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Are better guidelines needed for ‘encore’ presentations?

Encore congress presentation guidelines

‘Encore’ presentations; those that reproduce data originally presented at a previous scientific or medical congress, can be challenging to prepare. In a recent news article for the MAP newsletter, from the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), Ellen Baum and Harry Ma review the state of play surrounding encores and describe the rise of a new breed of abstract: the ‘adaptation’. In addition, they address and offer solutions to a number of ‘real world’ scenarios that could leave authors confused.

Baum and Ma note that guidance on encores is available but limited. The Good Publication Practice 3 guidelines (GPP3) stipulate when encores should and should not be permitted, but the topic is touched on only briefly. The Good Practice for Conference Abstracts and Presentations: GP-CAP preprint gives further guidance, including on the clear identification of encores, as well as the studies described therein. Meanwhile, it seems that authors are in search of more guidance. For example, in a 2013 survey of ISMPP members, 78% of respondents stated that they would like “more guidance on encores from publication or medical writing professional organisations”.

In an ’adaptation’, authors include previously presented data alongside new data, analyses or interpretations. This may be an option if a congress doesn’t allow encores. Baum and Ma explain that adaptations fall into a somewhat ‘grey area’ in terms of what a congress will permit, as opposed to the more black and white definitions of original and encore. What’s more, they note that guidance on adaptations is lacking; they are not addressed in GPP3. The GP-CAP preprint suggested that in the case of an encore containing new data “if the new iteration is more than a direct update on a previous preliminary report abstract, then the new iteration should be regarded as a new abstract“.

Baum and Ma note that individual congress policies on encores vary widely in their content and clarity, and recommend that if in doubt, authors contact the congress directly for their copyright policy. Based on the response from ISMPP members, they call for publication/medical professional organisations to produce more detailed guidance on encores and adaptations, to aid authors in their abstract preparation and lead the way in developing best practice.


Summary by Emma Wise, a PhD Biomedical Sciences student registered at Plymouth University. Contact Emma at


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