Research performance of the GCC countries: A comparative analysis of quantity and quality

Ahmed H. Al-Marzouqi, Alya A. Arabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Given the increased focus on scientific research in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, it is important to have a thorough bibliometric study about their research productivity and its progress over a long period of time. Using the world's largest bibliometric database (Scival/Scopus), we analyzed the research output of the GCC countries, from 1996 to 2020, in various disciplines. We considered raw metrics of quantity (number of articles) and quality (citations, citations/article, and Field-Weighted Citation Impact -FWCI), and then normalized them to population size, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD), and number of researchers. Over the past 25 years, the GCC countries have witnessed an increase in research productivity, with Saudi Arabia having the highest research output (ca. 38,000 articles for 2020) and Qatar having the highest fold growth (77.6-fold increase). The GCC countries had diverse research portfolios with varying growth over the years across almost all disciplines. When normalized to population size or GDP, growth rates were dampened for all GCC countries. The increased research output in the GCC was coupled with a high percentage of international collaborations and a reasonable increase in the quality of publications. While the research performance in the GCC countries has promisingly enhanced, it remains low compared to that of international countries (Switzerland, Singapore, and Canada) which have remarkable research productivity. Considering the GCC's economic standings and the potential for further growth, the GCC countries would need increased investment in scientific research and in human capital to be able to catch up with the highest international standards in research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11309
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Citations
  • Field-weighted citation impact (FWCI)
  • GCC countries
  • Normalized research metrics
  • Number of publications
  • Research productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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