Scientific research papers on Covid-19 have been downloaded more than 150 million times since the international publishing community provided free access to tens of thousands of articles. Publishers across the world collaborated to release in excess of 50,000 research papers, says the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).
The download figure far outstrips the performance of many of the best-selling computer games, books and music tracks. The figures are even more impressive when you consider they were achieved in a matter of months, while GTA took seven years to reach 130 million and the Da Vinci Code, 17 years.
The publishers also enabled deep-dive analysis of all the research data so that fellow researchers can quickly access the data that supports the articles.
Work on releasing this vast repository of knowledge began in January, when STM members, which include all the major society publishers, medical associations and academic publishers such as Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and Springer Nature, made all Covid 19 related papers freely available.
STM created a resource page in February linking to a wide variety of publisher hubs and readily available articles. Since then, publishers have continued to work to identify and improve the use of these resources in tandem with world governments and non-government organisations that include the World Health Organisation.
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