Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Journal of Korean medical science

BACKGROUND : The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a large volume of publications, a barrage of non-reviewed preprints on various professional repositories and a slew of retractions in a short amount of time.

METHODS : We conducted an e-survey using a cloud-based website to gauge the potential sources of trustworthy information and misinformation and analyzed researchers', clinicians', and academics' attitude toward unpublished items, and pre- and post-publication quality checks in this challenging time.

RESULTS : Among 128 respondents (mean age, 43.2 years; M:F, 1.1:1), 60 (46.9%) were scholarly journal editors and editorial board members. Social media channels were distinguished as the most important sources of information as well as misinformation (81 [63.3%] and 86 [67.2%]). Nearly two in five (62, 48.4%) respondents blamed reviewers, editors, and misinterpretation by readers as additional contributors alongside authors for misinformation. A higher risk of plagiarism was perceived by the majority (70, 58.6%), especially plagiarism of ideas (64.1%) followed by inappropriate paraphrasing (54.7%). Opinion was divided on the utility of preprints for changing practice and changing retraction rates during the pandemic period, and higher rejections were not supported by most (76.6%) while the importance of peer review was agreed upon by a majority (80, 62.5%). More stringent screening by journal editors (61.7%), and facilitating open access plagiarism software (59.4%), including Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based algorithms (43.8%) were among the suggested solutions. Most (74.2%) supported the need to launch a specialist bibliographic database for COVID-19, with information indexed (62.3%), available as open-access (82.8%), after expanding search terms (52.3%) and following due verification by academics (66.4%), and journal editors (52.3%).

CONCLUSION : While identifying social media as a potential source of misinformation on COVID-19, and a perceived high risk of plagiarism, more stringent peer review and skilled post-publication promotion are advisable. Journal editors should play a more active role in streamlining publication and promotion of trustworthy information on COVID-19.

Gupta Latika, Gasparyan Armen Yuri, Misra Durga Prasanna, Agarwal Vikas, Zimba Olena, Yessirkepov Marlen


COVID-19, Coronavirus Disease 2019, Information, Periodicals as Topic, Publishing, Social Media