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EDITORIAL
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

Promoting research in applied sciences in Saudi Arabia


Editor-In-Chief, Professor of Family Medicine and Medical Education; Dean, College of Medicine, Department of Medical Education; Professor Chair, Dr. AlKholi Chair for Developing Medical Education, Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Al-Nada, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication7-Oct-2016

Correspondence Address:
Khalid Bin Abdulrahman
Editor-In-Chief, Professor of Family Medicine and Medical Education; Dean, College of Medicine, Department of Medical Education; Professor Chair, Dr. AlKholi Chair for Developing Medical Education, Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Al-Nada, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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How to cite this article:
Bin Abdulrahman K. Promoting research in applied sciences in Saudi Arabia. Imam J Appl Sci 2016;1:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Bin Abdulrahman K. Promoting research in applied sciences in Saudi Arabia. Imam J Appl Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Aug 16];1:1-2. Available from: http://www.e-ijas.org/text.asp?2016/1/1/1/191720

Saudi Arabia has witnessed a tremendous development in higher education. Thirty years ago, there were only five universities in the Kingdom. However, currently, there are 28 public universities and ten private universities, in addition to more than twenty private university colleges. Moreover, the number of applied sciences departments has increased from 75 to more than 300. According to the Saudi Ministry of Education's annual statistical report that was released in 2016, the total number of registered students in all public universities was more than 1.3 million, while the total number of full-time faculty members was 65,404.[1] The majority of Saudi faculty members have been trained and received their PhDs and postgraduate qualifications from the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia. Postgraduate programs exist in most of the large and comprehensive Saudi universities. Although Saudi universities have established research as one of their priorities, research in applied sciences is considered to be lagging behind that of Western research universities. This was also noted in most of the universities in the Muslim world, as Guessoum and Osama reported that the 57 countries of the Muslim world are home to nearly 25% of the world's people. However, as of 2012, they had accounted for only 1.6% of the world's patents, 6% of its academic publications, and 2.4% of global research expenditures. There have been only three Nobel laureates in the sciences from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries; today, these nations have fewer than a dozen universities in the top 400 of many world rankings and none in the top 100.[2] There are 243 research institutes and centers in Saudi public universities, in addition to 25 centers of excellence that received their funding from the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, another 240 research chairs were functioning, mainly in applied sciences.[1] Currently, in Saudi Arabia, there are 53 peer-reviewed journals supported by public universities. Researchers have been supported financially by several sources. Self-funding is the main source for junior researchers. Deanship for scientific research is the official funding source in most public universities. However, funding from universities was insufficient to support high-quality research projects. Research centers and centers of excellence were another source of funding for specific research projects. The main grant agency in Saudi Arabia is King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. However, senior researchers are most likely benefited from their annual support. There are other research funding sources such as research chairs and research medical centers belonging to the health-related sectors of Saudi health institutions. Although Saudi governmental sectors have made tremendous efforts to promote research in applied sciences, outcomes have been below expectations.

Here are some tips to maximize the quality of and to promote research activities: Create a positive research culture [Table 1]; develop research priorities; make research an essential component of faculty job descriptions; and require each department to hire some researcher faculty members who spend most of their time in research activities. Moreover, undergraduate and postgraduate curricula should incorporate research methodology courses that result in publishable scientific projects. Research laboratories and other infrastructure facilities, hard and soft, must be available in all research-oriented academic institutions. Research assistance and support staff, such as data entry technicians and statisticians, should be available and approachable. High-quality published research papers should be recognized and appreciated at the college, university, and national levels [Table 2].
Table 1: Features of a positive research culture

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Table 2: Tips to maximize the quality of research activities

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The Imam Journal of Applied Sciences (IJAS) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published bi-annually at the starting phase. IJAS is dedicated to increasing the depth of the subject across disciplines with the ultimate aim of expanding knowledge of the subject. IJAS will cover all areas of the subject. The journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence and will publish original articles in basic and applied research, case studies, critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries, and essays.

 
  References Top

1.
Ministry of Education Annual Statistical Report; Higher Education Institutions in Saudi Arabia; June, 2016.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Guessoum N, Osama A. Institutions: Revive universities of the Muslim world. Nature 2015;526:634-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
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