Early in the Epidemic: Impact of Preprints on Global Discourse of 2019-nCOV Transmissibility
12 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 11, 2020
As of February 11, 2020, more than 43,000 cases of a novel coronavirus (2019–nCoV) have been reported worldwide. Using publicly available data regarding the transmissibility potential (i.e. basic reproduction number) of 2019–nCoV, we demonstrate that relevant preprint studies generated considerable search and news media interest prior to the publication of peer-reviewed studies in the same topic area. We then show that preprint estimate ranges for the basic reproduction number associated with 2019–nCoV overlap with those presented by peer-reviewed studies that were published at a later date. Taken together, we argue that preprints are capable of driving global discourse during public health crises; however, we recommend that a consensus-based approach – as we have employed here – be considered as a means of assessing the robustness of preprint findings prior to peer review.
Keywords: novel coronavirus, preprints, transmissibility
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