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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 817-824

Do radiation oncologists publish what they present? An observational analysis of abstracts presented at the radiation oncology congresses in Turkey: A young radiation oncologists group study

1 Radiation Oncology Clinic, Marmara University Pendik Education and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
2 Radiation Oncology Clinic, Kartal Dr. Lütfi Kırdar City Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Date of Submission06-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance12-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication16-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. M F Eren
Marmara University Pendik Education and Research Hospital, Radiation Oncology Clinic, 34899 Istanbul
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njcp.njcp_1794_21

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Background: The publication rate of abstracts is a measure of the quality of scientific meetings. Aims: The present study aimed to determine the radiation oncologists' publication rates of abstracts presented at the National Radiation Oncology Congresses (UROK) and National Cancer Congresses (UKK) and identify the top journals that published these studies. Materials and Methods: We reviewed the abstracts presented at UROK and UKK, held between 2013 and 2017. To retrieve any publications originating from the presented abstracts, we searched the match terms in the public databases, including PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, The Turkish Academic Network, and Information Center (ULAKBIM). We evaluated the articles' publication dates and peer-review history and noted the journals' impact factors. Results: Three thousand seven hundred six abstracts were accepted for presentation; 1178 papers met the study criteria and were included in the analyses. There were 297 oral and 881 poster presentations. The overall publication rate was 18.9%. The median time to publication was 12 months. The studies were published in 94 scientific journals with a median impact factor of 1.28. Breast cancer and lung cancer studies had the highest publication rates among all subspecialties (15.2%). Retrospective studies had higher publication rates than those with other study designs (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Almost 20% of abstracts presented at UROK and UKK were converted into full-text publications. Most of the abstracts achieved publication within 2 years from the presentation. Oral presentations had a significantly higher publication rate than poster presentations, reflecting their higher quality. The authors' affiliations and the study designs were among the significant factors that determine publication success.

Keywords: Abstract, annual congress, impact factor, publication rate, radiation oncology

How to cite this article:
Eren M F, Eren A A. Do radiation oncologists publish what they present? An observational analysis of abstracts presented at the radiation oncology congresses in Turkey: A young radiation oncologists group study. Niger J Clin Pract 2022;25:817-24

How to cite this URL:
Eren M F, Eren A A. Do radiation oncologists publish what they present? An observational analysis of abstracts presented at the radiation oncology congresses in Turkey: A young radiation oncologists group study. Niger J Clin Pract [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 5];25:817-24. Available from:

   Introduction Top

The Turkish Society of Radiation Oncology (TROD) is the largest professional association dedicated to advancing radiation oncology in Turkey. TROD was founded in 1993 to encourage discussions and knowledge sharing between various clinical and research specialties involved in radiation oncology. In addition to developing professional, scientific, and social relationships, the TROD sponsors many scientific meetings, National Radiation Oncology Congresses (UROK), and National Cancer Congresses (UKK). Researchers are invited to deliver their abstracts as posters or oral presentations.

Scientific presentations at annual meetings are the primary source of sharing new research findings with the scientific community.[1],[2] In addition, the environment serves as a hub for peer discussions, which is often beneficial for the authors because they can use critiques and feedback on their presentations to improve the quality of their studies before submission for complete publication in a journal. The publication rate of abstracts is a common and widely accepted indicator for determining a scientific meeting's quality. A Cochrane meta-analysis published in 2018 showed that the publication rate of the abstracts presented from various disciplines was 37.3%.[3] Publication rates of meeting abstracts have been investigated in different medical specialties, such as orthopedics, urology, anesthesia, surgery, pediatrics, oncology, emergency medicine, radiology, psychiatry, and ophthalmology. In Turkey, the publication rates for oral or poster presentations submitted to congresses from various medical specialties ranged from 9.4% to 29.3%.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8]

To our knowledge, this is the first report evaluating abstract conversion rates from the UROK and the UKK. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the radiation oncologists' future publication rates for studies presented as abstracts at both the UROK and UKK in peer-reviewed journals. Our secondary objectives were to assess the median time to publication, identify factors that might predict the publication success for various scientific designs, and provide guidance for developing strategies to improve the quality of work in the field of radiation oncology.

   Materials and Methods Top

Radiation oncology abstracts selected for oral and poster presentations at the UROK and UKK annual meetings from January 2013 to December 2017 were reviewed retrospectively. We declare that we have obtained institutional research board approval for this study. [The study's ethics committee approval was obtained from Kartal Dr. Lütfi Kırdar City Hospital (No. 514/148/18 on, February 27.02.2019)].

