The scientific literature on Coronaviruses, COVID-19 and its associated safety-related research dimensions: A scientometric analysis and scoping review

Saf Sci. 2020 Sep;129:104806. doi: 10.1016/j.ssci.2020.104806. Epub 2020 May 7.

Abstract

The COVID-19 global pandemic has generated an abundance of research quickly following the outbreak. Within only a few months, more than a thousand studies on this topic have already appeared in the scientific literature. In this short review, we analyse the bibliometric aspects of these studies on a macro level, as well as those addressing Coronaviruses in general. Furthermore, through a scoping analysis of the literature on COVID-19, we identify the main safety-related dimensions that these studies have thus far addressed. Our findings show that across various research domains, and apart from the medical and clinical aspects such as the safety of vaccines and treatments, issues related to patient transport safety, occupational safety of healthcare professionals, biosafety of laboratories and facilities, social safety, food safety, and particularly mental/psychological health and domestic safety have thus far attracted most attention of the scientific community in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis also uncovers various potentially significant safety problems caused by this global health emergency which currently have attracted only limited scientific focus but may warrant more attention. These include matters such as cyber safety, economic safety, and supply-chain safety. These findings highlight why, from an academic research perspective, a holistic interdisciplinary approach and a collective scientific effort is required to help understand and mitigate the various safety impacts of this crisis whose implications reach far beyond the bio-medical risks. Such holistic safety-scientific understanding of the COVID-19 crisis can furthermore be instrumental to be better prepared for a future pandemic.

Keywords: 2019-nCov; COVID-19; Novel coronavirus; Safety.