Ophthalmology Research Trends in Saudi Arabia: A Four-Decade Bibliometric Analysis

Cureus. 2020 Nov 13;12(11):e11465. doi: 10.7759/cureus.11465.


Background Clinical research output by a country could reflect its advancement in medical education and quality of patient care. This study aims to assess the contribution of Saudi research in the field of ophthalmology. Methods This retrospective cross-sectional bibliometric analysis was performed in March 2020 to assess the contribution of Saudi research in the field of ophthalmology. Web of science (WoS) advanced search engine was used. All Saudi-affiliated publications from 1980 till 2019 were included. A qualitative assessment included the total number of publications, citations, citing articles, journal titles, and affiliated institutions. Quality of publications was evaluated by H-index. A comparative quantitative analysis of Arabian and some selected countries worldwide was performed. Publication productivity was adjusted to each country by population size. Results In the period of 1980-2019, Saudi Arabia published 2178 articles in ophthalmology. The number of publications (Spearman's correlation Coefficient = 0.94; P < .001) and sum of citations (Spearman's correlation Coefficient = 0.99; P < .001) increased significantly over the past 40 years. The highest notable increase was detected in the period for 2010-2019. H-index was 58 with an average citation of 10.79 per article. The sum of citations was 23,507 while 18,460 articles were cited by Saudi publications. When compared to other countries, Saudi Arabia ranks the highest among Arab countries and the second most productive in Asia following Japan. Conclusion Despite the continuous improvement in the trends of ophthalmology research in Saudi Arabia, further effort is needed to strengthen the publications output and achieve a considerable international status.

Keywords: bibliometric analysis; bibliometrics; ophthalmology; research publications.