Fast forward science: Risks and benefits in the rapid science of COVID-19

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Since the onset of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic in late 2019, the scientific literature on the SARS-COV-2 virus and the disease COVID-19 has a growth rate that resembles the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases that continue to make media headlines all across the globe. Biomedical coronavirus research started slowly but increased to hundreds of articles per week—not unlike the spread of the virus itself. At the time of writing in mid-2020, around 2500 publications per week appear in PubMed on COVID-19 or SARS-COV-2. This new biomedical literature has emerged at an unprecedented but will the scientific community be able to end the suffering caused by the pandemic? Can we trust the insights from the rapidly emerging scientific literature on the coronavirus to implement wide-ranging social, economic, and health policies and vaccination programs? To answer these questions, I here relate the rapid science on the coronavirus pandemic to regular biomedical science and the meta-scientific insights on it. I focus my attention on peer reviews, open access, retractions, open data, and registration of studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe new common
Subtitle of host publicationHow the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming society
EditorsEmile Aarts, Hein Fleuren, Margriet Sitskoorn, Ton Wilthagen
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-65355-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-65354-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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