First, the titles of the abstracts and first author names were entered into the database. Next, the oral and poster abstracts were grouped separately according to the year of presentation. Finally, we conducted a comprehensive literature search using three international electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar) and one Turkish electronic database (ULAKBIM) to find each accepted abstract. Abstract titles and author names were used to identify whether an abstract resulted in a peer-reviewed publication. The titles and author names were searched individually, beginning with the authors' names in PubMed. Based on the studies,[1],[9],[10],[11],[12] abstracts were deemed unpublished if no matching full-length article was determined in PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and ULAKBIM. Authors of the abstracts were not contacted to elicit whether the research had been published in databases as mentioned above.

Following data retrieval, the year of publication was recorded. For abstracts published as an article before the presentation at the conference, the time span until publication in months was assigned a value of 0. Next, the number of accepted abstracts, publication rates, the median time to publication, and publication rate within 2 years of conference presentation were calculated for each annual meeting. Next, the journals in which the full-text articles were published were scored. Journal impact factors (JIF) were identified from the Journal Citation Reports website ( in April 2019. Finally, median JIF was calculated. The JIF for journals in which no ranking could be found was set to zero. deem.

In this analysis, study designs were divided into retrospective and prospective studies, case reports, cross-sectional studies, cohort studies, and animal studies. The presenting authors' affiliations were categorized into university, education and research hospitals, and state hospitals. Physical studies and studies in which the first author was not a radiation oncologist were excluded from the analyses. Other exclusion criteria included studies conducted outside Turkey, studies in which radiotherapy was not employed, and studies in which no Turkish radiation oncologist was a co-author.

Statistical analysis

The primary outcome was calculated as the percentage of all the included abstracts published in peer-reviewed journals. SPSS version 23, IBM, Armonk, NY, USA was used to assess the results. Data are presented as medians with interquartile ranges (IQRs) for continuous variables and percentages for categorical variables. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used to identify the distribution of variables normally. The Chi-square test was used to compare categorical variables, whereas the Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis test were used to compare continuous variables. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05, using a confidence interval of 95%.

   Results Top

From January 2013 to December 2017, 3706 abstracts were accepted for presentation at the UROK and UKK; 1178 papers met the criteria and were analyzed. Of these, 297 (25.2%) were oral presentations and 881 (74.8%) were poster presentations. A total of 223 (18.9%) abstracts were published as original articles in journals indexed in at least one major database: PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, or ULAKBIM. Among these, 10 (4.5%) abstracts were published before the congresses. The corresponding publication rates for abstract presentations per year were 16.59% in 2013, 32.29% in 2014, 16.59% in 2015, 20.18% in 2016, and 14.35% in 2017 [Figure 1]. The 2014 UROK meeting had the highest (32.29%), and the 2017 UKK had the lowest (14.35%) publication rates for the presented abstracts. The total publication rates in peer-reviewed journals for abstracts in the oral presentation were significantly higher than those in the poster presentations (29 vs. 15.6%; odds ratio [OR]: 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.62 to 3.01; P < 0.000).
Figure 1: Publication rate of abstracts presented at the National Radiation Oncology Congresses (UROK) and National Cancer Congresses (UKK) from 2013 to 2017

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A total of 223 identified articles were published in 94 journals. The top journals ranked according to publication numbers of the studies presented as abstracts were the Turkish Journal of Oncology (28), Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (20), Tumori Journal (8), and Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics (7). A list of journals published over the two articles is presented in [Table 1]. 36.3% were published in the science citation index expanded (SCI-E), 17% were published in science citation index (SCI), 28.3% were published in international journals, and 7.6% were published in national journals indexed in the ULAKBİM database. Among the abstracts published in journals with a JIF (n = 132), the median JIF value was 1.28 (IQR: 0–2.2), and the mean JIF was 3.14 ± 5.04 (range: 0.126–32.956). We stratified publishing journals according to JIF.[9] The percentages of the abstracts published in those with a JIF <1, between 1 and 3, and >3 were 46.2%, 39%, and 14.8%, respectively. Thirty-three published journals did not have a calculated JIF. Oral presentations were published in journals with a median JIF of 1.96 (IQR: 1.43–3.02), which was higher than that of the poster 1.85 (IQR: 1.32–3.11).
Table 1: Journals in which abstracts were subsequently published as a scientific paper (> 3 papers)

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The median time from presentation to publication was 12 months (IQR: 12–24; range: 0–72 months), and the mean time was 18.89 ± 12.95 months [Figure 2]. Individually, the median time to publication was 12 months (range: 0–72 months) for oral abstracts and 12 months (range: 0–60 months) for poster presentations. Thus, approximately 82% were published within 2 years, and more than 95% were published within 4 years. The number of accepted abstracts, publication rate, the median time to publication, and publication rate within 2 years of conference presentation were calculated for each annual conference. These data are summarized in [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]. Of the published abstracts identified, ten (two oral and eight poster abstracts) had already achieved journal publication (online ahead of print or in print) before presentation at the conference and were designated with a value of 0 months. These abstracts accounted for 4.5% (10 223) of the total publications.
Figure 2: The average publication time

