An immunization program against the COVID-19 infodemic

Luis Cláudio Correia, João de Deus Barreto Segundo
2020 Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare  
In the beginning of the current pandemic, we noted that several biomedical journals, regardless of tier and prestige, launched fast track sections open to articles related to the COVID-19 phenomenon. It is the purpose of science after all to find solutions to current emergencies and one could state at first that the effort was in itself altruistic, selfless and aimed to fulfill the scientific centuries-old promise of finding solutions to humanity's challenges cf 1-2 . At a closer look though,
more » ... oser look though, we have come to realize that a second epidemic took off along with the coronavirus dissemination: a publication epidemic, an infodemic. The team behind the Retraction Watch website were amongst the first to sound the alarm that the COVID-19 publication was moving at breakneck speed and that it could do more harm than good 3 and to this moment the Retraction Watch database has tracked around two dozens of retractions of pandemicrelated papers cf 4 . It will be a few years though before being able to analyze the retraction rate of COVID-related papers 5 by means of comparing it with a control group. Yet, the time from article submission to online publication of COVID-related articles accelerated remarkably in comparison to previous publication timeframes according to independent studies published in pre-print servers and in prestigious journals as well 6-10 . For example, two independent studies found that the median time to final acceptance was eight times faster for COVID-related articles as opposed to papers on other issues 8-9 . One of them found that the median time from article receipt to article being made available online was five times faster for COVID-related articles as opposed to papers on other issues and more than 10% of COVIDrelated studies were found to had been accepted within two days after submission in a pool of PubMed-indexed journals which have had their metadata analyzed 9 . The reporting of the same patients in different studies 11 and the surge of duplicated (and poorly designed) clinical trials and systematic reviews 12 resulted in an apocryphal paraphrase of the famous Douglas Altman line cf 13 making its rounds on Twitter stating that we need less COVID-19
doi:10.17267/2675-021xevidence.v2i1.3124 fatcat:7pqryp7m2vhwnbslvj2wro2agy