The runaway science: a bibliometric analysis of the COVID-19 scientific literature: How COVID-19 has changed academic publishing

The runaway science: a bibliometric analysis of the COVID-19 scientific literature

How COVID-19 has changed academic publishing

Authors

  • Anna Odone 1) School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy 2) Clinical Epidemiology and HTA, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  • Stefano Salvati School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
  • Lorenzo Bellini School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
  • Daria Bucci School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
  • Michele Capraro School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
  • Giovanni Gaetti School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
  • Andrea Amerio 1) Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), Section of Psychiatry, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy 2) IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy 3) Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA
  • Carlo Signorelli School of Medicine, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

Keywords:

COVID-19, Public Health, Research priorities, bibliometric analysis, academic publishing, scientometric analysis

Abstract

Background and aim of the work: To reflect on content, trends and quality of scientific publishing on COVID-19. In particular, to report on the systematic screening, quantitative assessment and critical appraisal of the first 10,000 scientific papers published on COVID-19 and to compare how scientific outputs matched identified research priorities and public health needs. Methods: A comprehensive research strategy was developed to systematically retrieve on a daily basis all studies published on COVID-19. From included studies we extracted: bibliometric parameters, country of studies’ implementation and study design. We assigned papers to 25 a priori defined COVID-19-related topics and we described scientific outputs in relation to countries’ academic publishing ranking, as well as COVID-19 burden. Results: 10,000 scientific articles were published on COVID-19 between 20th January and 7th May 2020,  accounting for 2.3% of total scientific production over the study period. One third (33%) focused on COVID-19 clinical management, with little adherence to identified research priorities.   Over sixty per cent of papers were opinion pieces not reporting original data. Papers were published on 1881 different journals but with half of scientific production included in 8% of journals. The US accounted for one fourth of total scientific production, followed by China (22.2%) and Italy (9%). Conclusions: Never before in the history of academic publishing such a great volume of research focused on a single topic, this being likely to introduce major changes in the way science is produced and communicated, at the risk of  bringing it far from its ultimate aim: informing clinical and public health practice and decision making.

References

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Published

20-07-2020

How to Cite

1.
The runaway science: a bibliometric analysis of the COVID-19 scientific literature: How COVID-19 has changed academic publishing. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2020 Jul. 20 [cited 2024 Jun. 20];91(9-S):34-9. Available from: https://mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/actabiomedica/article/view/10121

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