May 27, 2022

Report: “How a Torrent of COVID Science Changed Research Publishing — in Seven Charts

From Nature:

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 found1. The increase was even higher for health and medicine titles, at a whopping 92%.


More than 30,000 of the COVID-19 articles published in 2020 were preprints — between 17% and 30% of total COVID-19 research papers (depending on database searched). And, according to Dimensions, one-tenth of all preprints this year were about COVID-19.

More than half of the preprints appeared on one of three sites — medRxiv, SSRN and Research Square (see ‘Coronavirus preprints’).

Read the Complete Article, View Charts

See Also: COVID-19 Research/Publishing Data Dashboard (Updated Daily) (via Primer .ai)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.