An Analysis of Research Productivity in Saudi Arabia and Iran
Education is vital as it is a major investment in human capital. Tertiary education, in particular, contributes to the growth of knowledge and advances skills, which helps in the development of a country. This paper aims to look at the research and technological output at the tertiary level in Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have an aspiration for leadership in the Islamic world and have been fighting for regional domination. Providing an overview of their tertiary education in these countries could be used to understand where the countries stand in their social and economic aspirations, especially when their economies move from oil to knowledge-based.
To achieve the objective of the study, qualitative thematic analysis was done on secondary data extracted from the official websites of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The data suggest that Iran has a higher research output and development at the tertiary level than Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia needs to focus on its research output to achieve its social and economic aspiration to move to a knowledge economy.
The findings reveal that while Iran has a much larger tertiary system than Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia spends a higher percentage of its GDP on education (5.14%) than Iran (2.92%) and has a higher student-instructor ratio (19.85%) than Iran (15.26%). Despite less investment in education, Iran has published more articles (38,299) and filed more patents (14,279) than Saudi Arabia, which has fewer published articles (15,509) and patents filed (2406).