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As the end of the year 2020 is coming, many things happened in this memorable year. We would like to summarize the changes that affect most of the biomedical publication community.
The first phenomenon is the growth of preprints. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is indeed the potent stimulus of preprints. The evidence is the data from medRxiv1, an Internet site distributing unpublished eprints about health science. In 2020 alone, more than two-thirds of articles in medRxiv (approximately 11 500 articles) are related to COVID-19.2
The second phenomenon is the changing of medical conferences as a result of social distancing and travel-banning policy. The majority of medical conferences have been canceled or moved to virtual conferences.3, 4 The most significant impact of the change from in-person meeting to virtual meeting is the accessibility of audiences due to reduced time, financial burden, and resources needed.
The last phenomenon is the exposure of faults in the peer-review process. This scandal comes from retractions of articles about COVID-19 by The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine, which are both the highest impact medical journals.5 Both journals now require submission of the database as a data sharing policy for further inspection.
In our views, these phenomena have permanently shaped biomedical publication into a new era.
medRxiv: the preprint server for health sciences. https://www.medrxiv.org. Accessed December 18, 2020.
Else H. How a torrent of COVID science changed research publishing - in seven charts. Nature. 2020;588(7839):553. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03564-y.
Haelle T. Popularity of virtual conferences may mean a permanent shift. Medscape. October 19, 2020. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/939403. Accessed December 18, 2020.
Frellick M. Which conferences will still be virtual in 2021? Medscape. December 15, 2020. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/942698. Accessed December 18, 2020.
Ledford H, Van Noorden R. High-profile coronavirus retractions raise concerns about data oversight. Nature. 2020;582(7811):160. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-01695-w.