The coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic mobilized the international scientific community in the search for its cure and containment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of the rapid response to the COVID-19 of the scientific community in selected Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico) in the period running from January to August 2020. Rapid response is reconceptualized from its original meaning in health policy, as the swift mobilization of existing scientific resources to address an emergency (DeVita et al., 2017). The paper explores the rapid response of the Argentinian, Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian and Mexican scientific communities from the perspective of bibliometric and altmetric data. The authors will examine scientific publications indexed to the Web of Science (WoS) dealing with COVID-19. Besides patterns of scientific output and impact as measured by citations, the authors complement the analysis with altmetric analysis. The aim is to verify whether or not factors that explain the extent of scientific impact can also be identified with respect to the wider impact made evident by altmetric indicators (Haustein, 2016). The authors identified a somewhat limited response of the Argentinian, Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian and Mexican scientific communities to COVID-19 in terms of quantity of publications. The authorship of publications in the topic of COVID-19 was associated with authorship of publications dealing with locally relevant diseases. Some factors appear to contribute to visibility of scientific outputs. Papers that involved wider international collaborations and authors with previous publications in arboviruses were associated with higher levels of citations. Previous work on arbovirus was also associated with higher altmetric attention. The country of origin of authors exerted a positive effect on altmetric indicators. A limitation in the analysis is that, due to the nature of the data source (WoS), the authors were unable to verify the career status and the productivity of the authors in the sample. Nonetheless, the results appear to suggest that there is some overlapping in authors conducting research in Arboviruses and COVID-19. Career status and productivity should be the focus of future research. In the context of countries with limited scientific resources, like the ones investigated in our Latin American sample, previous efforts in the study of locally relevant diseases may contribute to the creation of an expertise that can be applied when a health emergency brings about a novel disease.
Author(s): Janaina Pamplona da Costa, André Luiz Sica de Campos, Paulo Roberto Cintra, Liz Felix Greco, Johan Hendrik Poker
Organization(s): State University of Campinas
Source: Online Information Review