Quality Assessment of Abstracts of the International Congress of Nephrology and Urology (ICNU 2015)

AUTHORS

Alireza Mehrazmay 1 , Mahmood Salesi 2 , Alireza Karambakhsh 1 , *

1 Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

2 Nephrology and Urology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

How to Cite: Mehrazmay A, Salesi M, Karambakhsh A. Quality Assessment of Abstracts of the International Congress of Nephrology and Urology (ICNU 2015), Nephro-Urol Mon. 2017 ; 9(5):e62145. doi: 10.5812/numonthly.62145.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Nephro-Urology Monthly: 9 (5); e62145
Published Online: September 7, 2017
Article Type: Brief Report
Received: January 1, 2016
Revised: June 14, 2016
Accepted: July 3, 2017
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Abstract

Background: There are some legislated criteria for improving the quality of articles’ abstract presentation.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate oral and poster abstracts submitted at the first International Congress of Nephrology and Urology, held in Tehran during June, 2015.

Methods: One hundred and forty-eight abstracts were assessed by 2 reviewers. Using the 19-item Timer checklist, the researchers examined the study design, number of au-thors, field of study, and language and quality score for each abstract. The comparisons between groups were done using the Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests by SPSS software with P values of less than 0.05 considered as significant.

Results: The quality score mean of all articles of congress was 0.65±0.14. Structured abstracts (P = 0.026), articles of student field (P value = 0.032), and of human observational design (P value = 0.007) had a significantly better quality score. The best average score of the Timer checklist was related to subjects' appropriateness for the study question (1.89 ± 0.35) and the worst was related to method and appropriateness of subjective selection (0.89 ± 0.84).

Discussion: Developing a specific quality scale for basic studies, assessing articles stricter before acceptance and necessitating authors to write their abstracts in structured form are required.

1. Background

To improve the presentation of abstracts, a standard structure and quality score has been suggested for journals and congress posters (1), and many studies have evaluated the quality and congruency of structured abstracts with the main text (2-6).

On the other hand, the first place in which articles are presented, are usually congresses. A review showed that from all abstracts initially presented at professional meetings, the ratio of subsequently published peer-reviewed journal articles are 44.5% and 63.1% for all studies and randomized or controlled clinical trials, respectively. Thus, probable publication bias (7) makes abstracts of congress important.

2. Objectives

The aim of this study was to evaluate abstracts submitted at the first international congress of nephrology and urology, which was held in Tehran during June, 2015.

3. Methods

The international congress of nephrology and urology was successfully held in Tehran on 10th to 12th of June 2015 by 148 accepted oral or poster abstracts in the fields of urology, nephrology, and student. All of the report qualities were assessed by 2 reviewers using the 19-item Timer checklist (1). This checklist is a reliable, valid, and applicable instrument and most useful in clinical research settings (1). This checklist is comprised of 19 items. For each item, a maximum of 2 points is awarded (0 if not met, 1 if partially met, and 2 if fully met). The quality score, which ranges from 0 to 1, was calculated by dividing the final abstract score (the sum of study score and design) to expected final score.

The researchers examined study design, number of authors, field of study, language, and quality score for each abstract. The quality score of reports was presented as mean ± standard deviation (SD). The comparisons between groups were done using the Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests by the SPSS software (P value < 0.05 considered statistically significant).

4. Results

One hundred and thirty-six structured and twelve unstructured abstracts with a quality score mean of 0.65 ± 0.14 were accepted in the congress. Structured abstracts had significantly better quality score than unstructured ones (P = 0.026).

The most common design and field of study were “human observational study” (54.7%) and “nephrology” (49.3%), respectively. The articles of “student” field (P value = 0.032) and “human basic” design (P value = 0.007) had the highest quality score means. Quality score of observational studies (basic or human studies) were higher than interventional studies (Table 1).

Table 1. Abstract Characteristics According to Status
CharacterStatusNo. (%)Quality Score (Mean ± SD)P Value
FieldUrology54 (36.5)0.64 ± 0.140.032
Nephrology73 (49.3)0.63 ± 0.14
Student21 (14.2)0.72 ± 0.11
Study designHuman interventional17(11.5)0.65 ± 0.110.007
Human observational81 (54.7)0.68 ± 0.11
Basic interventional22 (14.9)0.61 ± 0.11
Basic observational4 (2.7)0.69 ± 0.14
Other24 (16.2)0.56 ± 0.20
Number of authors1 - 243 (29.1)0.65 ± 0.140.88
3 - 471 (48)0.64 ± 0.12
≥ 534 (23)0.65 ± 0.16
Language Persian12 (8.1)0.65 ± 0.080.80
English136(91.9)0.65 ± 0.14
Structure of abstractStructured136 (91.8)0.66 ± 0.110.026
Non- Structured12 (8.9)0.50 ± 0.25

The highest score of common items of the Timer checklist was related to “subjects appropriateness for the study question” (average score: 1.89 ± 0.35) and the lowest was related to method and appropriateness of subjective selection (average score: 0.89 ± 0.84) (Table 2).

Table 2. The Average Score of Common Items Among All Study Designs (Range 0 to 2)a
Abstract Quality Assessment ItemsScore
Subjects appropriate for the study Question1.89 ± 0.35
Question/objective sufficiently described1.85 ± 0.44
Do the results support the conclusion?1.7 ± 0.57
Design evident and appropriate to answer the study question1.8 ± 0.43
Results reported in sufficient details1.51 ± 0.58
Method of subjective selection described and appropriate0.89 ± 0.84
Subject characteristics sufficiently described1.37 ± 0.59

aValues are expressed as mean ± SD.

5. Discussion

The overall quality score mean of ICNU, 2015 was 0.65 ± 0.14. The highest and lowest scores were related to “subjects’ appropriateness for the study question” and “method of subjective selection described and appropriate”, respectively. This shows proper approaches to study question and targeted population yet weak selection and description method. Reporting quality of “student” field was better than other fields, perhaps due to more serious consideration of standards and longer time spent for writing the article. Also, interventional studies had the lowest quality score when compared with observational studies and this shows that authors of interventional studies focused on execution of the study.

Nourbala et al. (8) and Hosseini (9) assessed abstracts of the IXth (held during year 2004 in Ankara) and Xth (held during year 2006 in Kowait) congress of the Middle East society for organ transplantation (MESOT) using the Timer checklist. Mean quality score of all abstracts for these two studies and the current study were 0.60 ± 0.11, 0.67 ± 0.12, and 0.65 ± 0.14 respectively.

A strong point of the current study was the assessment of all abstracts and having 2 reviewers with standardization. A limitation of this study was that 26 (17.5%) studies were basic and that the Timer et al. checklist has some limitations (1). However, the researchers used this checklist for faster assessment and comparison with similar studies.

5.1. Conclusions

The abstracts presented by ICNU 2015 had acceptable quality score, especially those of “student” field and “observational” type. Developing a specific quality scale for basic studies, stricter assessment of articles before acceptance, and necessitating authors to write structured abstracts will improve future congresses.

Acknowledgements

Footnote

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