OBJECTIVES:To examine the fate of research presented at the first annual Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) Congress in 1997, by determining: the rate of publication in peer-reviewed biomedical journals; publication rate by discipline; journals in which work was published; concordance for aims, conclusions, authors and number of study subjects; and time from presentation to publication. METHODS:A MEDLINE search was conducted for any publication in a peer-reviewed journal resulting from a publishable abstract from the proceedings of the first annual PSANZ Congress in 1997. Searching was completed 42 months post-congress. The concordance of aims, conclusions, authors and number of subjects between abstract and published paper was determined. RESULTS:There were 172 publishable abstracts in the proceedings of the PSANZ Congress in 1997, and 78 (45%) were published as 83 articles. Basic sciences had the highest publication rate (67%) and midwifery the lowest (20%). Articles were published in 41 journals, with one-third of the articles in three paediatric journals. There was a match with aims in 75%, and with conclusions in 65%. There were 47/77 with the same number of subjects, 20/77 with more and 10/77 with fewer. There were 22 articles with one author added, 12 had more than one author added, 11 had one author removed and five had more than one author removed. Median time-to-publication was 18 months (interquartile range 9-26 months). CONCLUSIONS:A publication rate of 45% is comparable to other conferences. Basic science and neonatology had the highest publication rates. There were considerable differences between abstract and published article in terms of aims, conclusions, number of subjects and authors.