The scientific community is facing challenges due to the pandemic, and we pledge our support.
COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 need no introduction. The virus has infected hundreds of thousands of people and caused over ten thousand deaths worldwide. In addition, COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions in everybody’s lives, with schools and businesses closed, events canceled and travel restricted. Cities, states, even entire countries, have been locked down.
In response to this situation, the scientific community has sprung into action. Researchers have worked around the clock, establishing collaborative efforts and openly sharing their findings and data. The new coronavirus genome was quickly sequenced, structures are being churned out, and clinical and epidemiological data are collected and promptly analyzed. All of this information is essential for guiding public health policies and developing drugs and vaccines.
Funding agencies and publishers have also reacted to these urgent needs, committing to fast and direct access to research on the topic. Springer Nature has made all relevant coronavirus content freely available and encourages early sharing of manuscripts via preprint servers; we also offer support to researchers in depositing their COVID-19 data, at no cost (https://www.springernature.com/gp/researchers/campaigns/coronavir/research-data).
Clearly, this whirlwind of activity does not apply to all scientists. Most research has been severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many universities and research institutes are currently shut down. While public health is paramount, there is concern about the unknown duration and impact of these interruptions.
We editors are fortunate to be able to continue to support our communities while working remotely. We remain committed to scientific excellence and timely editorial processes, but we also understand the challenging circumstances researchers are currently facing. Researchers with teaching duties have had to develop online courses at very short notice, many are also juggling family responsibilities, and we are all concerned for the health and safety of those close to us.
We certainly do not want to cause more anxiety. If you need more time to complete a reviewer report or cannot do it at all, just let us know. If you are unable to perform additional experiments or analyses requested by reviewers, please contact us so we can work together to develop a sensible revision plan and extend timelines as needed. These are stressful times, but we are here to support you.
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Science in the time of COVID-19. Nat Struct Mol Biol 27, 307 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41594-020-0423-7