Frontlist | International publication activity during the COVID-19 pandemic

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BACKGROUND: Pandemics lead to new challenges for healthcare systems and a subsequent shift of the scientific focus, which can partially be seen in alterations in scientific publication activity.

OBJECTIVES: Follow-up on the global publication activity within the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in a comparison of national contexts with regards to local infection rates and the involvement of the discipline of pathology.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Comparative analysis of the number of publications in the PubMed® database concerning COVID-19 with respect to publication type, date and place of publication, affiliation to an institute of pathology, and correlation with the number of SARS-CoV‑2 infections over the same timeframe.

RESULTS: After an initial peak with regards to the number of publications in the months of May and June 2020, a slight decrease was observed, followed by another increase starting in August/September 2020. Further, the time between data collection and publication contracted to approximately 3-4 months. Countries faced with early SARS-CoV‑2 infections published promptly, even though there was no overall association between the number of publications and COVID-19 case numbers. On average, 4% of authors were affiliated to an institute of pathology, with a steady increase of this percentage within the course of the pandemic.

CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 altered global publication activity by providing for an unprecedented number of publications combined with an acceleration of publication times irrespective of the geographical location and overall case numbers.


This article was originally published here

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