Growth of health literacy research activity in three Middle Eastern countries

BMJ Health Care Inform. 2019 Sep;26(1):e000027. doi: 10.1136/bmjhci-2019-000027.


Background: Health literacy is defined as the capacity to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information. In each country, the count of published literature is a good indicator for scientific activity. This study aimed to assess the growth rate of scientific production in the field of health literacy in Middle Eastern countries during 2005-2014.

Methods: We used the PubMed database and retrieved 839 papers in the field of health literacy from three productive countries in the Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We applied the bibliometric indicator of Price's Law to assess the increase of scientific literature. The correlation between bibliometric data and some health indicators such as gross domestic product and population was calculated.

Results: Worldwide research productivity in health literacy field was 56 653 documents while that from Middle Eastern countries were 839 papers. Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were three productive countries in Middle East. Iran and Saudi Arabia have undergone exponential growth, but Turkey has undergone linear growth over the studied period.

Conclusions: In conclusion, although the present data show promising increase and good start in research productivity from countries in Middle East, they have a trivial sharing in publishing scientific papers in the field of health literacy through 2005-2014.

Keywords: Bibliometrics; Health literacy; Middle East.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Literacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle East
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data*