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1.
Quantitative Science Studies ; 3(1):1-17, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2070642

ABSTRACT

Two partly conflicting academic pressures from the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic are the need for faster peer review of Covid-19 health-related research and greater scrutiny of its findings. This paper investigates whether decreases in peer review durations for Covid-19 articles were universal across 97 major medical journals, as well as Nature, Science, and Cell. The results suggest that on average, Covid-19 articles submitted during 2020 were reviewed 1.7-2.1 times faster than non-Covid-19 articles submitted during 2017-2020. Nevertheless, while the review speed of Covid-19 research was particularly fast during the first 5 months (1.9-3.4 times faster) of the pandemic (January-May 2020), this speed advantage was no longer evident for articles submitted in November-December 2020. Faster peer review was also associated with higher citation impact for Covid-19 articles in the same journals, suggesting it did not usually compromise the scholarly impact of important Covid-19 research. Overall, then, it seems that core medical and general journals responded quickly but carefully to the pandemic, although the situation returned closer to normal within a year.

2.
Quantitative Science Studies ; 1(4):1381-1395, 2020.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1495772

ABSTRACT

The speed with which biomedical specialists were able to identify and characterize COVID-19 was partly due to prior research with other coronaviruses. Early epidemiological comparisons with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), also made it easier to predict COVID-19’s likely spread and lethality. This article assesses whether academic interest in prior coronavirus research has translated into interest in the primary source material, using Mendeley reader counts for early academic impact evidence. The results confirm that SARS and MERS research in 2008–2017 experienced anomalously high increases in Mendeley readers in April–May 2020. Nevertheless, studies learning COVID-19 lessons from SARS and MERS or using them as a benchmark for COVID-19 have generated much more academic interest than primary studies of SARS or MERS. Thus, research that interprets prior relevant research for new diseases when they are discovered seems to be particularly important to help researchers to understand its implications in the new context. © 2020 Mike Thelwall.

3.
Quantitative Science Studies ; 1(3):1068-1091, 2020.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1495769

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic requires a fast response from researchers to help address biological, medical, and public health issues to minimize its impact. In this rapidly evolving context, scholars, professionals, and the public may need to identify important new studies quickly. In response, this paper assesses the coverage of scholarly databases and impact indicators during March 21, 2020 to April 18, 2020. The rapidly increasing volume of research is particularly accessible through Dimensions, and less through Scopus, the Web of Science, and PubMed. Google Scholar’s results included many false matches. A few COVID-19 papers from the 21,395 in Dimensions were already highly cited, with substantial news and social media attention. For this topic, in contrast to previous studies, there seems to be a high degree of convergence between articles shared in the social web and citation counts, at least in the short term. In particular, articles that are extensively tweeted on the day first indexed are likely to be highly read and relatively highly cited 3 weeks later. Researchers needing wide scope literature searches (rather than health-focused PubMed or medRxiv searches) should start with Dimensions (or Google Scholar) and can use tweet and Mendeley reader counts as indicators of likely importance. © 2020 Kayvan Kousha and Mike Thelwall. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

4.
Journal of Data and Information Science ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1394711

ABSTRACT

Methods to tackle Covid-19 have been developed by a wave of biomedical research but the pandemic has also influenced many aspects of society, generating a need for research into its consequences, and potentially changing the way existing topics are investigated. This article investigates the nature of this influence on the wider academic research mission. This article reports an inductive content analysis of 500 randomly selected journal articles mentioning Covid-19, as recorded by the Dimensions scholarly database on 19 March 2021. Covid-19 mentions were coded for the influence of the disease on the research. Whilst two thirds of these articles were about biomedicine (e.g. treatments, vaccines, virology), or health services in response to Covid-19, others covered the pandemic economy, society, safety, or education. In addition, some articles were not about the pandemic but stated that Covid-19 had increased or decreased the value of the reported research or changed the context in which it was conducted. The findings relate only to Covid-19 influences declared in published journal articles. Research managers and funders should consider whether their current procedures are effective in supporting researchers to address the evolving demands of pandemic societies, particularly in terms of timeliness. The results show that although health research dominates the academic response to Covid-19, it is more widely disrupting academic research with new demands and challenges. © 2021 Sciendo. All rights reserved.

5.
Aslib Journal of Information Management ; 2020.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-891442

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Public attitudes towards COVID-19 and social distancing are critical in reducing its spread. It is therefore important to understand public reactions and information dissemination in all major forms, including on social media. This article investigates important issues reflected on Twitter in the early stages of the public reaction to COVID-19. Design/methodology/approach: A thematic analysis of the most retweeted English-language tweets mentioning COVID-19 during March 10–29, 2020. Findings: The main themes identified for the 87 qualifying tweets accounting for 14 million retweets were: lockdown life;attitude towards social restrictions;politics;safety messages;people with COVID-19;support for key workers;work;and COVID-19 facts/news. Research limitations/implications: Twitter played many positive roles, mainly through unofficial tweets. Users shared social distancing information, helped build support for social distancing, criticised government responses, expressed support for key workers and helped each other cope with social isolation. A few popular tweets not supporting social distancing show that government messages sometimes failed. Practical implications: Public health campaigns in future may consider encouraging grass roots social web activity to support campaign goals. At a methodological level, analysing retweet counts emphasised politics and ignored practical implementation issues. Originality/value: This is the first qualitative analysis of general COVID-19-related retweeting. © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.

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