COVID-19 publications: Database coverage, citations, readers, tweets, news, Facebook walls, Reddit posts

by   Kayvan Kousha, et al.

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 quickly identify important new studies. In response, this paper assesses the coverage of scholarly databases and impact indicators during 21 March to 18 April 2020. The results confirm a rapid increase in the volume of research, which particularly accessible through Google Scholar and Dimensions, and less through Scopus, the Web of Science, PubMed. 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 three weeks later. Researchers needing wide scope literature searches (rather than health focused PubMed or medRxiv searches) should start with Google Scholar or Dimensions and can use tweet and Mendeley reader counts as indicators of likely importance.


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