A parallel pandemic: the crush of covid-19 publications tests the capacity of scientific publishing

BMJ has an excellent editorial and is a recommended read. The rush to “push out” publications and discussion, especially on Twitter, has muddled the policy debates. I have rallied against the glut of “me-too” publications and I reiterate that it is a crisis of monumental proportions.

I am not advocating restriction of a choice, but what do the rash of publications on the same topic achieve? What is a “new insight” or a “takeaway” from the entire process?

Preprints with an active marketing department relatively insulates the big universities pushing out the “research”. Provocative headlines don’t offer a succour to a public distraught with job losses.

These pressures may have resulted in rushed research conduct, reduced, and partly invalid scientific evidence, and wasted resources. [4-6] Furthermore, we have witnessed several problematic examples of scientific results on population health topics, which were communicated first via online and traditional media based on preliminary work posted in preprint repositories. Though we support transparency and the practice of preprinting, subsequent discussions in the lay media, on Twitter, or television programmes over articles with methodological and interpretation concerns that had not yet undergone peer review and editorial curation contributed to confusion among the public and in political discussions.

A parallel pandemic: the crush of covid-19 publications tests the capacity of scientific publishing – The BMJ

I think post crisis, it would be healthy for the ecosystem to look at the academic publishing business and push for course corrections.