ISLAMIC WORLD: Strong science in Iran, Tunisia, Turkey

Iran, Tunisia and Turkey are among a number of countries beginning to challenge the dominance of established powerhouses of scientific research, according to major a new report that has identified rapidly emerging nations “not traditionally associated with a strong science base”.

Although traditional ‘scientific superpowers’ still lead the field, a report released this week by Britain’s Royal Society – roughly equivalent to the country’s Academy of Sciences – looked beyond the more commonly documented challengers to Western science domination such as China, India and Brazil.

It found that Iran has been expanding fastest in the number of scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals, growing from just 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008.

Other up-and-coming countries include Tunisia and Turkey, according to the report Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century.

Turkey has improved its scientific performance “at a rate almost rivaling that of China”, after declaring research a public priority in the 1990s, the study said. Spending on R&D increased almost six-fold between 1995 and 2007 and now Turkey spends more annually than countries like Denmark, Finland or Norway. Four times as many papers with Turkish authors were published in 2008 as in 1996, the study said.

Tunisia has increased the percentage of its gross domestic product spent on research and development from 0.03% in 1996 to 1.25% … >>>

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