Issue: November 2019
November 04, 2019
3 min read

Fair abstract selection is assured for upcoming EFORT Congress in Vienna

Issue: November 2019
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Each year, members of the worldwide orthopaedics and traumatology community share with EFORT about 3,500 abstracts with compelling clinical and experimental results from different levels of scientific knowledge, as well as many systematic reviews. This implies that attendees from all stages of an orthopaedics and traumatology medical career can actively participate in the EFORT annual meetings by having abstracts accepted for onsite presentation.

Indeed, after the closure of online submission, a challenge then arises for the EFORT Science Committee, which must select the best work to be showcased in the congress abstract-based sessions. One of the most demanding tasks of management of the overall scientific program is establishing a fair review process for such large number of abstracts received. To obtain a legitimate average score and a standard deviation that allows correct assessment of the scores’ variability, every abstract receives a minimum of three scores performed by three different experts on the specific topic that corresponds to the content of the abstract. Thus, the number of collaborators needed for an appropriate peer-review is rather high.

To deal with that, the EFORT Science Committee builds a list of dedicated reviewers by inviting experts in each category of the EFORT topic tree after determining each expert’s outstanding medical and educational experience. A close collaboration with the European specialty societies is key to achieve the appointment of qualified surgeons, those surgeons having the knowledge and skills to evaluate the research work of other practitioners of their field. Compiling high-quality presentations that will be showcased during the annual congress is a process that must be handled with extreme professionalism. Our scientific trust on each reviewer is therefore the first criterion to be fulfilled.

The review of abstracts submitted for the upcoming EFORT Congress to be held 10 to 12 June 2020 in Vienna, Austria, will be performed as a blind process that is carried out exclusively through the online platform from mid-November to mid-December 2019. Following completion of the scoring of all abstracts, the 24-member EFORT Science Committee holds a meeting in January during which the best-scored abstracts are allocated to oral and poster sessions.

On Friday 15 November 2019 at 23:59 CET, the abstract submission system will be closed and all abstracts in the system will be allocated to a reviewer with an expertise in the corresponding topic.


Abstracts then will be analyzed for different standards of quality, as follows:

  • scientific and clinical value;
  • relevance to the orthopaedics and traumatology (O&T) community’s needs;
  • suitability of methods to aims;
  • confirmation of conclusions by results;
  • objectivity of statements; and
  • originality of the work and overall added value to the current knowledge in the field.

On top of these general principles, additional criteria are graded on point scales, such as problem description, design, control group, materials, methods, results and conclusions.

Research studies are evaluated with two distinct scoring grids depending on whether the abstract is based on clinical or experimental investigations. Due to the background and aim of these two types of research greatly differing, reviewers can thus objectively attribute points for each criterion. Systematic reviews, which collect secondary data from an exhaustive literature search, have their own scoring process, which is used to better evaluate these specific types of summaries, which gather current evidence linked to one specific research question, but do not provide any primary data.

All criteria are weighted differently by adding or subtracting several possibilities (objective criteria have more weight in the total score than subjective criteria) and considering the influence of the scientific background of each abstract on the overall evaluation. Animal experiments or anatomy/biomechanics studies also are rated on a distinct scale.

All review criteria are evaluated independently (for a single abstract, scores can greatly vary from one criterion to another depending on the satisfaction of each) and reviewers base their scores only on the information contained in the abstract (no estimates or projections allowed). The mean score is used as the cut-off point for acceptance.

Abstract scoring will be completed by the end of this year, and notifications for acceptance and rejection will be sent to all authors on Friday, 31 January 2020. The presenting author of a selected abstract must attend the congress and present the abstract in the session and at the time designated by the EFORT Science Committee. For further details on registration fees and attendance, please consult the registration platform, which will be available as of January 2020.

Make your research count by sharing it with the biggest gathering of the O&T medical community gathering in the same place. Submission closes 15 November 2019, 23:59 CET.