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Background.  Presentation of scientific information at international meetings is important for the dissemination of new scientific research. It is often assumed that the information contained in an abstract will subsequently be published in a scientific journal in full-length form.

Objective.  The aim of this investigation was to study the publication rate of abstracts presented to the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry (IAPD) congresses in London 1999 and Paris 2001, and factors that predict subsequent publication were also investigated.

Materials and methods.  Abstracts presented at the IAPD congresses were reviewed. A Medline/PubMed search, encompassing 1999–2006, was performed.

Results.  At the two IAPD congresses, a total of 771 abstracts were presented, 231 (30%) as oral presentations, 327 (42%) as poster discussion presentations, and 212 (28%) as poster presentations. During the period studied, 204 (27%) of the 771 abstracts were expanded into articles published in Medline/PubMed indexed journals. The publication ratio for orally presented abstracts was 40%, poster discussion presentation 21%, and for poster presentations 19% (P < 0.0001). The mean time from the congress to publication was 20 months.

Conclusion.  The results of this study show that 40% of orally presented abstracts at IAPD congresses were followed by a subsequent scientific publication in a peer-reviewed journal.