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How a torrent of COVID science changed research publishing

Nature – “A flood of coronavirus research swept websites and journals this year. It changed how and what scientists study, a Nature analysis shows The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted science in 2020 — and transformed research publishing, show data collated and analysed by Nature Around 4% of the world’s research output was devoted to the coronavirus in 2020, according to one database. But 2020 also saw a sharp increase in articles on all subjects being submitted to scientific journals — perhaps because many researchers had to stay at home and focus on writing up papers rather than conducting science. Submissions to publisher Elsevier’s journals alone were up by around 270,000 — or 58% — between February and May when compared with the same period in 2019, one analysis found. The increase was even higher for health and medicine titles, at a whopping 92%. The pandemic also fuelled a sharp rise in sharing through preprints (articles posted online before peer review), advanced the output of male authors over female authors and affected review times — speeding them up in some topics but slowing them down in others. Scientists published well over 100,000 articles about the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. By one count, from the Dimensions database, they might even have passed 200,000 by early December (see ‘Coronavirus cascade’). (Estimates differ depending on search terms, database coverage and definitions of a scientific article.) More than 4% of articles listed in the Dimensions database this year are COVID-related, and around 6% of those indexed in PubMed, which mostly covers life sciences, were dedicated to the topic….”

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