10, 95% CI [1.06-4.14]). Overall, 243 (42.7%) abstracts reached publication. The mean time to publication was 14 months and a median time of nine months. Conclusion. In conclusion, we found evidence for publication bias in gastroenterolog- ical research. Abstracts with significant P values had a higher probability of reaching publication. More than half of abstracts presented from 2011 to 2013 failed to reach publication. Readers should take these findings into consideration when reviewing medical literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4995
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2018


  • Abstracts
  • Congress
  • Gastroenterology
  • Publication
  • Publication bias


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