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From skirmishes to protracted battles: a bibliometric analysis about human beings and coronaviruses from 1991 to 2020
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  • Ling Yue,
  • Youjuan Fu,
  • Yuanquan LI,
  • Jiayi Huang,
  • Yifei Wang,
  • Ziyi Zhu,
  • Zhiyang Wang,
  • Jing Li,
  • Wei Chen,
  • Chao He
Ling Yue

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Youjuan Fu
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Yuanquan LI
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Jiayi Huang
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Yifei Wang
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Zhiyang Wang
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Chao He
Wuhan University
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Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (COVID-19) has caused an unprecedented upsurge in the publication of scientific studies as the global community has collaborated to control the spread of the disease. Methods: We conducted a bibliometric analysis to evaluate the research trends and identify the core content based on publication output, the geographic distribution, collaborations and keywords. We searched for articles published from 1900 to June 30, 2020 based on the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) in the Web of Science. Results: Our analysis revealed the following: (1) The number of publications clearly increased after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreaks and sharply increased during the COVID-19 outbreak. Compared with SARS and MERS, COVID-19 generated a more dramatic and prolonged upsurge in publication. (2) Compared with SARS and MERS, COVID-19 had a more widespread and powerful effect on countries and territories, with a rapid onset. Countries and territories engaged in more international collaboration and communication to cope with the epidemics, and the COVID-19 pandemic led to marked increases in research advancements. (3) Based on the keywords, we found that multiple methods were used to address the COVID-19 pandemic that were based on biology, especially the immune response. Conclusions: Epidemics lead to an extreme acceleration and changes in research.