Characterizing the Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Dermatology Literature

Main Article Content

Sydney Weir
Reagan Hattaway
Nikhi Singh
Carter Boyd
Kshirpa Hemal


COVID-19, medical education, dermatology literature, Altmetric Attention Score



The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted multiple aspects of medicine, including research focus and medical literature. Specifically, the dermatology literature has reflected the challenges faced by dermatologists throughout the pandemic.1 Given the widespread interest in understanding the pandemic and its effects on the field of dermatology, we conducted an analysis of the dermatology literature to characterize the literature’s impact, content, trends, and the publication process. We anticipated that there would be more interest in dermatology publications pertaining to COVID-19.


Journal Citation Reports was used to select the 15 dermatology journals with the highest impact factor in 2019, and all articles published in these journals in 2020 were evaluated.2 Altmetric Attention Score (AAS) was recorded for each article. For COVID-19 related articles, we also assessed whether AAS and citations varied by the type of article (editorial, original article, or guideline) and sub-specialty of dermatology to which the article pertained.


Analysis revealed journals prioritized publishing articles related to COVID-19, as the mean time from submission to publication was shorter (43 days) than what has previously been observed. COVID-19 related articles in the dermatology literature received more widespread attention as measured by the average AAS (33 vs. 4 p<0.001) and were higher impact as measured by citation count (11 vs. 1, p<0.001) than non-COVID-19 articles.


These findings demonstrates that dermatology research published regarding the COVID-19 pandemic received broader attention and were higher impact, suggesting the importance and influence of the pandemic for dermatology.


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