I've had this conversation with a number of people over my career, but I have never been able to understand the culture of some fields when it comes to conference presentations. Let's say you open your conference program and see that Dr. Big Name is giving a talk in a session and you make a plan to go see her talk. You've read her lab's papers and you're excited to see the latest from the lab. Is there anything more disappointing than getting a summary of what the lab has published in the last 10 years?
Perhaps my field is unusual but talking about recent unpublished data seems to be the norm, not the exception. When I am putting a talk together it would never occur to me not to include a health dose of unpublished data. The only times in my career that I have talked about mostly published data have been when I first started as a postdoc and in the early days of being a PI, when I didn't have enough new data to even make a coherent story, but that accounts for maybe three professional talks out of many.
Is it a fear of being scooped or a penchant for keeping one's ideas close to the chest that promotes the Summary Talk? I don't know and even that I can't understand. I have had some of most productive conversations following a talk about unpublished data, when someone has approached me to discuss and idea or related data from their lab. Collaborations have even occurred via this mechanism. In short, only positive things have ever happened in my experience with presenting, and seeing talks that include, unpublished data.
So a short poll, but I would be really interested to hear from others in fields where unpublished data rarely grace the big screen. And if people do have accounts of scientists behaving badly when it comes to presented unpublished data, let's try and keep it to first hand experience rather than Lab Lore.