Israel: A Goliath In Middle East Science

Israel clearly dominates the entire region. It produced about 62% (some 19,000 of 30,700) of all Middle Eastern science articles indexed on SciSearch since 1987. The next biggest producer has been Egypt, with a 15% share, followed by Saudi Arabia with 10%, Kuwait with 4%, Iraq with 3%, and Jordan with a 2% share. All other countries contrib uted 1% or less of all Middle Eastern papers. In this group, Kuwait is perhaps the big surprise. The tiny nation has published about 1,200 papers in SciS

Oct 16, 1989
The Scientist Staff

Israel clearly dominates the entire region. It produced about 62% (some 19,000 of 30,700) of all Middle Eastern science articles indexed on SciSearch since 1987. The next biggest producer has been Egypt, with a 15% share, followed by Saudi Arabia with 10%, Kuwait with 4%, Iraq with 3%, and Jordan with a 2% share. All other countries contrib uted 1% or less of all Middle Eastern papers.

In this group, Kuwait is perhaps the big surprise. The tiny nation has published about 1,200 papers in SciSearch-indexed journals over, the last three years—almost half as many as the relative giant Saudi Arabia.

Each of the big three producers— Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia—exhibits different strengths. Israel is particularly strong in clinical medicine and biomedical research; it also produces a relatively large number of math and computer science papers (about a 4% world share). Egypt’s chief focus is chemistry and chemical engineering, but it also conducts much work in agricultural sciences and botany. About half of Saudi Arabia’s publications deal with the life sciences and medicine, but it, like Egypt, fields many papers in chemical engineering.

In all, these 18 Middle Eastern nations contributed less than 2% of all scientific papers indexed on SciSearch since 1987.

In terms of impact of scientific publications, as measured by citations, Israel once again ranks first among these nations.

A recently published study by the Information Science and Scientometrics Research Unit (ISSRU) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, using ISI’s Science Citation Index data from 198 1-85, showed that Israel achieved a relative citation impact score of .82 (wherein 1.0 is the average for all nations). The next highest in impact was Cyprus, with a score of .65, followed by fran at .60, and Egypt at .52. To calculate this relative citation score, the ISSRU team compared the actual number of citations per paper received by articles from each nation to the expected number of citations per paper, which it based on the average citation rates of the journals in which each paper was published (see A. Schubert, W. Glanzel, T. Braun, Scientometrics, 16:218-9, June 1989).