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  • RSNA’s “Call for Abstracts” Creates a Buzz around the World

    How does an abstract become part of the RSNA Meeting Program? Experts explain the process. By Mary Henderson

    November 1, 2017

    The road to the RSNA’s Annual Meeting is a long and arduous path for authors vying for their research to become part of the RSNA Meeting Program — a prestigious accomplishment for researchers across the globe.

    Shaping the scientific and educational content of each RSNA annual meeting is an 11-month process that involves thousands of researchers, volunteer reviewers and committee members — all supported by dedicated RSNA staff members.

    The process begins in early January when RSNA issues the annual “Call for Abstracts.”

    Researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts on projects they worked on during the previous year. RSNA accepts submissions electronically, which allows authors to use a template to create and edit their proposals and provide supporting data.

    Abstracts are submitted in four different categories: Science and Applied Science Research, Educational Exhibits, Quality Improvement Storyboards and Quantitative Imaging Reading Room Demonstrations.

    During the winter, submissions tend to trickle into RSNA. But that changes as the April deadline for submissions approaches, when thousands of abstracts begin to flood the website. This year, the majority of the nearly 12,000 submissions was uploaded in the two days prior to the deadline.

    A group of 425 volunteer radiologists is tasked with reviewing the submissions to identify the abstracts that will best help attendees build their knowledge, competence and performance with the ultimate goal of improving patient care. Volunteers serve on the Scientific Program Committee, the Education Exhibits Committee and the Quality Improvement Committee.

    “The contribution of the RSNA volunteer reviewers cannot be overstated,” said David H. Kim, MD, professor of radiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, and chairman of the RSNA Scientific Program Committee. “They provide critical and reasoned assessments for the submitted abstracts.”

    The volunteer reviewers have a little over a month to complete their assessments before the highest-ranking abstracts are sent to section chairs to finalize the selections. Next, committees discuss the meeting program as a whole and finalize their selections.

    Over the summer, letters are issued to the authors of accepted submissions, launching several months of preparation for researchers working to develop and polish their presentations.

    “It takes effort to present all of the pertinent results in an efficient, clear manner with logical, reasoned conclusions,” Dr. Kim said. “Anticipating potential questions and comments from the audience is very helpful to promote a lively, interactive discussion.”

    Frequent presenters say presenting peer-reviewed abstracts at the RSNA annual meeting is highly prestigious and an invaluable career asset.

    “It’s wonderful and exciting to present in this arena,” said Linda Moy, MD, a diagnostic radiologist at NYU Langone Health, New York, who has presented regularly at RSNA for 15 years. “The level of research is very high and it is fascinating to hear about the innovative research that other institutions, both nationally and internationally, are performing.”

    Although the time commitment and effort involved in the abstract application process are considerable, the work of reviewers and presenters has a lasting impact.

    “The overall scientific impact from the meeting derives from the quality and content of the accepted abstracts,” Dr. Kim said. “As a result, volunteer reviewers ultimately play a central role in shaping the scientific program for the meeting.

    "Presenting a peer-reviewed, accepted abstract at the RSNA annual meeting is a true honor that provides exposure to other preeminent researchers in the field.”