Monday, April 27, 2015

More about abstracts that make it no further

Or do they?  This carries on from an earlier post.

I searched Conference Proceedings Citation Index (Web of Science) for the phrase "antibiotic resistance" in titles, published in 2007.  Many of the results were not abstracts, but papers presented at conferences, something useful to remember.   Refining to meeting abstracts left 34 items.

I searched Science Citation Index and Conference Proceedings Citation Index, for all years, to see if I could find a full paper presenting the same results.  Of course, in CPCI there are no abstracts of abstracts, so without checking the abstract, all I had to compare was the authors and title.   I searched for the first author, using their first initial and truncation, and a word or phrase that seemed significant out of the title.  I was assuming, of course, that the first author was involved in any full paper, which might not be true.  It might be better to use all the authors, combined with OR.  Some of them would be the same.   I am also assuming that the full paper would have a similar title to the conference abstract.

For three of the abstracts, there were no other results.

For one, there was one possible match, involving all four authors (but not listed in the same order), but the full paper had a more specific title, although one that could fit the abstract.  The abstract was titled "Antibiotic resistance and penicillin tolerance in clinical isolates of group B streptococcl", and the paper (published two years later) "Antibiotic resistance and penicillin tolerance in ano-vaginal group B streptococci".  The two were not in the same journal.

Interestingly, although a bit of an aside, that abstract title does really say "streptococcl" with an L.  If you search for titles containing that word, you find one other, and WoS suggests that you meant "streptococcAl", with a link to 9000+ results.   I shall report both streptococcl titles!  You would find the paper with other search terms, as correct spellings would appear in the abstract and keywords, but possibly a different story with the meeting abstract.

For one other of the five I searched, I am fairly confident I found a match, different journal, published in 2013, same two authors in the same order, and an abstract that indicates that the data was collected in 2005-2006.

So tiny sample, and problems with methodology, but 1/5 of the abstracts made it to a full paper (and therefore a presentation of the full data), and another 1/5 might have done but we would need to check both items in full to be sure.   The other 3 (methodological problems excepted) went no further. 

Another thought about contacting the authors - I was wondering what exactly the students had said, or asked.   Would it make a difference how specific they were when asking for data, or what language they used?

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