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’).
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