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The academic response to COVID-19: a survey report

Open science Academic publishing Academics

COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented challenge to the international scientific community. Along with the disruption faced by most of the world's population, many researchers have felt an added pressure to understand, cure and mitigate the virus.

In order to gain insight into what impact COVID-19 has had on the international scientific community, their work and the implications for science, Frontiers conducted a survey with their editors, reviewers and authors in May and June 2020. In one of the largest academic surveys ever conducted, 25,307 members of the academic community participated, representing diverse countries, roles, and areas of research.

Key findings:

  • Despite the massive disruption, researchers' day to day work has not been significantly affected by COVID-19 at the time of the survey, with many able to continue their professional role throughout.
  • Many researchers expressed that policy makers had not sufficiently taken scientific advice into account to mitigate the pandemic.
  • Nearly half of the researchers surveyed fear that the pandemic will have a long-lasting effect on funding.
  • Researchers ask that policy makers invest more funding into basic research, and better ways for science to advise policy and decision making.
  • The pandemic has encouraged many to reconsider how they share their work with researchers more likely to publish open access, share their data and use preprint servers.
  • Most researchers want to contribute to task forces, primarily with research into the virus itself or through interdisciplinary knowledge-sharing.
  • There is concern about future pandemics, but researchers are equally concerned about climate change, which we can prepare for and mitigate with the help of science.
  • Researchers stress the importance of learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing us to become more resilient in the future.

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