Recently, the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry has been growing rapidly in many countries in the world, including in Arab countries. Pharmaceuticals reach aquatic environments and are prevalent at small concentrations in wastewater from the drug manufacturing industry and hospitals. Such presence also occurs in domestic wastewater and results from the disposal of unused and expired medicines. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyze and compare the quantity and quality of publications made by researchers in Arab countries on pharmaceutical wastewater.
To retrieve documents related to pharmaceutical wastewater, we used the Scopus database on November 21, 2015. All documents with terms related to pharmaceutical wastewater in the title or abstract were analysed. Results obtained from Arab countries were compared with those obtained from Turkey, Iran and Israel.
Globally, a total of 6360 publications were retrieved while those from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and Israel, were 179, 113, 96 and 54 publications respectively. The highest share of publications belonged to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with a total of 47 (26.2 %) publications, followed by Egypt (38; 21.2 %), Tunisia (17; 9.5 %) and Morocco (16; 8.9 %). The total number of citations was 1635, with a mean of 9.13 and a median (inter quartile range) of 3 (1.0–10.0). The study identified 87 (48.6 %) documents with 32 countries of international collaboration with Arab countries. It was noted that Arab researchers collaborated mainly with authors in Western Europe (54; 30.2 %), followed by authors from the Asiatic region (29; 16.2 %) and Northern America (15; 8.4 %). The most productive institution was King Saud University, KSA (13; 7.3 %), followed by the National Research Centre, Egypt (10; 7.3 %).
This study showed that KSA has the largest share of productivity on pharmaceutical wastewater research. Bibliometric analysis demonstrated that research productivity, mainly from Arab countries in pharmaceutical wastewater research, was relatively lagging behind. More research effort is required for Arab countries to catch up with those of non-Arab Middle Easter countries on pharmaceutical wastewater research.