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Collaboration in the Time of COVID: A Scientometric Analysis of Multidisciplinary SARS-CoV-2 Research

by   Eoghan Cunningham, et al.

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 illness it causes have inspired unprecedented levels of multidisciplinary research in an effort to address a generational public health challenge. In this work we conduct a scientometric analysis of COVID-19 research, paying particular attention to the nature of collaboration that this pandemic has fostered among different disciplines. Increased multidisciplinary collaboration has been shown to produce greater scientific impact, albeit with higher co-ordination costs. As such, we consider a collection of over 166,000 COVID-19-related articles to assess the scale and diversity of collaboration in COVID-19 research, which we compare to non-COVID-19 controls before and during the pandemic. We show that COVID-19 research teams are not only significantly smaller than their non-COVID-19 counterparts, but they are also more diverse. Furthermore, we find that COVID-19 research has increased the multidisciplinarity of authors across most scientific fields of study, indicating that COVID-19 has helped to remove some of the barriers that usually exist between disparate disciplines. Finally, we highlight a number of interesting areas of multidisciplinary research during COVID-19, and propose methodologies for visualising the nature of multidisciplinary collaboration, which may have application beyond this pandemic.


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