To meet the future challenges of infectious diseases and limit the spread of multidrug resistant microorganisms, a better understanding of published studies in the field of infectious diseases is needed. The objective of this study was to analyze the quantity and quality of research activity in the field of infectious diseases in Arab countries and compare it with that in non-Arab countries.
Documents published in Arab countries within the research category of ?infectious diseases? were extracted and analyzed using the Web of Science database. The data analyzed represent research productivity during the time interval between 1900 ? 2012.
Worldwide, the total number of documents published in the field of infectious diseases up to 2012 was 227,188. A total of 2,408 documents in the field of infectious diseases were published in Arab countries, which represents 1.06% of worldwide research output. Research output from Arab countries in the field of infectious diseases was low for decades. However, approximately a five-fold increase was observed in the past decade. Arab countries ranked 56th to 218th on the standard competition ranking (SCR) in worldwide publications in the field of infectious diseases. Egypt, with a total publication of 464 (19.27%) documents ranked first among Arab countries, while Kuwait University was the most productive institution with a total of 158 (6.56%) documents. Average citation per document published in Arab countries was 13.25 and the h-index was 64. Tuberculosis (230; 9.55%), malaria (223; 9.26%), and hepatitis (189; 7.8%) were the top three infectious diseases studied as according to the retrieved documents.
The present data reveals that some Arab countries contribute significantly to the field of infectious diseases. However, Arab countries need to work harder to bridge the gap in this field. Compared with non-Arab countries in the Middle East, research output from Arab countries was high, but more efforts are needed to enhance the quality of this output. Future research in the field should be encouraged and correctly directed.