Mapping Two Decades of Research Productivity in the Middle Eastern and Arab Countries: A Comprehensive Bibliometric Analysis
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Middle Eastern and Arab countries have been experiencing significant advancements in scientific research and development over the past few decades. Understanding the trends, patterns, and impact of research within this region can provide valuable insights into its scientific landscape, identify areas of strength,
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Middle Eastern and Arab countries have been experiencing significant advancements in scientific research and development over the past few decades. Understanding the trends, patterns, and impact of research within this region can provide valuable insights into its scientific landscape, identify areas of strength, and uncover potential areas for improvement. This study presents a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of research productivity in the Middle Eastern and Arab region over a 20-year period. The findings revealed a consistent increase in research productivity, yet mapped significant disparities between countries in scholarly output, excellence, and impact. Adjusting for population size and GDP, Iran displayed the highest publication activity, trailed by Egypt and Turkey. Delving into the distribution of research output across different journal quartiles, the results revealed that this region has a lower percentage of scholarly output published in high-impact journals (both the top 10% and the top 25% categories). Compared to North America and the European Union, the Middle Eastern and Arab region consistently exhibited lower performance in terms of top 10% citations, average citations per publication, and field-weighted citation impact. The field of physical sciences took the lead as the most prevalent subject area in the Middle Eastern and Arab region, comprising about 60.5% of the research emphasis. Conversely, social sciences garnered comparatively less research attention, making up approximately 8.9% of the focus. The region showed strong international collaboration levels (40.5%), yet relatively low national (24.4%) and academic–corporate collaborations (1.5%). The outcomes of this study can facilitate international comparisons and benchmarking, allowing Middle Eastern and Arab countries to position themselves within the global scientific community. There remains a need to prioritize quality over quantity by emphasizing rigorous research practices and collaboration. An ongoing evaluation of research performance using a combination of indicators can help track progress and adjust strategies as needed.