Abstract The world is looking forward to a prompt response by the scientific community in order to overcome the first pandemic of the 21st century. This study aimed to provide an overview of scientific output on COVID-19 during its first year. We assembled information regarding 60,830 articles related to COVID-19 indexed in the WoS database from January 24 to December 13, 2020. Only 4 countries accounted for about 60% of the articles (USA, China, Italy, and England) and 12 countries accounted for about 95% of the world scientific output on COVID-19 (USA, China, Italy, England, India, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Iran, and Turkey). 25 research centers around the world contributed with more than 500 papers on COVID-19. Papers were scattered throughout 6,133 journals, with 12 journals with > 250 articles. 20 articles (0.03%) have already received more than the 1,000 citations. The response of the scientific endeavor to this acute global public health emergency has been fast and robust. The overview provided by the analysis of the scientific response to the pandemic may contribute to further studies aiming to evaluate the impact and changes in the scientific endeavor for the next years in light of the forthcoming new world framework.