The research interest in COVID-19, one of the most serious pandemics in recent human history, is unprecedented. This study aims to determine the volume of COVID-19 research and to assess the characteristics of its production and publication.
We searched Scopus, Embase, PubMed, and the Web of Science databases for publications, up to August 20, 2020. We included all types of documents except corrections, interviews, personal narratives, and retracted publications. We analyzed publication count, type, status, research themes, publication venues, authorship trends, language, institutions, countries, collaboration, and funding.
Of 40,519 eligible documents, 49% were original articles. Forty-nine percent of the original articles and reviews were published in top quartile journals, and 19% were single-authored. More than half of the documents were produced in the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Twenty-two percent of the documents involved international collaboration and 17% reported financial support by at least one agency, with the National Natural Science Foundation of China being the most frequently reported funding source (n=982). There are already more documents published on COVID19 than documents ever published on the Ebola, MERS, HIN1, and SARS combined.
The first few months’ research output on COVID-19 is relatively large and originated mostly from four countries. Single-authored publications, international collaboration, and governmental funding activities were relatively common.
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