Women and non-academic institutions less likely to get work published

Fascinating study in the European Heart Journal this week. Winnik et al analyzed all 10,020 abstracts submitted to the World Congress of Cardiology 2006 in Barcelona (which combined the ESC and World Heart Federation congresses) according to whether they were accepted or rejected for presentation and whether accepted studies were oral or poster presentations. Of these, 3104 (31%) were accepted as posters and 701 (7%) for oral presentation.

Introduction and Methods: Through a 4-year follow-up of the abstracts submitted to the European Society of Cardiology Congress in 2006, we aimed at identifying factors predicting high-quality research, appraising the quality of the peer review and editorial processes, and thereby revealing potential ways to improve future research, peer review, and editorial work.Methods and resultsAll abstracts submitted in 2006 were assessed for acceptance, presentation format, and average reviewer rating. Accepted and rejected studies were followed for 4 years. Multivariate regression analyses of a representative selection of 10% of all abstracts (n= 1002) were performed to identify factors predicting acceptance, subsequent publication, and citation. A total of 10 020 abstracts were submitted, 3104 (31%) were accepted for poster, and 701 (7%) for oral presentation.

Results: At Congress level, basic research, a patient number ≥ 100, and prospective study design were identified as independent predictors of acceptance. These factors differed from those predicting full-text publication, which included academic affiliation. The single parameter predicting frequent citation was study design with randomized controlled trials reaching the highest citation rates. The publication rate of accepted studies was 38%, whereas only 24% of rejected studies were published. Among published studies, those accepted at the Congress received higher citation rates than rejected ones.

Conclusions: Research of high quality was determined by study design and largely identified at Congress level through blinded peer review. The scientometric follow-up revealed a marked disparity between predictors of full-text publication and those predicting citation or acceptance at the Congress.

Commenting on their findings for the heart.org, the authors stated that:

Female senior authors are 50% less likely than males to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal and that nonacademic institutions are less likely than academic ones to have research published.

Any thoughts on this? I think this reinforces the need for double blinded reviewing.