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Table 2: Oral abstracts from the UROK versus UKK 2013 to 2017 Conferences

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Table 3: Poster abstracts from the UROK versus UKK 2013 to 2017 Conferences

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Table 4: Oral manuscript presentations: UROK and UKK, 2013 to 2017

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Table 5: Poster presentations: UROK and UKK, 2013 to 2017

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The publication status of the abstracts accepted by UROK was significantly higher than that accepted by the UKK (19.5% vs. 18.4%; P < 0.001). Although not statistically significant, the review of published presentations in terms of institution showed that university hospitals had the highest ratio of publications (19.6%), followed by presentations from education and research hospitals (18%) and state hospitals (8.8%). While the rate of oral presentations from universities among the total number of oral presentations was 19.1% in 5 years, the rate from education and research hospitals was 5.5%.

We compared the abstracts according to study type. Retrospective studies were dominant among all presentations, with a rate of 61.3% for oral presentations and 51.4% for posters. Analysis of study types showed that 53.9% were retrospective studies, 23.2% were case reports, and 10.8% were prospective studies. When the published abstracts were evaluated, retrospective studies (68.2%) and prospective studies (13.5%) had the highest publication rates (P < 0.001). The journals' median JIF values that published retrospective and prospective clinical studies were 1.33 (IQR: 0–2.2) and 0.67 (IQR: 0–2.07).

The median value for the number of co-authors was 6 (IQR: 4–8). No significant correlation was observed between the number of co-authors and the publication rates. Abstracts with a greater number of authors (over six authors) had a higher chance of publication. The number of co-authors did not affect the impact factor obtained in journals for abstracts that were subsequently published. Concerning the field of the investigations, the most common topics for published research were breast cancer (15.2%) and lung cancer (15.2%), followed by head and neck cancer (13%) [Figure 3]. We also found that abstracts describing studies with multiple centers rather than a single center were more likely to lead to complete publication (23.6%–16.6%). However, concerning the number of centers involved in the presented studies, 69% of the poster presentations and 55% of the oral presentations were single-center studies.
Figure 3: Proportion of published research by specialty topic

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   Discussion Top

Our results showed that 18.9% of studies presented as abstracts (29% oral abstracts and 15.6% poster abstracts) were upgraded to full-text articles. The publication rates in other disciplines were higher than those observed in the present study. In the last systematic review of 307,028 meeting abstracts, Scherer et al.[3] reported that the publication rate of abstracts for many clinical specialties was 37.3%. Abstracts were published within 2 years of meetings. However, most studies presented at national or international scientific congresses do not return to full publications. National congresses for clinical sciences had a publication rate of 30.2% for psychiatry,[6] 29.7% for general surgery,[7] 21.9% for head and neck surgery,[5] and 9.4% for radiology.[4] However, the overall publication rates for international congress presentations vary between 23.6% and 65% for international congresses.[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18]

Several explanations for the low publication rates were considered in the current study. First, language could be a barrier to international peer-reviewed journals for Turkish investigators. Previous studies reported that author origin (from non-English-speaking countries vs. English-speaking countries) impacted abstract publication rates. Most journals are published in English, and researchers from English-speaking countries may have a clear advantage in articulating their findings and making their manuscripts more acceptable for publication.[19] Second, the scarcity of prospective studies might have affected the publication rate of abstracts (54% to 25%, retrospective and prospective studies, respectively). Third, studies of lower-quality design had a lower chance of publication as a full article. Randomized controlled studies, multi-center cohorts, large sample size research, and oral presentations are associated with a higher chance of publication and considered higher-quality abstracts.[20]

The publication process for high-quality journals requires a high level of scrutiny by both authors and editors, which requires a huge investment and effort. Of the 223 abstracts, ten abstracts (4.5%) were published as articles before the meeting. The median time to publication was 12 months, similar to that reported in previous studies on medical meetings.[12],[14],[18] However, there was a significant difference in comparing published abstracts regarding time to publication and presentation type. Oral and poster presentation abstracts were published in journals within a median period of 12 months. Oral presentations had higher publication rates than poster presentations and had a higher median JIF value. Our findings support previous systematic reviews and recent studies in which oral presentations were more likely to be published than poster presentations because of pre-conference peer review and selection of the highest quality abstracts for oral presentation (P < 0.001). However, different selection criteria and types of research presented (original research, case reports, etc.) between oral and poster abstracts should be considered in interpreting these results.

