The currency and completeness of specialized databases of COVID-19 publications Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: Several specialized collections of COVID-19 literature have been developed during the global health emergency. These include the WHO COVID-19 Global Literature Database, Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, CAMARADES COVID-19 SOLES, Epistemonikos' COVID-19 L-OVE, and LitCovid. Our objective was to evaluate the completeness of these collections and to measure the time from when COVID-19 articles are posted to when they appear in the collections. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We tested each selected collection for the presence of 440 included studies from 25 COVID-19 systematic reviews. We sampled 112 journals and prospectively monitored their websites until a new COVID-19 article appeared. We then monitored for 2¬†weeks to see when the new articles appeared in each collection. PubMed served as a comparator. RESULTS: Every collection provided at least one record not found in PubMed. Four records (1%) were not in any of the sources studied. Collections contained between 83% and 93% of the primary studies with the WHO database being the most complete. By 2¬†weeks, between 60% and 78% of tracked articles had appeared. CONCLUSION: Our findings support the use of the best performing COVID-19 collections by systematic reviews to replace paywalled databases.


  • Butcher, Robyn
  • Sampson, Margaret
  • Couban, Rachel
  • Malin, James Edward
  • Loree, Sara
  • Brody, Stacy

publication date

  • July 2022