Story at a glance
- A new study looked at three major scientific journals and saw overall jumps in readership during the pandemic.
- In 2019, page views over the same timeframe were significantly lower.
- Non-COVID-19 research benefitted as well.
News readership spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as people clicked and scrolled to get information and understand the public health crisis.
Data gathered by researchers suggests that whitepapers and other scientific research about COVID-19 published across major health science websites like JAMA, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), and BMJ saw “unprecedented views.”
The traction COVID-19 research has garnered also benefited other research outside of the virus.
“Although the total number of published original non–COVID-19 research articles decreased during the pandemic in these 3 journals, the number of views per article has remained constant, implying that individual non–COVID-19 original research articles are receiving similar attention as before the pandemic,” the authors, whose study was published on JAMA, wrote.
The page views featured in the article were examined in year-over-year data between January to July of 2019 and the same months of 2020.
Between March to July of 2020 — when the pandemic besieged the U.S. — the three journals saw an average of about 117,342 page views of COVID-19 related articles. Non-COVID-19 articles saw roughly 10,171 views.
This represents an increase in overall readership of articles by 557 percent.
“This work begins to address the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected attention to other diseases in the medical literature,” the authors conclude. “These findings may be limited by different approaches to page view reporting and variable numbers of articles published between the studied journals.”