Poster: Development of a New Algorithm and Scoring Metric for the Evaluation of Scientific Conference Impact

Objective Conference Impact and Scoring Now Possible

When Medical Affairs Professionals (MAPs) decide where to submit their research for publication, they rely on a number of factors,  including any one of the journal impact factors available for years.  When it comes to selecting conferences for submission of evidence, however, similar impact metrics aren’t available, even though conferences are prime venues for releasing new research.

With a paucity of data available to help them gauge impact, MAPs must rely upon their personal knowledge and experience to help them select the most impactful conferences at which to present data. This typically means that conferences with the greatest attendance or greatest number of presentations and posters on specific topics are held in higher esteem and are assumed to have more impact than smaller meetings.

That assumption isn’t always accurate, however. In the desire to present at major meetings like the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, opportunities may be overlooked at smaller, tightly targeted conferences (like the Advances in Immuno-Oncology Congress) that may be highly impactful.

To solve this problem, Medmeme developed a new algorithm and ranking score that enables MA professionals to evaluate scientific conferences objectively. Using a range of proprietary conference level metrics (CLMs) such as conference weight, abstract type, abstract age abstract count, etc, Medmeme has developed the first impact factor for conferences, Conference Dynamic Impact Factor. The new impact factor is not only updated on an ongoing basis, but also is germane to the needs of MAPs  (vs. publishers and academics) in terms of specific therapeutic area relevance and author/presenter caliber.

Therefore, conferences are weighted in terms of therapeutic or disease state relevance and the presentations of conference speakers with a body of recent work (based upon journal abstracts) in the field of interest. Consequently, conferences that are closely aligned with the targeted subject matter and feature high-caliber speakers who currently are active in that field of research are considered more impactful than those who may have been active in the past or who are entering the field and have a lesser body of recent work in a specific subject area.

In validating its new algorithm, Medmeme chose a random therapeutic area, multiple sclerosis (MS), for study.

Two top-20 conference lists were generated and normalized from three years of conference abstract data and CLMs. One list was generated by using the new Medmeme algorithm, and the other from volume c – the number of abstracts posted on a MS at a specific conference. More recent abstracts were considered more relevant than earlier ones, thus enabling the algorithm to address shifts in research focus per conference and, therefore, current relevancy. The influence exerted by the age of abstracts became particularly important as the study timeframe lengthened, showing that conferences that were extremely relevant 10 years ago may no longer be so and that previously relatively unimportant conferences may have gained importance.

In comparing data from 3 and 10 years of conferences, Medmeme’s algorithm identified four conferences that had not appeared previously in the top-20 lists and 13 (65%) of the top 20 conferences changed rank. The average change was 37%. For example, the Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Society moved from 24thplace to 16th, and the Annual Conference of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies rank changed from 32nd to 15thplace. These changes were influenced mainly by changes in the weight accorded the conferences. Neither of these conferences originally appeared among the top 20 list for MS, but are important venues for presenting MS-related scientific studies.

Medmeme’s Conference Dynamic Impact Factor algorithm is the first metric that evaluates the impact of scientific conferences. As such, it is a useful scoring tool to help MA professionals objectively identify the conferences that matter to them most, based upon current relevance, focus, and caliber of presenters for specific meetings. Applying this algorithm enables MA professionals to take advantage of opportunities that otherwise may not be apparent and thus potentially heighten the impact of disseminating evidence in scientific medical forums.

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