In this short blog, we discuss the latest resources and initiatives freely available to academics and the public to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preprint servers and expedited peer-review
Preprint servers are the fastest way to disseminate your research. Over 600 COVID-19-related preprints have already been posted on medRxiv and bioRxiv (see here for latest statistics). One of the major concerns with preprints is that their content is not peer-reviewed and could result in misinformation spreading through social media. Two recent examples include a preprint linking the new coronavirus with HIV, with the implication that the virus had been engineered by humans (see here), and another preprint suggesting the virus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (see here). Both preprints have subsequently been retracted following outcries from the scientific community denouncing their validity. In response to these concerns, a new platform (the Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview) has been established, which offers “open, rapid reviews of outbreak-related preprints”.
A coalition, including Royal Society Open Science, PLOS Biology, and Nature Human Behaviour, has announced a call for COVID-19-related registered reports. All article processing charges for these submissions are being waived, and the journals are aiming for Stage 1 review to be completed within 7 days.
The WHO have complied a database of COVID-19-related scholarly articles, which is updated on a daily basis, as have the NIH with their database LitCovid. Over 30 leading publishers (e.g., Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley) have made all COVID-19-related content freely available (see here).
Times Higher Education have lifted the paywall for all COVID-19 related content (see here).
Data science and AI
Are you an AI researcher? If so, the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) is now available. This includes over 29,000 machine-readable scholarly articles related to COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and related coronaviruses. Kaggle are offering cash prizes to those researchers who can find new approaches to fighting the virus using language processing and other AI approaches.