OXFORD, England, June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- 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, whilst GTA took seven years to reach 130 million and the Da Vinci Code, 17 years, said STM.
Ian Moss. CEO of STM, said: "The response to the crisis by the publishing community was swift and continuous and will no doubt make a major contribution to our understanding of the virus and how the world can fight it."
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 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.
At STM we support our members in their mission to advance research worldwide. Our 150 members based in over 20 countries around the world collectively publish 66% of all journal articles and tens of thousands of monographs and reference works. As academic and professional publishers, learned societies, university presses, start-ups and established players we work together to serve society by developing standards and technology to ensure research is of high quality, trustworthy and easy to access. We promote the contribution that publishers make to innovation, openness and the sharing of knowledge and embrace change to support the growth and sustainability of the research ecosystem. As a common good, we provide data and analysis for all involved in the global activity of research.