Objective The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) Annual Scientific Meeting is an important forum for early dissemination of novel ideas. However, unlike published studies in peer-reviewed journals, reviewers select abstracts based solely on a general summary of the research. Analyses of the scientific impact and the publication record of the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting have not been previously described. This study characterizes publication trends and outcomes associated with abstracts presented at the ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting. Methods We identified all abstracts accepted for oral or poster presentation at the 2006 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting. Using a defined search algorithm, we conducted a manual PubMed search for each accepted abstract, which was repeated by a custom computerized search, and analyzed the resulting journal title, impact factor, and time to publication. Results A total of 2,149 abstracts were analyzed. The overall publication ratio was 59.1%. The mean ± SD time from abstract presentation to publication was 18.2 ± 15.2 months with a mean ± SD impact factor of 5.61 ± 4.20. Overall, studies presented in oral format were significantly more likely to be published than poster presentations (P < 0.0001). The average time to publication was significantly shorter for basic science studies than clinical research studies (P < 0.0001). The average journal impact factor of published studies presented in oral format was significantly higher than those presented as posters (P < 0.0001). Conclusion These results reflect high research productivity with a publication ratio of approximately 60% for abstracts presented at the 2006 Annual Scientific Meeting.