Most information about cutting edge medical and scientific breakthroughs is first presented at conferences. The leading research will present his or her data to about 300 or 400 people sitting in the audience or to 50 or 60 people who stop by to read the poster. If the study involves a clinical trial financed by a pharmaceutical company, there may also be a press release to help increase awareness. If it is a government or advocacy funded study, there may not be a press release. As a result, that great scientific breakthrough will only be known to those lucky few people who were in attendance or saw that poster.

And that is why it is important for advocacy groups, with their large following of people thirsty for information, to blog or write about those presentations whenever they can. So, the question is – how do you cite a presentation at a conference?

There are numerous means to cite a presentation at the conference but the 2 most common ways are based 1 simple question – is the presentation published in a journal?  If so, cite the journal.

Example:

Aguiar P, Warwick AL, McKie M.  Prognostic model for hearing loss in Fabry disease. Mol Gen Metab. 2017:117 (suppl): S15-S16. Available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2015.12.164. Accessed January 11, 2018

Many people may want to cite the abstract in a way that shows when and where the abstract was presented but that is not really helping the reader if it is published in a journal. It is best to just cite the journal where the abstract is published. Remember – your audience is more interested in seeing the data rather than where it was presented. Give them a means to track that abstract down.

However, If the study is not published in a journal, then you should write a citation that indicates where the presentation took place and when.

Example:

Maciejko JJ, Lyons HJ, Anne P. Safety and efficacy of sebelipase alfa administration for 52 weeks in four male siblings diagnosed with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency. Presented at the National Lipid Association (NLA) Scientific Sessions; May 18-20, 2017; Philadelphia, PA.