UNC-Chapel Hill COVID-19 Research Output & Collaboration Analysis

Summary of HSL Work

Research contributing to discoveries associated with COVID-19 has been growing on the UNC campus over the past year. To help increase visibility of this integral research and illustrate the extensive organizational collaborations that help move UNC research forward, a team from University Libraries – Health Sciences Library analyzed the COVID-19 research output of UNC Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) researchers in May 2021. Between January 2020 and April 2021, a total of 782 UNC-CH researchers have authored 579 publications. This publication set was used to answer the following questions:

  1. What is UNC-CH’s research output related to COVID-19 and in which journals are UNC-CH researchers publishing?
  2. Which individuals within the University have been involved in research efforts?
  3. How are schools within UNC-CH collaborating on COVID-19 research efforts?
  4. With which institutions, organizations, and countries are UNC-CH researchers collaborating?
  5. What are the various areas of focus being investigated within the research domain?

 Data Set

The citation dataset analyzed for this project were retrieved from Scopus and PubMed. Both databases were searched for literature relating to COVID-19 with one or more authors affiliated with UNC-CH. Publications from 2020 to April 15, 2021 were included in the analyses.

Results Summary and Deliverables

Bibliometric analyses results are summarized in the brief highlights and visualizations below. The full report including complete analysis results and links to supplementary data and documentation is available on the HSL website.

Author Analysis

Table 1: Affiliations for UNC-CH researchers with one or more COVID-19-related publications. Publications may be counted for multiple units if researchers from different UNC-CH units were among the authors on a single publication.

Table 1: UNC-Chapel Hill Researcher Affiliations - UNC COVID-19 Research 2021Figure 1: Total (125) COVID-19-related publications January 2020 to April 2021 for 18 authors with eight or more publications who reported an affiliation with UNC-CH.

Figure 1: Author Analysis - UNC COVID-19 Research 2021Topic Analysis

Table 2: Topic analysis for all UNC-CH publications related to COVID-19 January 2020 to April 2021 (N=579). Studies assigned to clusters and keywords generated using k-means algorithm. Authors added bold formatting to indicate key topics for each cluster.

Table 2: Topic Analysis via Supervised Clustering - UNC COVID-19 Research 2021Collaboration Analysis

Figure 2: Organizational collaborations between UNC-CH researchers and U.S. or international institutions with five or more shared publications. All UNC-CH units (e.g., health affairs schools, UNC Health, institutes) are combined as single data point in blue.

Figure 2: Organizational Collaboration Analysis - UNC COVID-19 Research 2021

Table 3. Collaborations between UNC-CH authors and U.S. and global institutions on COVID-19-related publications; (a). institutions in the U.S. (34) with 10 or more publication collaborations; (b). global institutions (24) with 4 or more publication collaborations.

Table 3: Institution Collaboration Rank Table - UNC COVID-19 Research 2021In total, of the 579 UNC-CH authored publications analyzed, UNC-CH researchers collaborated with more than 4000 external researchers in 81 other countries (Figure 3). International collaborations with UNC-CH authors primarily occurred with researchers in Canada (N=63), the United Kingdom (N=62), China (N=38), and Australia (N=35).

Figure 3: UNC-CH COVID-19 global research collaborations. UNC-CH authors collaborated with researchers from 82 countries including the United States. Numbers and color density indicate total publications co-authored by UNC-CH authors and researchers in each corresponding country.

Figure 3: Country Collaboration Analysis - UNC COVID-19 Research 2021

Significance and Future Directions

When examining the extent to which UNC-CH has collaborated on a global scale, it is clear that the value the institution holds in being a strong global public research university remains strong. Through engaging in research focused on therapeutics, behavioral health, international regulations, respiratory diagnostics, vaccine development, mental health, and pediatrics, UNC researchers have made impactful contributions towards understanding, mitigating, and ultimately, combatting the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when academic partners and leaders were called to action.

In future iterations of this analysis, our team will focus on identifying efficiencies throughout our processes whereby we can seamlessly update UNC-based COVID-19 literature on a semi-annual basis. In addition, the team plans to provide search alerts for schools or research teams that are interested in keeping up to date with literature in their research domain. We also plan to investigate the creation of an interactive dashboard from which users can view and interact with real-time data.

More Information

See https://go.unc.edu/UNC-COVID19-Research for the full report and to download supplementary materials including the citation dataset and search strategies.