Authors : Yulia V. Sevryugina,
The coronavirus pandemic introduced many changes to our society, and deeply affected the established in biomedical sciences publication practices. In this article, we present a comprehensive study of the changes in scholarly publication landscape for biomedical sciences during the COVID-19 pandemic, with special emphasis on preprints posted on bioRxiv and medRxiv servers.
We observe the emergence of a new category of preprint authors working in the fields of immunology, microbiology, infectious diseases, and epidemiology, who extensively used preprint platforms during the pandemic for sharing their immediate findings. The majority of these findings were works-in-progress unfitting for a prompt acceptance by refereed journals.
The COVID-19 preprints that became peer-reviewed journal articles were often submitted to journals concurrently with the posting on a preprint server, and the entire publication cycle, from preprint to the online journal article, took on average 63 days. This included an expedited peer-review process of 43 days and journal’s production stage of 15 days, however there was a wide variation in publication delays between journals. Only one third of COVID-19 preprints posted during the first nine months of the pandemic appeared as peer-reviewed journal articles.
These journal articles display high Altmetric Attention Scores further emphasizing a significance of COVID-19 research during 2020. This article will be relevant to editors, publishers, open science enthusiasts, and anyone interested in changes that the 2020 crisis transpired to publication practices and a culture of preprints in life sciences.