|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 142-144
Higher acceptance rates for abstracts written in english at a national research student meeting in a non-english speaking country
Afshin Khani, Amin Zarghami, Fatemeh Izadpanah, Hamid Mahdizadeh, Leila Golestanifar
Student Research Committee, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Mazandaran, Iran
|Date of Web Publication||21-Nov-2015|
Ganjafrouz Avenue, Babol University of Medical Science, Babol, Mazandaran
Source of Support: This study was supported by the deputy of research and
technology of Babol University of Medical Sciences., Conflict of Interest: None
Background: The rate of English-written submissions is increasing in local meetings of non-English speaking countries. However, it seems that the quality of research and methodology of the studies has not progressed. This study aimed to evaluate the association of English writing and the acceptance for presentation following the peer-review process in the 13th Annual Research Congress of Iran's Medical Sciences Students (ARCIMSS). Methods: All 1817 complete abstracts submitted to the meeting were included in this cross-sectional study. Each was evaluated for the language of the text (English or Persian), final decision after peer review (accepted vs. rejected), presentation type (oral, poster discussion and poster) and the scores of reviewing process. Results: There were 395 (21.7%) abstracts written in English and 1422 (78.3%) in Persian. The acceptance rate for English abstracts was 33.7% and for Persian 24.6% (OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.22–1.98). The rate of abstracts' acceptance for presentation in oral panels was significantly higher for English abstracts than for those in Persian (25.6% versus 15.7%, OR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.14–2.99). By contrast, Persian abstracts were more likely to be accepted as poster panels than were English abstracts (74.9% versus 63.9%, OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.10–2.58). Discussion: English-written abstracts have higher chance of acceptation in a non-English speaker country like Iran.
Keywords: Abstracts, English, peer-review, scientific meeting
|How to cite this article:|
Khani A, Zarghami A, Izadpanah F, Mahdizadeh H, Golestanifar L. Higher acceptance rates for abstracts written in english at a national research student meeting in a non-english speaking country. Educ Health 2015;28:142-4
|How to cite this URL:|
Khani A, Zarghami A, Izadpanah F, Mahdizadeh H, Golestanifar L. Higher acceptance rates for abstracts written in english at a national research student meeting in a non-english speaking country. Educ Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Sep 29];28:142-4. Available from: http://www.educationforhealth.net/text.asp?2015/28/2/142/170121
| Background|| |
Iranians students' contribution in medical research activities have increased in recent years. The number of published research articles listing a student as author and also the rate of student abstract submissions to the local annual scientific meetings have increased.
Considering the fact that English is increasingly becoming the dominant language of medical journals, many students, including those in Iran, have tried to improve their English writing skills and prefer to write their manuscripts in English. This trend has also become evident in recent national professional meetings in which the number of abstracts written in English is increasing. Despite the use increased use of English language in written abstracts, it seems that the quality of research and methodology of studies has not progressed in those accepted for presentation in recent local student meetings.
We therefore wonder if there is a biasing effect of the English language use itself on the outcome of the peer-review process used to vet abstracts for presentation at these meetings. We are unaware of previous studies assessing this issue. The present study investigates the association of the language of abstracts' text with the peer review disposition decision in a student research meeting in Iran. Since selection for presentation in the oral panel at a national meeting is a great achievement for a student, we investigated the association of abstracts' language with the type of presentation for which abstracts are accepted, as the secondary outcome.
| Methods|| |
All abstracts that were submitted for presentation in the 13th Annual Research Congress of Iranian Medical Sciences Students (ARCIMSS 13th) were entered in this cross-sectional study. This Congress is the principal place for Iranian medical sciences students to present their research to their peers, and its attendees are both students and faculty members. The 13th ARCIMSS were held in Babolsar, Iran, on October 9—12, 2012. In addition to the language of the abstracts' text (English or Persian) and the final decision of peer review (acceptance or rejection), each abstract was evaluated for the educational level of the presenting author as signified by their academic degree (undergraduate or postgraduate), presentation type for accepted abstracts (oral, poster discussion and poster) and the scores of reviewing process. The detailed process of peer-review in the ARCIMSS 13th was previously reported., Briefly, 2065 abstracts were submitted to the Congress website. After excluding incomplete abstracts, the rest were sent for peer-review to 79 student reviewers in the preliminary round and then faculty reviewers for the final round. Eventually, abstracts were accepted for presentation in three sections (oral, poster-discussion and poster) according to their peer-review score and the comments of the Congress jury.
