Sometimes research information is needed more immediately than the traditional publication process allows for. One such example is the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, and COVID-19, the viral infection it causes.
With a potential pandemic on the horizon, researchers need access to the latest research information, and fast. Allowing time for the more formal write-up of research results, peer review, revisions and publication, the process can take many weeks, but as something like 2019-nCoV spreads, many more lives could be lost in this delay.
Today the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has recommended Dimensions as a cross- publisher one-stop-shop for all research outputs. In order to provide easy access to information regarding this recent outbreak, Dimensions have also created a deep link to a suggested search for the COVID-19 virus: https://covid-19.dimensions.ai.
CAS’s suggestion to use Dimensions during this time highlights the main reason behind why we designed Dimensions. From day one we wanted to give researchers a free and open tool for search, context and discovery. Dimensions contains 108 million publications linked via more than 1.2 billion citations for all areas of research, all collated in one place, negating visits to multiple websites to obtain a balanced snapshot of the research being carried out in any given area. An increasing number of these publications are focused on combating the impending crisis of COVID-19. We recently added 1.5 million openly searchable datasets as a sixth form of research output; to date there are already 15 datasets that relate to COVID-19:
Publishers and contributors to the research ecosystem are collaboratively throwing their weight behind a joint, global effort to minimise the impact of COVID-19 by maximising access to the latest research. Many publishers, societies and companies have committed to making research and data on COVID-19 freely available, at least for the duration of the outbreak. That means that most of the COVID-19 related publications can be accessed for free if you follow the link to the publisher site.
Clinical trials cannot normally be accessed from the openly available version, however we are committing to providing access to them to help this global research effort, and will continue to add links to new trials on this page as they are published:
- Development of a Simple, Fast and Portable Recombinase Aided Amplification (RAA) Assay for 2019-nCoV / Beijing Ditan Hospital
- Glucocorticoid Therapy for Critically Ill Patients With Severe Acute Respiratory Infections Caused by Noval Coronovirus 2019-nCoV: a Prospective, Randomized Controlled Trial / Peking Union Medical College Hospital
- A Randomized Multicenter Controlled Clinical Trial of Arbidol in Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) / Xiangya Hospital of Central South University
The 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak also shows the importance of preprints: immediately available means rapid dissemination. However, there are also other aspects to consider: preprints are fast, but are not peer-reviewed. There have already been some retractions related to COVID-19. It will be interesting to see how this novel research output will be used during such a crisis. We will weigh up the pros and cons of all research outputs using this outbreak as a case study, and will follow up with a blog post on this interesting dynamic and challenge in the near future.
Updating every 24 hours, Dimensions is able to showcase the 2019-nCoV research landscape in real time. It also allows everyone access to research outputs such as preprints and datasets that are able to beat the clock of journal articles, helping both researchers and the general public keep up to date on the latest understanding of this potential pandemic.
If you have suggestions on how we can modify our pre-defined search to allow access to the most up-to-date, accurate information on the COVID-19 virus as research around it develops, please send a suggestion to email@example.com.