Rapid publications risk the integrity of science in the era of COVID-19 | BMC Medicine | Full Text
peter.suber's bookmarks 2020-06-28
Preprint manuscripts, rapid publications and opinion pieces have been essential in permitting the lay press and public health authorities to preview data relating to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the range of clinical manifestations and the basic epidemiology early on in the pandemic. However, the rapid dissemination of information has highlighted some issues with communication of scientific results and opinions in this time of heightened sensitivity and global concern.
Rapid publication of COVID-19 literature through expedited review, preprint publications and opinion pieces are important resources for the medical scientific community. Yet the risks of unverified information loom large in times when the healthcare community is desperate for information. Information that has not been properly vetted, or opinion pieces without solid evidence, may be used to influence public health policy decisions. We discuss three examples of unverified information and the consequences in this time of high anxiety surrounding COVID-19.
In an era when information can be widely and swiftly disseminated, it is important to ensure that the scientific community is not an inadvertent source of misinformation. This will require a multimodal approach, with buy-in from editors, publishers, preprint servers, authors and journalists. The landscape of medical publications has changed, and a collaborative approach is required to maintain a high standard of scientific communications.