Data were analyzed with SPSS software version 12 (Chicago- IL.). Chi-square test was applied for comparing author's educational level, study type and presentation type with the language of the abstracts' text. Independent t-test and Mann–Whitney U-test were used for comparing the peer-review scores of English and Persian abstracts. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for potential confounding variables (author educational level, study design, abstract review by student or faculty member) to better isolate the association of English vs. Persian writing and the peer-review decision.
| Results|| |
Overall 1817 complete abstracts were evaluated. Among all the submitted abstracts, there were 395 (21.7%) written in English and 1422 (78.3%) in Persian. Among all abstracts, 483 (26.6%) were accepted for presentation during Congress Days. The acceptance rate for English abstracts was 33.7% (133/395) and for Persian 24.6% (350/1422) (OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.22–1.98). The characteristics of accepted abstracts in ARCIMSS 13th according to the language of their text are indicated in [Table 1].
|Table 1: Characteristics of abstracts accepted for the ARCIMSS 13th according to their text language (n=483)|
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Univariate analysis showed that among papers accepted for presentation at the meeting, the likelihood that an abstract was accepted for presentation in oral panels was significantly higher for those written in English than those in Persian (25.6% versus 15.7%, OR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.14–2.99). By contrast, Persian abstracts that were accepted for presentation were more likely to be designated for poster panels than English abstracts (74.9% versus 63.9%, OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.10–2.58). There was no significant association between the language of the abstracts' text and its designation for poster-discussion panels (9.4% versus 10.5%, OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.58–2.19). The language of the abstract's text remained related to the type of the acceptance (oral or poster) in the multivariate regression logistic analysis after controlling for the study type and the author's educational level [Table 2].
|Table 2: Multivariate logistic regression analysis of the association of English versus Persian language abstracts and being qualified in oral panels among accepted abstracts in the ARCIMSS 13th|
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| Discussion|| |
The present study indicated that writing abstracts in English is associated with a higher chance of acceptance for presentation at the meeting, and qualification for oral panels even after controlling for the type of study design and the author's educational level.
There are several hypotheses for the higher acceptance rate of English-written submissions. Since most peer-reviewers are senior students  who usually conduct their scholarly activities in English, they may be biased toward English-written abstracts. Also, each year new students are selected to participate in the annual meetings as peer-reviewers. Although, they participate in peer-reviewing workshops, there is no information about their English skills. As it was illustrated previously, different language backgrounds could influence the reviewers' ability to critically appraise abstracts written in other languages.
Most abstracts were presented by undergraduate students. Success in achieving a presentation opportunity in a national annual meeting is a great chance for a student of medical sciences to present the findings of his or her research project in front of the peer-audience. This achievement may encourage a young researcher to continue his path in their selected field, and failure to have one's work accepted can be disappointing for students. Therefore, unbiased evaluation of submitted abstracts is important for meetings. To the authors knowledge, this is the first study to investigate whether there is an association between English versus native language writing on the outcome of peer-review process of abstracts for meetings in countries where the first language of attendees is not English. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings for other meetings, other languages and other countries.
In conclusion, the current study showed that abstracts written in English have higher chance of being accepted for presentation at a professional meeting in a non-English speaking country. We suggest that standard checklists be used for evaluation of abstracts to help reduce or eliminate the possible effects of English writing on peer-review process.
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[Table 1], [Table 2]