Every Picture Tells a Story: Medical Articles in the Year of COVID

Related articles

For many of us, over the past year we’ve read like never before. In addition to many more articles, we read from many more sources. Here is a bit of information from a new research letter in the JAMA Network.



The bar graph shows the number of views; we assume that the views are the same as reading the entire article, for the first six months of 2019 and 2020, for three of the major journals, JAMA, NEJM, and BMJ. [1]

In 2019 they published 238 articles between March and July; the period was chosen as the pandemic's earliest days. All of the articles were unrelated to COVID-19 as the pandemic awaited. For the same period in 2020, original research unrelated to COVID-19 was featured 23% less. There were only 199 articles. Based on views, those unrelated articles still captured the same readership as in 2019. 

COVID-19 was a different tale. The total number of articles changed little, which means that the COVID-19 articles replaced that 23% decrease, so we are talking about 39 articles. But page views increased 557% - more than five-fold. COVID-19 generated quite a bit of interest among the academics writing and the physicians, journalists, and public reading. 


[1] Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, and the British Medical Journal.


Source: Trends in Views of Articles Published in 3 Leading Medical Journals During the COVID 19 Pandemic JAMA Network Open DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.6459"