Dental Hypotheses

: 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--3

Contemporary remarkable scientific growth in Iran: House of Wisdom will rise again

Jafar Kolahi1, Mohamadreza Abrishami2,  
1 Independent Research Scientist, Founder and Managing Editor of Dental Hypotheses, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Periodontology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mohamadreza Abrishami
Department of Periodontology, ShahidBeheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran

How to cite this article:
Kolahi J, Abrishami M. Contemporary remarkable scientific growth in Iran: House of Wisdom will rise again.Dent Hypotheses 2013;4:1-3

How to cite this URL:
Kolahi J, Abrishami M. Contemporary remarkable scientific growth in Iran: House of Wisdom will rise again. Dent Hypotheses [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Sep 29 ];4:1-3
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Scientific activity and knowledge creation has a long history in Iran and the Academy of Gundishapur was established in the 3 rd century Anno Domini (AD) under the rule of Sassanidkings. It was an important medical center of the 6 th and 7 th centuries AD. [1] Well-known scientists came from Iran, e.g., Avicenna. His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine, which was a standard medical text at many medieval universities. The Canon of Medicine was used as a text-book in the universities of Montpellier and Leuvenas late as 1650. [2]

Nevertheless, recent rapid scientific growth in Iran has been analyzed in the most prestigious scientific publications. [3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] In August 2009, Iran announced a "comprehensive plan for science" focused on higher education and stronger links between industry and academia. The establishment of a US $2.5 million center for nanotechnology research is one of the products of this plan. Other commitments include, boosting R&D investment to 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) (0.59% of GDP in 2006), and increasing education to 7% of GDP by 2030 (5.49% of GDP in 2007). [7]

Iran's scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238. [6] Scientific output has grown 11 times faster in Iran than the world average, faster than any other country. A survey of the number of scientific publications listed in the Web of Science database shows that growth in the Middle-East, mostly in Turkey and Iran, is nearly four times faster than the world average. [5] In addition, [Figure 1] shows number of published Iranian articles according to SCImago journal and country rank. This portal gets data from Scopus® database from 1996. [9]{Figure 1}

The countries showing the fastest rate of growth in publication output and those rising up the global league s as collaborative hubs show strong trends of growth in mobile phone usage and ininternet penetration. Internet growth in Iran, for example, has grown 13,000% since the turn of the century (albeit from a starting point of only 250,000 users). Internet use in China has grown over 1,800% in the same period (from 22.5 million users to 420 million) and in Tunisia, penetration has grown 3,600% (from 100,000 users to 3.6 million). [7]

Of more interest, despite political tensions between the USA and Iran, scientific collaboration has proven surprisingly resilient. Between the periods 1996-2002 to 2004-2008, co-authored papers between these two countries increased from just 388 papers to 1,831 papers, an increase of 472%. [7]

In an article titled "365 days: 2011 in review" [3] Nature journal of science has rounded up major economic and political situations including, the shut down of Shuttle program, the particle collider, the world's best selling drug, rolling out of cheap vaccines in Africa, the triple trauma of Japan, tsunami, earthquake, and financial cuts, which all shaped and affected science in the year 2011. In its analysis of the published articles in the first 10 months of 2011, Nature compared 40 top countries in this respect. Europe has allocated 38.4% of the share to itself, while North and South America have published 29.5%, Asian-Pacific courtiers 27.8% and Middle-Eastern and African countries gained 4.4% of the papers. [3],[10] By producing 22.7% of the articles, the United States has the first rank while China has published 10.4% to be the second country while in the Middle-East Turkey has the first place and Iran is the second by producing 1.3% of the whole papers. By this rate of production, Iran has gained the 20 th place in the world. If the GDP per capita and paper per population were to be included as the other criteria for the calculations smaller European countries would take the top ranks instead. [3],[10]

By a 20% increase in the number of published articles compared to 2010, Iran has gained the first rank, China the second rank by 15%, and South-Korea and India third and fourth positions by more than 10%, respectively, and Spain fifth by nearly 10% [Figure 2]. [3],[10]{Figure 2}

This fact may surprise many people, especially, in the western nations used to leading science.

Yet, it is not so surprising when compared with other rapidly industrializing countries. Science-Metrix, a data-analysis company in Montreal, Canada, has showed "geopolitical shifts in knowledge creation" since 1980. [8] A rapid rise in Middle-Eastern, Chinese, Indian, and Brazilian science stands out from a report published by the UK's Royal Society, comparing global publication and citation rates between 1993 and 2003 with those between 2004 and 2008. Similar to Iran, other, smaller players are also stepping up their research movement. Turkey, for example, quadrupled its output between 1996 and 2008, after increasing six-fold its funding for R&D. Similar trends emerged in Tunisia, Singapore, and Qatar. [6],[8]


Overall scientific growth in Middle-East has been rapid (nearly four time faster than at the world level), with Iran and Turkey leading the pick, increase 11 and 5.5 times faster, respectively, than output at the world level from 1980-1994 and 1995-2009. [8] In particular, Iran embarked on of the fastest build-up of scientific capabilitiesthe world witnessed during last two decades. [8] Considering the above mentioned data, it seems logic to hypothesize that scientific excellence can re-emerge in Iran [4] and the House of Wisdom [11] will raise again, as Quantum Physicist Jim Al-Khalili has stated. [12]


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