Are scientists guilty of newsjacking Ebola?

Given that Ebola is such a hot topic, newsjacking of Ebola to make stories relevant is commonplace. However, journalists aren’t the only ones who benefit from staying relevant, scientists benefit as well. This dataviz was created to capture any uptick in scientific articles about Ebola since the most recent epidemic.

Trend in the % of scientific articles about Ebola from 1990-2014

Graphic 10

Notes: To obtain the percent of publications published each year the tile/abstract field was searched for ‘Ebola’ every year from 1990 to 2014 in PubMed. 2014 data is up to 10/27/2014.

What the dataviz above shows is that there was a 360% increase in the number of scientific articles published about Ebola in 2014 compared to 2013. This significant uptick shows that the scientific community clearly responded to the mass media attention about the epidemic. Of course we want science to be relevant, but are there really that many Ebola experts out there and that much new Ebola science to discuss to account for the uptick? Or is the uptick just a result of newsjacking Ebola in order to seem relevant?

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