Background Chronic respiratory diseases, like bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are a worldwide health problem. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of asthma and COPD-related research from Arab countries has not been explored and there are few internationally published reports on such field. The main objectives of this study were to analyze research output originating from Arab countries in the field of bronchial asthma and COPD.
Methods Original scientific articles or reviews published from the 22 Arab countries were screened using specific words pertaining to asthma and COPD using Scopus database and search engine. Research productivity was evaluated based on: (a) total and trends of contribution of each Arab country to asthma and COPD research and (b) journals in which researchers from Arab countries published their research.
Results The total number of original research and review articles published globally about bronchial asthma and COPD was 163,964. The leading country in bronchial asthma and COPD research was United States of America (38,632; 23.56%). Worldwide, Turkey ranked 19th while Israel and Iran ranked 25th and 29th respectively. Among Arab countries, Egypt and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came on positions 39th and 43rd, respectively. A total of 1,304 documents about bronchial asthma and COPD were published from Arab countries which represents 0.8% of the global research output. Research in bronchial asthma was almost double that in COPD. Research from Arab countries was low and showed a significant increase after 2000. Approximately 12% of research activity in asthma and COPD from Arab countries was published in Saudi Medical Journal, Annals of Saudi Medicine, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal and Tunisie Medicale. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a total publication of 353 (27.07%) ranked first among the Arab countries while University of Kuwait was the most productive institution with a total of 123 (9.43%) documents. Conclusions The present data showed relatively low research productivity about bronchial asthma and COPD in Arab countries. Research output can be improved by investing more in international and national collaborative research projects in the field of asthma and COPD.