Tobacco smoking is the main health-care problem in the world. Evaluation of scientific output in the field of tobacco use has been poorly explored in Middle Eastern Arab (MEA) countries to date, and there are few internationally published reports on research activity in tobacco use. The main objectives of this study were to analyse the research output originating from 13 MEA countries on tobacco fields and to examine the authorship pattern and the citations retrieved from the Scopusdatabase.
Data from 1 January 2003 through 31 December 2012 were searched for documents with specific words regarding the tobacco field as 'keywords’ in the title in any 1 of the 13 MEA countries. Research productivity was evaluated based on a methodology developed and used in other bibliometric studies.
Five hundred documents were retrieved from 320 peer-reviewed journals. The greatest amount of research activity was from Egypt (25.4%), followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) (23.2%), Lebanon (16.3%), and Jordan (14.8%). The total number of citations for the 560 documents, at the time of data analysis (27 August 2013), was 5,585, with a mean ± SD of 9.95 ± 22.64 and a median (interquartile range) of 3(1–10). The h-index of the retrieved documents was 34. This study identified 232 (41.4%) documents from 53 countries in MEA-foreign country collaborations. By region, MEA collaborated most often with countries in the Americas (29.6%), followed by countries in the same MEA region (13.4%), especially KSA and Egypt.
The present data reveal a promising rise and a good start for research productivity in the tobacco field in the Arab world. Research output is low in some countries, which can be improved by investing in more international and national collaborative research projects in the field of tobacco.