Iran leads in scientific research in Middle East, North Africa: Study
Iran has been leading the way towards reviving the Middle East’s commitment to knowledge and learning through its accelerated scientific research in various fields, a new study revealed.
According to a latest study titled The Changing Research Landscape of the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Iran has even left Turkey and Israel behind as the largest producer of research papers in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT).
Iran’s world share of the Web of Science literature – just 0.2% in 2000 – surged to 2.3% in less than two decades.
The latest ISI view of research in the MENAT, a region spreading from Morocco in the west to Iran in the east, is being enhanced by new developments led by the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and the Islamic World Science Citation Center (ISC) in Iran.
It has noted that the ISC – which aims to provide an evaluation of Iranian scientific journals based on scientometric indicators and principles used in the Web of Science – now covers 1,825 Iranian peer-reviewed journals extending to 3,400 titles with journals published in almost all Muslim nations.
More than one million records, covering more than 40 million references and one million citations, have been indexed in ISC with about 54% being English language journals, 38% Farsi journals and 8% Arabic.
Iran is clearly specialised in physical and technological sciences, said the report.
The ISI’s latest study stated that the Iranians increasingly partner with colleagues abroad, despite external sanctions, helping the nation, whose scientific research was once in retreat, become increasingly networked, with a tally of internationally co-authored papers rising through 35%.
“During 2015-2019, Iran cut its share of papers published in low-impact titles by 30% and increased papers in top quartile – typically Anglophone – journals by the same. This is a considerable achievement for Iranian researchers who are non-native English writers,” the study said.
This is despite the economic sanctions that mean shortages of supplies and curbs on travel to international conferences. The country’s scientists have also been credited with urgent calls to address academic misconducts such as fabrication, falsification and plagiarism through better education and institutional policies.