The Publication rates of podium presentations at the annual South African Orthopaedic Association Congress from 2010 to 2015
Background: International literature shows a discrepancy between presentations at annual general orthopaedic meetings and subsequent publication. The aim of this study was to determine the publication rate of manuscripts presented as podium presentations at the South African Orthopaedic Congress (SAOC) from 2010 to 2015.
Materials and methods: All abstracts accepted as podium presentations at the SAOC from years 2010 to 2015 were identified from the archives of the South African Orthopaedic Society (SAOA). Abstract titles and authors were searched using search engines looking for all published manuscripts. The presentations were cross referenced with publications and the conversion ratio from presentation to publication was compared to international results. Sub-analyses included orthopaedic subspecialty performance and publication rates and the types of research conducted. Record was also made of each publication’s journal impact factor and date of publication.
Results: A total of 445 abstracts were accepted for podium presentation by the SAOC from 2010 to 2015. Of these, 70 (15.7%) were published in peer-reviewed journals. The mean time from presentation to publication was 16 months with an average journal impact factor of 1.29. Orthopaedic Trauma (21.67%) and Foot and Ankle Surgery subspecialties (21%) were responsible for the most publications in general. The South African Orthopaedic Journal (44.29%), Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction (6.7%) and the Injury Journal (6.7%) were the three most common publishing journals.
Conclusion: A lower conversion rate from podium presentation at SAOC to publication exists compared to similar published international findings. A poor publication rate was highlighted across all orthopaedic subdisciplines. Half of the publications appeared only in local journals, with just over 8% of presentations reaching international publication. The results suggest there is a need to identify barriers to publication among South African orthopaedic surgeons.
Level of evidence: Level 4