Early COVID-19 research is riddled with poor methods and low-quality results − a problem for science the pandemic worsened but didn’t create

The pandemic spurred an increase in COVID-19 research, much of it with methodological holes. Andriy Onufriyenko/Moment via Getty Images

By Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Texas A&M University
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers flooded journals with studies about the then-novel coronavirus. Many publications streamlined the peer-review process for COVID-19 papers while keeping acceptance rates relatively high. The assumption was that policymakers and the public would be able to identify valid and useful research among a very large volume of rapidly disseminated information.

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