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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 180-182

Publication surge in COVID-19: The flip side of the coin!


1 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, United Kingdom
2 Department of Orthopedics, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication27-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vijay Kumar Jain
Department of Orthopedics, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi - 110 001
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jotr.jotr_79_20

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How to cite this article:
Iyengar KP, Jain VK, Ish P. Publication surge in COVID-19: The flip side of the coin!. J Orthop Traumatol Rehabil 2021;13:180-2

How to cite this URL:
Iyengar KP, Jain VK, Ish P. Publication surge in COVID-19: The flip side of the coin!. J Orthop Traumatol Rehabil [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 26];13:180-2. Available from: https://www.jotr.in/text.asp?2021/13/2/180/333571



Sir,

We read with great interest the recently published bibliometric analysis of surge in publications related to COVID-19 in the first 3 months of the pandemic.[1] We agree that the substantial number of publications on COVID-19 in the medical literature indicate the seriousness of this disease and the pursuit of the medical community to find solutions to combat COVID-19, through sharing personal experiences and research on this topic. It has been acknowledged that this pandemic has given opportunity to the researchers to publish extensively on this public health crisis with most of the journals seeing an exponential rise in the new submissions, in the past 3 months, during the peak of COVID-19.[2],[3],[4] As authors, we believe there is other side of the coin which does not seem to have been highlighted.

For every rise in publication, there are many articles which have been rejected. More often, it is apparent following the submission of articles in high-impact journals. A long time ensues before they get peer reviewed. By the time, the editorial decision suggests 'Major revision'-the topic of discussion has either dissipated or as the current pandemic is changing, the information submitted has become outdated. For example, even in Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma, the rejection rate pre-COVID-19 was around 60% and around 117 articles were published in 2018.[5] Thus, When COVID-19-related articles are accepted in 2020, an even higher number of other articles will be rejected. In many journals, the previously accepted articles are unable to find space in the current issues. There is a risk of them losing their timely importance in this delay. Many non-COVID-19 submissions are in a dormant state with the editor or reviewer.

This delay and stagnation can lead to a drastic fall in the quality of a journal and even its major objectives. The fear of duplication, varied author guidelines, and risk of plagiarism are already challenging that most authors are experiencing. The undue delay in review and eventual rejection can lead to a sense of helplessness in many authors which may put off them from undertaking future academic endeavors. The common reasons for the rejection of articles and effect of COVID-19 have been summarized in [Table 1].
Table 1: Common attributable causes of academic rejection of articles and impact of COVID-19

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This COVID-19 has made the editors, authors, reviewers, and all medical fraternity realize that the knowledge regarding the pathogenesis, clinical presentation, treatment, prophylaxis, and vaccine will unfold with time. Thus, COVID-19-related articles should be given priority for the benefit of the medical community at large. However, faster and time-bound review and online publication in special issues or supplementary issues can help preserve the non-COVID-related research on various other diseases which should not be ignored. Review by editors and reviewers should have an objective format so that quick and unscrupulous comments are generated, thereby improving the submission. Offering options of resubmission following appropriate revisions and editing will focus authors to work toward their topic with a renewed vigor.

For example, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) American had 11 publications by April end on COVID-19, which was the highest in any orthopedic journal at that time.[1] JBJS is a high-impact factor journal (2019 impact factor: 4.578). There are multiple strategies adopted by the journal which help in the same. The journal page documents that the deputy editor rejects articles without review if not appropriate for the journal so that authors can submit elsewhere. The relevant articles passing this go for peer review to experts, statisticians, section editors, and editor-in-chief. The authors can respond to comments of each in the time frame. The journal releases new issues twice a month allowing rapid publication and has made COVID-19-related articles as a separate section allowing all other articles to be published simultaneously.[6] Similar easy steps can be adopted by all journals to maintain the quality and quantity of the scientific research they publish.

To conclude, research and learning are a continuous process. COVID-19 has resulted in a surge and exponential rise in articles getting accepted and published. But this needs to be balanced by equal focus on nonCOVID research and publications. Rapid objective review, online prints, and special or increased issues of the journal can help in achieving optimum scientific growth.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Kambhampati SB, Vaishya R, Vaish A. Unprecedented surge in publications related to COVID-19 in the first three months of pandemic: A bibliometric analytic report. J Clin Orthop Trauma 2020;11:S304-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Gazendam A, Ekhtiari S, Wong E, Madden K, Naji L, Phillips M, et al. The “Infodemic” of journal publication associated with the novel coronavirus disease. J Bone Joint Surg Am 2020;102:e64.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Solomon DH, Bucala R, Kaplan MJ, Nigrovic PA. The “Infodemic” of COVID-19. Arthritis Rheumatol 2020;72:1806-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The COVID-19 infodemic. Lancet Infect Dis 2020;20:875.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Vaishya R, Maini L, Lal H. A journey of the Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma. J Clin Orthop Trauma 2018;9:277-80.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Available from: https://journals.lww.com/jbjsjournal/Pages/How-We-Support-Our-Authors.aspx. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 12].  Back to cited text no. 6
    



 
 
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