Scientific research on the coronavirus is being released in a torrent

Will that change how science is published?

May 7th 2020

EXPONENTIAL INCREASES are a hallmark of pandemics. The spread of SARSCoV-2 around the world has followed such a curve inexorably. But so, too, has the research effort to understand and control the virus. More than 7,000 papers on the pandemic—covering everything from virology to epidemiology—have appeared in the past three months (see chart). A fifth of them have come out in the past week alone.

This is astonishingly fast. Researchers usually take years to design experiments, collect data and check results. Scientific journals, the self-appointed keepers of the gate between those researchers and the rest of the world, can easily take six months, often a year, to grind through the various steps of their procedure, including editing and the process of checking by anonymous outside experts, known as peer review.