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Summary Following a brief historical account of the initial difficulties of introducing modern sciences, especially the Western art of independent scientific inquiry, into Iran, using data obtained from the ISI (http://access.isiproducts.com/trials) an attempt is made to analyze the apparent present successes of Iranian scientists on the international science market. Using the corresponding ISI data of the publications (1990-2003) of 24 selected young chemistry Ph.D. graduates and present faculty members at various internal academia, a quantitative and qualitative assessment (www.geocities.com/iipopescu) of their achievements has been attempted and the results related to the strengths and weaknesses of the present science policy of the country.

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Scientometrics
Authors: Morteza Mehrdad, Akbar Heydari, Mohammad Sarbolouki, and Shapour Etemad

Abstract  

The population of Iran has nearly doubled in less than 25 years, while the number of university students has increased more than 10 times and 720 Ph. D. degrees have been awarded in basic science in the past 10 years. Despite the great difficulties that the Iranian scientists have been facing for more than two decades (as a consequence of a social revolution, 8 years of a destructive war imposed by Iraq, excessive brain drain, discriminatory practices by some international journals in publishing the Iranian articles, and unfair sanctions imposed by the industrialized countries) Iran's science is still thriving and the current number of yearly scientific publications exceeds 1500. When normalized with respect to the number of researchers and the research budget, the Iranian scientists seem to outperform most of their counterparts in the advanced industrialized nations. Main reason: total engagement in truncated research activities (basic or applied) leading solely to pure publications; lack of infrastructure for developmental research activities leading to new technologies. The average impact factor of the papers in various fields of basic science seems quite satisfactory considering the difficult conditions the Iranian scientists are working under. Should the research budgets and conditions improve and the unfair sanctions currently imposed by the world politics be eliminated, a far better contribution to the world science can be expected.

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