Mathematical analysis and modeling allow policymakers to understand and predict the dynamics of an infectious disease under several different scenarios. The current study aimed to analyze global research activity on mathematical modeling of transmission and control of several infectious diseases with a known history of serious outbreaks.
Relevant publications were retrieved using a comprehensive validated search query. The database used was SciVerse Scopus. Indicators related to evolution, growth of publications, infectious diseases encountered, key players, citations, and international research collaboration were presented.
The search strategy found 5606. The growth of publications started in 1967 and showed a sharp rise in 2020 and 2021. The retrieved articles received relatively high citations (h-index = 158). Despite being multidisciplinary, Plos One journal made the highest contribution to the field. The main findings of the study are summarized as follows: (a) COVID-19 had a strong impact on the number of publications in the field, specifically during the years 2020 and 2021; (b) research in the field was published in a wide range of journals, mainly those in the field of infectious diseases and mathematical sciences; (c) research in the field was mainly published by scholars in the United States and the United Kingdom; (d) international research collaboration between active countries and less developed countries was poor; (e) research activity relied on research groups with a large number of researchers per group indicative of good author-author collaboration; (f) HIV/AIDS, coronavirus disease, influenza, and malaria were the most frequently researched diseases; (g) recently published articles on COVID-19 received the highest number of citations; and (h) researchers in the Eastern Mediterranian and South-East Asian regions made the least contribution to the retrieved articles.
Mathematical modeling is gaining popularity as a tool for understanding the dynamics of infectious diseases. The application of mathematical modeling on new emerging infectious disease outbreaks is a priority. Research collaboration with less developed countries in the field of mathematical epidemiology is needed and should be prioritized and funded.