Editorial| Volume 20, ISSUE 3, P203-205, July 2011

UK obstetric anaesthesia research: a cause for concern?

      This edition of the International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia is accompanied by a supplement containing the best abstracts submitted to the 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association (OAA). This year 329 abstracts were submitted, a pleasing 33% increase from 2010, and with such large numbers to be marked, the assessment process was modified. Abstracts were divided into four groups: research, surveys, audits and case reports, with each category assessed by four experienced obstetric anaesthetists. Reassuringly, those abstracts scoring the highest marks came almost exclusively from the research category, endorsing the importance of new work. The 2011 supplement is, however, a little thinner than in previous years, containing only 100 abstracts considered suitable for inclusion, implying that an increasing quantity of submissions is not necessarily accompanied by similar improvements in quality. Most of the unsuccessful abstracts were audits, surveys and case reports, categories that are perceived by some as a substitute to, or an easier option than, formal research. But with so many groups now wishing to present their work at the meeting, is there really a cause for concern?
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