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SIR Policy on Abstract or Presentation Discrepancy
Abstracts are a part of the citable literature on interventional radiology.
The quality of abstracts accepted for the SIR sponsored meetings directly impacts upon how the Society itself is viewed. Currently the SIR Annual Meeting is the premier forum for the interventional community. The quality of this and other society-sponsored meetings is a direct result of the quality of the presentations. Any blemish on the honesty or validity of the presentations diminishes the status of the meeting and the Society that produces it.
Abstracts may be the only exposure to the authors' work available to those not attending the presentation. A larger audience than the attendees views abstracts. Since scientific abstracts are a part of the medical literature, patient care decisions or future research may potentially be made based on the abstract results or conclusions. Erroneous abstract information may lead to sub-optimal patient care decisions.
A policy on abstract discrepancy should be structured to address truly unethical research practices, and reviews will adhere to principles of due process.
Definition of Discrepancies
A definition of discrepancy must take into account that there is a significant time interval between the deadline for abstract submission and the time of the actual presentation. During this time period, additional patients may be accrued or procedures performed that may be beneficial to add into the cohort of patients reported. Addition of patients/procedures into a study may strengthen the conclusions of the study or may change the conclusions. If the conclusions in the abstract are altered by the additional data, it might be considered unethical to fail to report such changes since patient care decisions or future research may be based on the reported data.
Thus, a discrepancy will be defined as:
Any unexplained deletion of data from the original abstract.
Any unexplained change in the totals, percentages, or statistics that cannot be accounted for by the simple addition of more patients or procedures.
Obvious changes in the data indicating that the abstract had been written before the data were actually acquired.
Discovery of Discrepancies
If an author(s) discovers a discrepancy prior to the meeting, he or she is encouraged to contact the Scientific Program Chair to discuss the options. Session moderators will be the primary source of reporting of discrepancies. If the moderator has a concern about a possible discrepancy, the moderator should ask the speaker for clarification of the presented data immediately after the scientific session. If an attendee believes that there is a significant discrepancy, he or she may independently report it to the SIR Scientific Program Chair.
Any perception of possible discrepancies should be reported to the Scientific Program Chair. A complaint should include the complainant's name, identification of the abstract in question, the session in which the presentation occurred, the name of the presenter, and the moderator's name. The nature of the discrepancy should be described in detail including specific discrepancies in the numbers, findings, or conclusions reported and how they differed from the abstract. The person filing the complaint should also indicate what manner of discrepancy they suspect has occurred (i.e., data from abstract were eliminated, abstract written before data acquired, etc.).
The author(s) will be contacted by the Scientific Program Chair to notify them of the complaint and to verify that the numbers, statistics, findings, or conclusions in question are what they actually reported. The author(s) will be asked to provide in writing (within 2 weeks) an explanation of the apparent discrepancy between the data published in the abstract and that presented at the meeting. The program chairman will then forward the initial material to the SIR Ethics Committee for further review pursuant to the disciplinary procedures set forth above (except as otherwise specified below). If no significant discrepancy is found, the Ethics Committee will transmit their decision to the author(s) as well as the SIR Office, the Scientific Program Chair, and the Executive Council. If a significant discrepancy is found, the Ethics Committee will submit their decision to the Executive Council with recommendations for disciplinary action. The author(s) shall be notified by registered mail to ensure receipt by the author(s).
If the author(s) disagree with the review judgment, the author(s) may file an Appeal to the Executive Council. An appeal should include the author's explanation of why they believe no discrepancy existed or if there was a discrepancy, how it occurred without unethical conduct. The Executive Council shall follow the disciplinary procedures set forth above in reviewing the author's appeal, except as otherwise specified below.
Timeliness is crucial to proper resolution of any report of discrepancies. Reports should be filed within one week of the end of the meeting. The review should be completed and a report filed within two months. If an appeal is to be filed, the author(s) must submit the appeal within two weeks of notification of the review judgment.
If an author(s) is found to be in violation of the policies, the author(s) will be subject to the disciplinary options outlined above. In addition, the author(s) will not be allowed to submit abstracts to SIR sponsored meetings for a period of up to three years. Also, an erratum may be published in JVIR to serve as a correction of the abstract previously published in the JVIR Program Supplement. Copies of the Ethics Committees and Executive Council's disciplinary action will be forwarded to the department chairman of the author's institution.