Congress abstracts' publication rates have been higher for presentations originating from university hospitals. This finding can be explained by the relatively higher motivation and academic goals of university-based researchers responsible for medical school students' education and resident training. Radiation oncology residency programs in Europe and the United States of America (USA) are significant components of the program and lead to clinical research competence.[21],[22] The resident training program offers publication skills for radiation oncologists that can be improved during their residency, but their practice leaves limited research time. While radiation oncology residents in the USA have 6–12 months of protected research time, Turkish residents have no structured time for research during their training period. Residency programs should provide adequate protected research time to increase productivity. One of the most critical challenges in publishing is language barriers. Researchers often experience language barriers when writing a non-native language. In addition, residents must learn how to interpret and apply statistical data. Training in statistics should be provided as part of a residency program, or new attending physicians should seek guidance on analyzing and interpreting statistical results. Having a proper research environment is as important as having adequate time. Strong mentorship has been shown to increase mentee productivity, clinical skills, and career preparation.[23],[24],[25],[26] Residents who took part in a formal mentorship framework were much more likely to report satisfaction with their mentoring experience than those who did not.[21] A survey of radiation oncology residency graduates in the United States found that “faculty mentorship” was the factor most highly valued in respondents' residency experience.[27],[28] Therefore, radiation oncology residency programs should intensely implement formal mentorship programs to increase research productivity.

In the global analysis of radiotherapy research, Aggarwal et al.[29] analyzed 25 leading countries with the highest publications globally. The authors stated that these countries produced 96% of radiation oncology publications, with 62,550 articles. 32.2 Of all publications, 32.2% were from the USA. Significant increases in research output were seen in middle-income countries, including India, Brazil, Turkey, and Iran, although their overall contribution to total worldwide radiation therapy research remains small. For example, between 2001 and 2015, Turkey published 796 articles out of a total of 62.550 (1.27%). Turkey contributed 1.3% of all oncology research outputs worldwide.[29] Turkey's relative commitment to radiation therapy research was therefore 1.27/1.3 = 0.97. When subjects' distribution was examined in the same analysis, they found that approximately half of all publications comprised combined treatment regimens and dose-fraction studies, and 10% included palliative care and quality of life studies in Turkey. Aggarwal et al.[29] in their study also found that 6 of 1065 phase II studies and 10 of 1367 phase III studies conducted worldwide were produced in Turkey. This kind of investigation led by Turkish scientists is rare because of ethical and economic reasons, compared to many phase II-III trials and prospective studies conducted in developed European countries, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands. We identified 223 papers published between 2013 and 2017, most of which were retrospective. There were no phase clinical trials among the papers, and the rate of prospective studies was only 10.8%. There were a limited number of prospective studies, likely due to a shortage of funding. Although some universities provide internal research budgets to support prospective studies, the amount is insufficient to conduct high-quality research.

The majority of full-text published articles from the current overview were accepted in the following journals: Turkish Journal of Oncology (12.5%), Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (9%), Tumori journal (3.5%), and the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics (3.1%). The mean impact factor of the articles published in peer-reviewed journals was 3.14, similar to the mean impact factor for publications of studies originating from abstracts presented at other European congresses.[14],[15],[16],[18] Although JIF has limitations, it is still considered the most common indicator used to grade a medical journal's quality.[30]

The present study has several limitations. First, abstracts from only two national meetings were included in the radiation oncology. We evaluated the publication rates of abstracts only for UROK and UKK. The second limitation is that authors may have multiple identifiers, especially for women who change their last names following a marriage or divorce, making it particularly difficult to match publications.[31] Third, several factors that can influence research publications were not evaluated, such as abstract results,[32] abstract quality,[31] and sample size.

Further studies are necessary to clarify the relationship between publication rates and abstract presentations at radiation oncology congresses. To our knowledge, this is the first group study of the “Young Radiation Oncologists Group” (GROG) in this regard. GROG was established within TROD in 2017. The purpose of GROG was to increase the sharing of knowledge among radiation oncologists, produce more studies, and publish the studies quickly. The results shed light on studies conducted after the GROG was established in 2017.

   Conclusion Top

The combined publication rate of abstracts presented at UROK and UKK was 18.9%. Further studies of scientific meetings for radiation oncology in other countries are needed to evaluate the external validity of our findings. The publication rate of these congresses was lower than the average of all previously studied scientific conferences. Therefore, we conclude that critical strategic evaluations are necessary to improve the publication yield.


Both authors contributed equally to this study. The authors would like to thank Dr. Yavuz Anacak, the Turkish Society for Radiation Oncology president, for his assistance in the study conduct, and Dr. Ahmet Özen for critically reviewing an earlier draft of this paper.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

Mehmet Fuat Eren and Ayfer Ay Eren declare that they have no competing interests.

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]


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